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When Breath Becomes Air

Author : Paul Kalanithi


Red Lion Books Ltd

Address: 125 High Street,Colchester,CO1 1SZ



Paul Kalanithi was just 37 years old, a neurosurgeon with a brilliant career ahead of him when he finally went to a doctor himself with pain in his spine. Diagnosed with lung cancer with secondary tumours he was forced to swap his surgeon’s coat for a patient’s gown. He died last year having spent much of his last months writing. He mixes his knowledge of medicine and his speciality, neurosurgery, with reflections on his own experiences and on ‘what really matters in life’. For him medicine was a moral mission rather than just a job and he explores the ethical questions that have to be faced when considering how to handle illness and the end of life. He calculates that there is only a 0.0012 per cent chance that a 36-year-old would get lung cancer but there is no sense of self-pity in these pages. Rather he looks at what lessons can be learned and what is the best way to spend the time we have left. His decision to spend his last months writing means that he has left this remarkable book, a life affirming legacy.