Tuesday, April 25, 2017

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi
Random House, 2016. 228  pgs. Biography

At age seventeen Paul Kalanithi was sure he would be a writer because literature gives us the opportunity to think about life.  After finishing his undergraduate studies and then graduate degrees in history and the philosophy of science and medicine he realized that his deepest interest was in the brain – the organ that allows humans to create and communicate meaning.  He spent years training to be a neurosurgeon but just as his future as a surgeon and professor of neurosurgery finally came into view he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.

Published after his death from cancer in 2015, his memoir profoundly communicates meaning and eloquently describes his passion for medicine as his way to face the human struggle between life and death.  His moral and personal approach to the practice of medicine sets a high standard of practice for all in the medical profession. This beautiful book is impossible to put down until finished.  It has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for the last year.

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