When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi (http://paulkalanithi.com/bio/) 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 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. This is a life-affirming reflection on mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both. A moving memoir, indeed, of a life well lived.

256 pages in Bodley Head

First published 2016

ISBN  978-1847923677

Paul Kalanithi

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