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Paul Kalanithi (1977–2015)

Författare till When Breath Becomes Air

1 verk 5,291 medlemmar 304 recensioner 1 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Foto taget av: Paul Kalanithi at the Stanford Hospital and Clinics in 2014. (Norbert von der Groeben/Stanford Hospital and Clinics)

Verk av Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air (2016) 5,291 exemplar


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Spellbinding. Honest. Beautiful.
jcoleman3307 | 303 andra recensioner | Nov 23, 2023 |
This is an interesting book. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's the very sad story of a smart man who trained in neurosurgery and English literature who became too ill to survive past his residency.
It's an odd book. The author spends a great deal of time in self-praise and self-congratulation, something which I don't fault him for, given that the writing was done after he became ill. There's a natural tendency to look back over your life and try to make it meaningful when life throws you a curveball.
It saddens me a bit, since he is so obviously intelligent and well-read to feel the distance from him in this memoir. Others who have been in similar situations are able to bring forth some humanity or deep connectedness; in this book Kalanithi comes across as surprisingly uninvolved in his life.
Part of this no doubt is due to his chosen specialty - neurologists play with the brain, and this gives them often a feeling of being above, separate, somehow closer to God.
That said, this book is written by a man who was treated badly by fate, whose life was completely disrupted.
As someone who lives with a chronic, progressive disease, I know the inward focus this can give you, as you cope with having to change your world plan every few months. I wish his family well, and I am sorry for their loss.
This does remind me of the insignificance of much of what we brag to ourselves about, achievements and degrees, prizes and worldly successes. It is very thought-provoking, especially in a story about one who lived such a privileged life.
I wonder how this story would work out in a poorer family, one, say, whose Medicare has been capped. Whose options are foreshortened.
It all makes me quite sad.
… (mer)
Dabble58 | 303 andra recensioner | Nov 11, 2023 |
Yeah, this was definitely a tough one to read (for the right reasons, obviously). I will say that I preferred the first half of the book to the second half, though. The first half is just so raw, insightful, and depressing. Paul's journey through medical school and residency has genuinely made consider whether or not I really want to go down the same route (for context, I'm currently applying to medical school and am also considering doing neurosurgery after graduating). It is just so blunt. Paul did not hold back with his choices of patient interactions to include; furthermore, the sheer number of work hours, the razor-sharp precision required, the enormous responsibilities held by the doctor, and the monumental risk of causing harm all contribute to making neurosurgery seem extremely daunting. The story of one of Paul's surgeon colleagues committing suicide after the death of one of his patients was unbelievably depressing to me. Worst of all was Paul's story: going through hell and back with medical school and residency, reaching the promised land of graduation, and getting offered a dream job with an insane salary, only for cancer to take it all away. The last few paragraphs written by Paul almost made me tear up, man.

Of course, I can't review this book without discussing its philosophical side. Now, just so you know, my reading literacy is atrocious; I suffer from certain mental health problems that give me a lot of issues with focus and critical thinking; consequently, my brain power is extremely low. If you're looking for insightful analytical reviews from people who are good at this stuff, my reviews (of any form of media) are not for you. Anyway, I found Paul's thoughts to be quite interesting. I don't agree with all of them (mainly because of my existential crises and lack of meaning in life), but it was quite intriguing reading about a dying man's search for meaning. I also love how it all fit together. Paul's motivations to understand the brain, meaning, life, and death were what drove him to enter medical school. Eventually, he wanted to put his patients at the forefront of his care and become a guider through their futures; he didn't want them to just be "boxes to tick off". Ultimately, the roles would reverse, and he would have to be guided through the last years of his life by his doctor. It was quite mesmerizing to read about, honestly.

I did find Paul's writing style somewhat weak, unfortunately. It wasn't bad by any means, but it wasn't that great either. The constant literary references and overlong descriptions did slow the pace of book quite a bit. Furthermore, while I found Lucy's epilogue to be poignant, I felt that it dragged on for a bit too long. Maybe, I'm a really impatient reader. I don't know. Though, I will say that I found her writing style to be easier to read than Paul's.

At the end of the day, this is going to be a tough one to get through, no matter which way you look at it. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. You'll come out of it realizing the cruelty of life. Paul and Lucy's thoughts on living and dying may give you some comfort, but you'll end up just wishing that things went a different way. It is insanely difficult not to feel that way after spending so much time in this great man's thoughts and perceptions.
… (mer)
JuzamDjinn2500 | 303 andra recensioner | Nov 8, 2023 |
The autobiography of the author, a neurosurgeon, who is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at age 36. I admire both him and his wife for the courageous, yet calm, fight and then acceptance of the inevitable. The book is based on the question, "what makes life worth living?" 276 pages
Tess_W | 303 andra recensioner | Nov 7, 2023 |



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