When Breath Becomes Air
Memoir, Medicine, Neuroscience
Published by The Bodley Head
‘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.
At the age of 36, 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 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.
Buy this book
“‘When Breath Becomes Air’ is a Renaissance book from a Renaissance man. It is a work of philosophy and morality, a reconciliation of science and religion… ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ tells us what it means to live a good life, by giving us a glimpse into an exceptional one.”
“A great, indelible book… I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option… unmissable.”
“Rattling. Heartbreaking. Beautiful.”