A moving and thoughtful account of a man training and working to save lives, only to be struck down by a statistically unlikely diagnosis of cancer himself. Incredibly well written for a man of science rather than poetry this shows an incredibly intellectual and moral man, explaining the big issues on the mind of a doctor while ‘dancing with death and life’.
Paul tells his story in his own words, detailling how he arrived to find his calling to become a neuro-surgeon after trying his luck in other professions. His reflections on the profession and the meaning of life are profound and touched me deeply. The insight into his profession has been aired in other great works, such as “House of Gods” but his literary talent and the philosophical and ethical approach is unmatched in such other, also magnificent, works.
This is very powerful reading with much food for thought, all the more poignant and tragic as it has been published post-mortem.
The New York Times number-one best seller.
At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?
Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.