When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi

  • Release Date: 2016-01-12
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
5
From 6,811 Ratings

Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage

Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

Reviews

  • When breath becomes air.

    5
    By r a wood
    It lured me in to read it because I couldn’t imagine a more shocking discovery. To know that it’s happened to him and not one of his patients. Great story. God bless his family
  • Great Book

    5
    By Toppers13
    Read less than a year after having a brain tumor respected. This book is a must read for those that want to fully understand what it means to be human.
  • Moving, thrilling and sad.

    5
    By LemonadeSyrup
    This book will make you feel a lot of emotions, while also teaching you about medicine, life and suffering.
  • Poignant and elegant

    5
    By Artemis518
    This is the type of book you don’t want to end, although you know it will and it has to. Absolutely beautifully written. Yet I find myself wishing I never got the opportunity to read it, because that would mean this gracious, intelligent man would have been able to continue living. Truly bittersweet.
  • Amazing read

    5
    By TMC hudomgia
    This book is a must read. Provides insight and evokes emotion about life, death and illness. It brought me great joy to read as a cancer survivor, wife, mother and human. Thank you for writing and publishing this book. What a wonderful legacy to share with the world!
  • When breath becomes air

    5
    By This is great!!!!!
    This is a must read. touchy and heart felt. I dropped a few tears...
  • I couldn’t put this book down

    5
    By chelsjloveg
    Even through currents of tears. Such a beautiful and well written book that brings deep thoughts on the meaning of life, as well as tremendous appreciation for every breath. So much love and respect to Lucy and Paul’s family for sharing this beautiful story.
  • What an amazing true story

    5
    By kelgailshel
    I know this line is used a lot for literary reviews, but I could not put this book down. Myself, being a light reader, read this in 2 days and was only disheartened that it was over. Such a wonderful story for the medical profession!
  • When Air Becomes Death

    5
    By PugSwa
    This is the first book that I have ever read and immediately read again. I needed to bathe in his words, again. Poignant, heartbreaking, brave, excellent in every way.
  • One of the finest collections

    5
    By Dr_Sam93
    An autobiography of a neurosurgeon at Stanford and a fighter of stage IV lung cancer teaches us how to see the life beyond the two ends, beyond the science, helps to understand what makes human life meaningful, what defines our identity and most importantly understand death and face the mortality!