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.
Kalanithi details his search for life's meaning in two senses. He finds meaning in neurosurgery, describing the profound relationship betwen doctor, patient and responsibility to maintaining the patient's identity. Second, he decides how best to spend his remaining time on Earth when told he is dying. Yes, this autobiography is partly about dying, but it is ever so much more about living. - Anica (QBD)
I took this book on holiday and ended up weeping into my pillows. The story of a neurosurgeon, diagnosed with terminal cancer, broke my heart in so many places. Tremendously sad, but beautifully written, and unforgettable. - Amy (QBD)
This was the first biography that I have ever read, and god I must say it was epic! This medical biography took me on a journey that brought me to tears, made me smile, and made me laugh. This novel changed my views on life. This book has demonstrated to me that life is a blessing and that we should truly appreciate every day that we live because we do not know which day will be our last. This story has inspried me to reach for my goals and to persist with my dreams and desires in life until I take my last breath. This story is truly worth reading. - Shenae (QBD)