When Breath Becomes Air


By Paul Kalanithi

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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, the next he was a patient struggling to live. In this book, he offers a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient.


27 Apr 2017

Roz Butterworth

An emotional read, but a fascinating insight into a brilliant doctor's mind, and how his life collapses and he evolves on his diagnosis. I had to read it quickly in two sittings, it was so compelling. He was so driven by his career, and he knows this, but seems helpless to escape the pressure of his ambition to be the best, in spite of his illness.
A great description of how being ill really is - no battle, just weariness, apathy and pain at times. I empathise with my own experience. All doctors should read this book - it has a lot to say about doctor/patient relationships. It also raises the issue of control - who has it, and when to let someone else take the reins. And also to ask the question of how your life, long or short should be spent.
His relationships with colleagues, friends, family are well drawn and honest. "I can't go on. I'll go on" quote from Samuel Beckett rings so true.
His wife's view is an interesting and touching end. Heartbreaking. But a story that will resonate with so many people.
Thoroughly reconmend.

My question for Lucy would be - How is life now for her and their child? Good I hope.

Roz Butterworth READ book group.

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