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When Breath Becomes Air

For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?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 nave 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....

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Review In When Breath Becomes Air, Dr Paul Kalanithi When Breath Becomes Air is gripping from the start But it becomes even so as Dr Kalanithi tries to reinvent himself in various ways with no When Breath Becomes Air Kindle edition by Paul When Breath Becomes Air Kindle edition by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Hardcover Auto Suggestions are available once you type at least letters Use up arrow for mozilla firefox browser alt up arrow and down arrow for mozilla firefox browser When Breath Becomes Air Paul Kalanithi , Paul Kalanithi When Breath Becomes Air and over one million other books are available for Kindle Learn Book Summary When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi This is a book summary of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi Read this When Breath Becomes Air summary to review ideas and lessons from the book. When Breath Becomes Air Summary eNotes Complete summary of When Breath Becomes Air eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of When Breath Becomes Air. When Breath Becomes Air, by the late Paul Kalanithi For an elegant memoir of the author s turn from gifted physician to terminal patient, told without a hint of bravado or self pity. When Breath Becomes Air Is an Emotional Newsweek The extract below is taken from When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize At the When Breath Becomes Air Lucy and Paul Kalanithi Very early in When Breath Becomes Air, Paul essentially writes that Lucy is considering leaving him His ambition, the demands of being a chief neurosurgery resident Oncologists Discuss Bestseller When Breath Becomes Air When it was published early this year, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, MD, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University in California, immediately rose to number

When Breath Becomes Air Reviews

  • Pouting Always

    Paul Kalanithi is thirty six and so close to finishing his training as a neurosurgeon when he finds out he has stage IV lung cancer. As an undergraduate Kalanithi studied English literature and his love of reading and writing had been a constant through out his life. He had always felt that when he was older he would like to write and had decided to focus on neurosurgery for now, where he could make a bigger difference by saving people's lives. All his hopes and dreams for the future were sudden ...more

  • Jen

    Unforgettable is what Verghese says in his foreword. I agree and am fighting for my own breath to write my thoughts about this stunning memoir that has left me gasping for air. The writing. The emotion. The beauty in the darkness of dying.

    I mourn the death of this writer, a surgeon of great potential. A doctor of great compassion. But the message he has left us is quite eloquently simple: make life as meaningful as you can in the time you have. Be grateful.

    The touching epilogue his wife Lucy w
    ...more

  • Raeleen Lemay

    This was such a beautiful, touching book! Not going to lie, the epilogue by Paul's wife nearly made me cry. SO GOOD. I also highly recommend the audiobook, although the narrator's voice was so soothing that sometimes I found myself not listening to him speak... my bad.

  • Linda

    "To begin with -- or, maybe, to end with --I got to know Paul only after his death. I came to know him most intimately when he'd ceased to be." (Abraham Verghese)

    And we, for the most part, can actually say the same thing about Paul Kalanithi. We've come to know of him only after he had left this world of ours. Ironically, I write this on March 9th, the one-year anniversary of his passing.

    Paul Kalanithi: son, husband, father, brilliant surgeon. He was a healer whose very existence gave hope to so
    ...more

  • Lola  Reviewer

    Imagine being sick and dying slowly, without knowing how long you have left.

    Long enough to keep going on as you did before: working, planning, and dreaming of a future, or long enough to live life like there is no tomorrow?

    Paul’s calling—neurosurgery—pulled him back to work even as he knew he was ill, because he couldn’t envision leaving it behind to focus on making the most of the perhaps little (or long) time he has left.

    At the same time, he realized neurosurgery brings him joy—and so does hi
    ...more

  • Maxwell

    I don't think you should read this book because the story of an incredibly gifted man who had his life taken away at such a young age might give you the motivation to live life more fully. I think you should read this book because that talented, inspiring man has incredibly important things to say derived from his own experiences, and it's important to listen and learn from them.

    Read this book with the knowledge that you might not always be able to understand everything someone goes through, bu
    ...more

  • Glenn Sumi

    By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about this book by the young Dr. Paul Kalanithi, who, in his mid-30s, was completing his training as a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. At the time, he and his wife Lucy, also a physician, were contemplating having children. Universities were wooing him. The future was all mapped out, years of hard work about to pay off.

    And then he got the news about his cancer. Suddenly, he had to reassess his life and think: How d

    How little do doctors understand the hells through which we put patients.

    You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.

    Our relationship was still deep in meaning, a shared and evolving vocabulary about what mattered. If human relationality formed the bedrock of meaning, it seemed to us that rearing children added another dimension to that meaning.


    I had to look up “asymptote,” and I wish an editor had tweaked that awkward word “relationality.”

    The second half of the book is much richer, because it’s here that Kalanithi is forced to dig deep and ponder big questions. Here he is questioning his identity:

    Because I wasn’t working, I didn’t feel like myself, a neurosurgeon, a scientist – a young man, relatively speaking, with a bright future spread before him. Debilitated, at home, I feared I wasn’t much of a husband for Lucy. I had passed from the subject to the direct object of every sentence of my life. In fourteenth-century philosophy, the word patient simply meant “the object of an action,” and I felt like one. As a doctor, I was an agent, a cause; as a patient, I was merely something to which things happened.


    That last observation is simple yet profound.

    Witnessing his rapid maturation is inspiring and, in the end, makes you reflect on your own priorities. His final words, about his young daughter, are so wise and generous they'll make you tear up. And Lucy’s bittersweet epilogue puts her husband's writing in perspective. She knows the book feels unfinished, and that it doesn’t capture Kalanithi's sense of humour and other qualities.

    But sometimes, we can intuit, there’s not time for everything. Let’s be grateful for what we do have, not what we don’t. ...more

  • Seemita

    [Originally appeared here (with edits): http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]

    It has been a few days since I turned the last page of this book. But the numbness reappears the instant I allow the pages to unfold in my memory. The silence which suddenly parts to let these memories seep in and cloud my vision, fills the air. Even as I grapple to make ‘sense’ of what it means to lose a dear, dear one, I, ironically, already know that very ‘sense’ to be ephemeral. No part of my being accepts death
    ...more