When Breath becomes Air

Author: Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air is a non fiction, autobiographical memoir written by Paul Kalanithi.

Kalanithi was in the final year of his residency in neurosurgery in Stanford Universtity when he experienced symptoms of rapid weight loss, severe back and chest pains. The initial X rays revealed nothing, putting to rest his health concerns. However towards the last few months of his residency, the symptoms returned with a vengeance and he was diagnosed with a complex form of lung cancer… terminal stage. The book portrays his journey following the soul shattering diagnosis and how he went through different stages of emotions. To call this book an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement.

kalanithi often gets philosophical and his fluid writing is influenced by the fact that he was a literature major before getting into medical studies. He has wonderfully penned the doctor- patient debate where this time he was on the other side. He mentions the empathy that developed within because of the situation he was in…

The epilogue is written by his wife Lucy Kalanithi post his demise. It mentions her first hand in-depth experience with diagnosis of terminal illness to eventual bereavement and then the following grief. It is also an ode to her husband who was the epitome of strength and bravery.

The book keeps the reader glued till the end where emotions run wild… A must read.

Available on Amazon,

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