When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Free Download), At the age of thirty-six, 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 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.
‘A vital book about dying. Awe-inspiring and exquisite. Obligatory reading for the living’ Nigella Lawson.
‘Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful.’ Atul Gawande, bestselling author of Being Mortal.
When Breath Becomes Air Review quote
A vital book about dying. Awe-inspiring and exquisite. Obligatory reading for the living. — Nigella Lawson Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful. — Atul Gawande, author of BEING MORTAL A great, indelible book … as intimate and illuminating as Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal,” to cite only one recent example of a doctor’s book that has had exceptionally wide appeal … I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option … gripping from the start … None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: “It’s just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.” And just important enough to be unmissable. * New York Times * Powerful and poignant. * The Sunday Times * Less a memoir than a reflection on life and purpose… A vital book. * The Economist * Extraordinary…Remarkable… luminous, revelatory memoir about mortality and what makes being alive meaningful … Lyrical, intimate, insistent and profound. Kalanithi had the mind of the polymath and the ear of a poet. — Heather Hodson * Daily Telegraph * Powerful and poignant… Elegantly written posthumous memoir… Should be compulsory for anyone who intends to be a doctor… A profound reflection on the meaning of life. — Daisy Goodwin * Sunday Times * A stark, fascinating, well-written and heroic memoir. — Stefanie Marsh * The Times * The power of this book lies in its eloquent insistence that we are all confronting our mortality every day, whether we know it or not. The real question we face, Kalanithi writes, is not how long, but rather how, we will live – and the answer does not appear in any medical textbook. — Alice Okeeffe * Guardian * Exceptional. — Katie Law * Evening Standard * When I came to the end of the last flawless paragraph of When Breath Becomes Air, all I could do was turn to the first page and read the whole thing again. Searingly intelligent, beautifully written, and beyond brave, I haven’t been so marked by a book in years. — Gabriel Weston, author of DIRECT RED A tremendous book, crackling with life, animated by wonder and by the question of how we should live. Paul Kalanithi lived and died in the pursuit of excellence, and by this testimonial, he achieved it. — Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being A remarkable book… Kalanithi writes very well, in a plain and matter-of-fact way, without a trace of self-pity, and you are immediately gripped and carried along… [He] was clearly a deeply thoughtful and compassionate man, and his death is a great loss to medicine, but at least he has left this remarkable book behind. — Dr Henry Marsh * Observer * A meditation on what makes a life worth living. * Guardian *.
Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He held degrees in English literature, human biology, and history and philoso phy of science and medicine from Stanford and Cambridge universities before graduating from Yale School of Medicine. He also received the American Academy of Neu rological Surgery’s highest award for research.
His reflections on doctoring and illness have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Paris Review Daily.