When Breath Becomes Air is a non-fiction autobiographical book written by Paul Kalanithi. It is a memoir about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It was posthumously published by Random House on January 12, ‎Background · ‎Plot · ‎Reception. When Breath Becomes Air is an extraordinary book about something terribly ordinary: how to live and how to die. This book has many important. He wrote his moving book When Breath Becomes Air as he approached the completion of his training as a neurosurgeon, but after he had.


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He recounts when breath becomes air months of treatment, and the difficult limbo of prolonged remission, which modern medicine can now give us: The balance between hope and resignation becomes difficult to strike. He even completes his training and comes close to accepting the job of his dreams, but then must admit it is only a fantasy that he will live long enough to take it up, and turns it down.


His view of medicine remained deeply idealistic and not yet tempered by the sometimes bitter lessons and need for painful moral compromise that come with responsibility. Towards the end of the book, he and his wife, knowing that he is soon to die, decide to have a child, and he returns to the religious faith in which he was brought up.

He was clearly a deeply thoughtful and compassionate man, and his death is a when breath becomes air loss to medicine, but at least he has left this remarkable book behind.


So he decided to change his tool and get into med school and become a Neurosurgeon to get closer to that very line between life and death, between a meaningful life and identity. And he did get to that with being flexible with the tools and staying faithful to the Essence.

when breath becomes air

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air — Paul Kalanithi.

He constated how illness especially cerebral threatens our identity as we might face the dilemma of either losing our when breath becomes air to breathe or losing our ability to speak and this very choice questions our entire identity that we spent a lifetime building and defining.

I also liked how at some point during the treatment, Paul longed to be who he used to be. We usually are concerned about becoming who we want to be, who is usually the projection of our best selves in the future.


And now we see how when breath becomes air and death puts that in consideration and we only wanna gain our selves back, gain our identity and the little things that constitute us and ones with which we recognize ourselves and get recognized. The man who loved hiking, camping, and running, who expressed his love through gigantic hugs, who threw his giggling niece high in the air — that was a man I no longer was.

At best, I could aim to be him again. I'm too hard, right?

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air — Paul Kalanithi.

The day sky would spread wide and high until the first ray of the sun made an appearance. When breath becomes air morning commuters began to animate the distant south Lake Tahoe roads but craning your head back you could see the day's blue darken halfway across the sky and to the west the night remained yet unconquered.

Pitch black, stars in full glimmer, the full moon still pinned in the sky. To the east the full light of the day beamed toward you.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi review – thoughtful and poignant | Books | The Guardian

To the west, night reigned with no hint of surrender. No philosopher can explain the sublime better than this, standing between day and night. It was as if this was the moment God said, "Let there be light.

So anyway, dawn came up.

When Breath Becomes Air

After completing degrees in English literature and human biology, Paul feels there is still much to learn. Preparing to apply when breath becomes air medical school, Paul uses the time off to study the history and philosophy of science and medicine at Cambridge. He later starts medical school at Yale.

During his time at Yale, Paul meets his wife, Lucy, and sees the patient-doctor relationship as an example of life, death, and morality coming together.

After two years of classroom learning, Paul experiences when breath becomes air first birth and death in his ob-gyn clinical rotation, when a set of twins could not be carried to term. It is then that Paul understands that intelligence is not enough in the practice of medicine, and that morality is also needed.

Images obtained from a CT scan show organ when breath becomes air compromised by the cancer, causing Paul and Lucy great sadness.