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When Breath Becomes Air

Foreword: Verghese, Abraham

#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.
Rezension
"I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book's tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him-passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die-so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: 'It's just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.' And just important enough to be unmissable."-Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Paul Kalanithi's memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, written as he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis, is inherently sad. But it's an emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring."-The Washington Post

"Paul Kalanithi's posthumous memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy. . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead. . . . The narrative voice is so assured and powerful that you almost expect him to survive his own death and carry on describing what happened to his friends and family after he is gone."-The Boston Globe

"Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it's all heading."-USA Today

"It's [Kalanithi's] unsentimental approach that makes When Breath Becomes Air so original-and so devastating. . . . Its only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early."-Entertainment Weekly

"[When Breath Becomes Air] split my head open with its beauty."-Cheryl Strayed

"Rattling, heartbreaking, and ultimately beautiful, the too-young Dr. Kalanithi's memoir is proof that the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life."-Atul Gawande

"Thanks to When Breath Becomes Air, those of us who never met Paul Kalanithi will both mourn his death and benefit from his life. This is one of a handful of books I consider to be a universal donor-I would recommend it to anyone, everyone."-Ann Patchett

"Dr. Kalanithi describes, clearly and simply, and entirely without self-pity, his journey from innocent medical student to professionally detached and all-powerful neurosurgeon to helpless patient, dying from cancer. Every doctor should read this book-written by a member of our own tribe, it helps us understand and overcome the barriers we all erect between ourselves and our patients as soon as we are out of medical school."-Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery
Portrait
Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He grew up in Kingman, Arizona, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in English literature and a BA in human biology. He earned an MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from the University of Cambridge and graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. He returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, during which he received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery’s highest award for research. He died in March 2015. He is survived by his large, loving family, including his wife, Lucy, and their daughter, Elizabeth Acadia.
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  • Part I

    In Perfect Health I Begin

    The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,

    And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

    And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?

    -Ezekiel 37:1-3, King James translation

    I knew with certainty that I would never be a doctor. I stretched out in the sun, relaxing on a desert plateau just above our house. My uncle, a doctor, like so many of my relatives, had asked me earlier that day what I planned on doing for a career, now that I was heading off to college, and the question barely registered. If you had forced me to answer, I suppose I would have said a writer, but frankly, thoughts of any career at this point seemed absurd. I was leaving this small Arizona town in a few weeks, and I felt less like someone preparing to climb a career ladder than a buzzing electron about to achieve escape velocity, flinging out into a strange and sparkling universe.

    I lay there in the dirt, awash in sunlight and memory, feeling the shrinking size of this town of fifteen thousand, six hundred miles from my new college dormitory at Stanford and all its promise.

    I knew medicine only by its absence-specifically, the absence of a father growing up, one who went to work before dawn and returned in the dark to a plate of reheated dinner. When I was ten, my father had moved us-three boys, ages fourteen, ten, and eight-from Bronxville, New York, a compact, affluent suburb just north of Manhattan, to Kingman, Arizona, in a desert valley ringed by two mountain ranges, known primarily to the outside world as a place to get gas en route to somewhere else. He was drawn by the sun, by the cost of living-how else would he pay for his sons to attend the colleges he aspired to?-and by the opportunity to establish a regional cardiology practice of his own. His unyielding dedication to his patients soon made him a respected member of the community. When we did see him, late at night or on weekends, he was an amalgam of sweet affections and austere diktats, hugs and kisses mixed with stony pronouncements: "It's very easy to be number one: find the guy who is number one, and score one point higher than he does." He had reached some compromise in his mind that fatherhood could be distilled; short, concentrated (but sincere) bursts of high intensity could equal . . . whatever it was that other fathers did. All I knew was, if that was the price of medicine, it was simply too high.

    From my desert plateau, I could see our house, just beyond the city limits, at the base of the Cerbat Mountains, amid red-rock desert speckled with mesquite, tumbleweeds, and paddle-shaped cacti. Out here, dust devils swirled up from nothing, blurring your vision, then disappeared. Spaces stretched on, then fell away into the distance. Our two dogs, Max and Nip, never grew tired of the freedom. Every day, they'd venture forth and bring home some new desert treasure: the leg of a deer, unfinished bits of jackrabbit to eat later, the sun-bleached skull of a horse, the jawbone of a coyote.

    My friends and I loved the freedom, too, and we spent our afternoons exploring, walking, scavenging for bones and rare desert creeks. Having spent my previous years in a lightly forested suburb in the Northeast, with a tree-lined main street and a candy store, I found the wild, windy desert alien and alluring. On my first trek alone, as a ten-year-old, I discovered an old irrigation grate. I pried it open with my fingers, lifted it up, and there, a few inches from my face, were three white silken webs, and in each, marching along on spindled legs, was a glistening black bulbous body, bearing in its shine the dreaded blood-red hourglass. Near to each spider a pale, pulsating sac breathed with the imminent
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Beschreibung

Produktdetails

Einband gebundene Ausgabe
Seitenzahl 240
Erscheinungsdatum 12.01.2016
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-8129-8840-6
Verlag Random House LCC US
Maße (L/B/H) 19.8/13.6/2.5 cm
Gewicht 349 g
Verkaufsrang 5044
Buch (gebundene Ausgabe, Englisch)
Buch (gebundene Ausgabe, Englisch)
Fr. 29.90
Fr. 29.90
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Versandfertig innert 1 - 2 Werktagen,  Kostenlose Lieferung ab Fr.  30 i
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A wonderful piece of work that touches the heart
von einer Kundin/einem Kunden am 06.02.2017
Bewertet: Einband: Taschenbuch

When Breath becomes Air is an incredible book that tugs at the heartstrings. It is written beautifully and shows the hardship of becomming a doctor, dealing with illness and being diagnosed with a terminal disease. The Epilogue from Pauls wife Lucy is especially emotional, as she portrays his last few days on earth. I could not ... When Breath becomes Air is an incredible book that tugs at the heartstrings. It is written beautifully and shows the hardship of becomming a doctor, dealing with illness and being diagnosed with a terminal disease. The Epilogue from Pauls wife Lucy is especially emotional, as she portrays his last few days on earth. I could not stop the tears from streaming down my face. Beautifully written. This book explains alot of everyday situations from the medical world. A must read for every mecidal student, doctor ect.