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VINTAGE When Breath Becomes Air Editorial Review: At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade‚Äôs worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi‚Äôs transformation from a na√Įve medical student ‚Äúpossessed,‚ÄĚ as he wrote, ‚Äúby the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life‚ÄĚ into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. ‚ÄúI began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,‚ÄĚ he wrote. ‚ÄúSeven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‚ÄėI can‚Äôt go on. I‚Äôll go on.‚Äô‚ÄĚ When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.