For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a nave medical student "possessed," as he wrote, "by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life" into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. "I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything," he wrote. "Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: 'I can't go on. I'll go on.'" When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both....
|Title||:||When Breath Becomes Air|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||208 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » When » When Breath Becomes Air|
When Breath Becomes Air Reviews
With over 1200 reviews in just over a month, there isn't much I can say that hasn't been said. I'm not sure I even need to acknowledge the brilliance, ambition, tenacity, curiosity, and endurance this man possessed or the fact that he wrote in a way that felt conversational and genuine, even when discussing procedures of the brain and medical school examples well outside most people's normal realm. His wife's epilogue was extremely well-written and reduced me to tears, as did his note to his bab ...more
[Originally appeared here (with edits): http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]
It has been a few days since I turned the last page of this book. But the numbness reappears the instant I allow the pages to unfold in my memory. The silence which suddenly parts to let these memories seep in and cloud my vision, fills the air. Even as I grapple to make ‘sense’ of what it means to lose a dear, dear one, I, ironically, already know that very ‘sense’ to be ephemeral. No part of my being accepts death ...more
Okay, I so wanted to like this very absorbing book more than I did. I am not going to recap it other than to say that Paul came from a privileged background, a very supportive family and an Indian (Asian Tiger) mom. He succumbed to an aggressive form of lung cancer. My own wife died of lung disease (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). Outside of the hospital I was her caregiver for a year and a half. I was the one who made sure she had oxygen, got to her appointments, watched this once vital woman d ...more
I finished the book. I'm glad that I perservered with it. It's quite an odd book and an overall rating might be the sum of the parts, but is not going to reflect the writing or content of those parts. Ratings, part I, 1 star, part II, 3 stars and part III, 5 stars.
The first part, the foreword, by Abraham Verghese, was verbose, hagiographic and contradictory (view spoiler)[ie. full of shit (hide spoiler)]. He said he didn't know the author at all until after his death. Then he says well he did me ...more
Do yourself a favour and don't listened to the ending of this book while doing your makeup...
Theres no way to review a book where the author died too young from cancer leaving his wife and 8 months old baby behind without feeling like an asshole for not giving it 5 stars.
That’s why more often than not, I don’t give a rating to the autobiographies I read. I just don’t feel comfortable rating someone’s life.
Cancer and the death of a close one is something most of us unfortunately can relate to and ...more
Oh dear. I was always told not to speak ill of the dead. It feels awful to give a three star rating to a nice guy (by all accounts) who is now dead. But I simply did not find this book compelling or insightful enough. It is mildly interesting to learn about neurosurgery as a specialty and to read the author's thoughts as he faced diagnosis, illness and then death. I always felt that the author was holding back; that it was too clinical, too calm, just not passionate enough. The first time I felt ...more
Paul Kalanithi, the author of this touching memoir, died of stage IV lung cancer in March 2015, ten months before the publication of the novel which would not only raise attention to his fate, but also to the general effects of the terrible disease that is cancer (which should never cease to deserve attention; it is a subject too important). When I first opened the pages of this book, what I expected was a clinical description of his disease's course, but Kalanithi surprised me and probably a lo ...more
4.5 stars! What an emotional book! Dr. Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgical resident entering his final year of training when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. This memoir is Paul's story for his daughter, Cady, who was 8 months old when he passed away, just 22 months after his cancer diagnosis. Among other things, Paul writes about his career, his love for his family, his views on the 'doctor and patient relationship' and his eventual transistion from doctor to patient.
Something that r ...more