From fatal crash to life-saving operation: a 24-hour whirlwind of death and life.
Just before dawn on a freezing winter’s morning, three young men head out to the sea and go surfing. But on the drive home, their van suddenly veers off the road and one of them, Simon Limbeau, is propelled through the windscreen. At the hospital, Simon’s devastated parents are told that while he is brain-dead and on life support, his heart is still beating perfectly and could be recovered for use in a transplant. They are faced with an agonising choice.
‘Mend the Living’ is the story of Simon Limbeau’s heart – and the story of all the lives it will impact in the 24 hours between the accident that cuts short his life and the moment when his heart will begin to beat again in the body of someone else.
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“Heartbreaking; I’ve seldom read a more moving book… De Kerangal is a master of momentum, to the extent that when the book ends, the reader feels bereft. She shows that narratives around illness and pain can energize the nobler angels of our nature and make for profoundly lovely art. One longs for more.”
“This extraordinary novel etches itself in the mind… There is a flamboyant artistry at work, yet Maylis de Kerangal is confronting a reality that is all too real.”
“A novel that goes to the heart of what it means to be a human being.”