cover image When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi, read by Sunil Malhotra and Cassandra Campbell. Books on Tape, library exclusive, , unabridged, 5 CDs, 5.5 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-399-56618-9

Malhotra is a youthful actor who embodies the thoughtful, genial yet inquisitive and energetic mien that Kalanithi exhibits in his life and in his book. Malhotra seems to mature, like Kalanithi, from an exuberant college student seeking the meaning of life and death in literature, philosophy and science to a studious and ambitious medical student to a devoted and exhausted intern and resident. At the age of 36, already recognized as an eminent brain surgeon, Kalanithi suddenly finds himself on the other side of the bed—as a stage-four lung cancer patient. The shock and confusion—the struggle first to conquer the disease, then simply to survive, then to accept his imminent death—is the day-to-day reality Kalanithi and his wife face with the wise medical and personal counsel of his oncologist. In his last year he condenses all his experience as student, doctor, patient, husband, and father into this contemplative, profoundly moving and beautifully written memoir. After his death, Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, completes the book with her own words of anguish and love. Audiobook veteran Campbell reads her section in a soft, sure voice that may bring the listener to tears. A Random hardcover. (Jan.)