With the End in Mind

Dying, death and wisdom in an age of denial

By Kathryn Mannix

Palliative Medicine, End of Life, Memoir

Non-Fiction

Published by HarperCollins/William Collins

Shortlist 2018

In this unprecedented book, palliative medicine pioneer Dr Kathryn Mannix explores the biggest taboo in our society and the only certainty we all share: death. A tender and insightful book that will revolutionise the way we discuss and approach the end-of-life process.

Told through beautifully crafted stories taken from three decades of clinical practice, this book answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. Mannix makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation but with openness, clarity and understanding.

‘With the End in Mind’ is a book for us all: the grieving, the ill and the healthy. Open these pages and you will find stories about people who are like you, and like people you know and love. You will meet Holly, who danced her last day away; Eric, the retired head teacher who, even with motor neurone disease, gets things done; loving, tender-hearted Nelly and Joe, each living a lonely lie to save their beloved from distress; and Sylvie, 19, dying of leukaemia, sewing a cushion for her mum to hug by the fire after she has died.

These are just four of the book’s 30-odd stories of normal humans, dying normal human deaths. They show how the dying embrace living not because they are unusual or brave, but because that’s what humans do. By turns touching, tragic, at times funny and always wise, they offer us illumination, models for action, and hope. Read this book and you’ll be better prepared for life as well as death.

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