When Breath Becomes Air was reassuring on many levels, albeit deeply heartbreaking. The book appeared on the breakroom table at my job one day, an advanced readers’ copy. As booksellers, this is one of the perks we get.
I picked up the book and read the letter that came along with the book. Lucy Kalanithi, Paul’s wife, was the author of the letter. She wanted the reader to know what a labor of love Paul’s book was, and how special it was to her to see it published. It was a gift to us, the bookseller. His book is truly a gift to all.
Before deciding on a career in medicine, Paul was an English Major. His writing is just phenomenal. He talks about books like the treasures they are. But though he was an English Major at first, Paul moved on to his other love, medicine. Breath is his journey from student of English to student of Medicine, to student of life, as he learned of his upcoming untimely death and prepared for the birth of his daughter.
They say life goes in cycles, and I grieve for Lucy and their daughter. Lucy has lost her love, and baby has lost the chance to know her father. But I know Lucy and her baby are in good hands.
Incidentally, I was once a long-time reader of A Cup of Jo, a blog by miss Joanna Goddard – twin to Lucy Kalanithi. This comforts me in knowing that Lucy is okay.
I recommend this book to both those who study the arts and those who study the sciences, but especially to those with a heart capable of understanding that art and science are twins just as life and death are, just as Lucy is, and just as night and day are.