When Breath Becomes Air

  • by Paul Kalanithi
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Sunil Malhotra
  • 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times number-one best seller.
At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and finally into a patient and a new father.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?
Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

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What the Critics Say

"Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option.... Unmissable." (New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A touching account of Paul's battle with cancer

If you could sum up When Breath Becomes Air in three words, what would they be?

touching emotional honest


What about Cassandra Campbell and Sunil Malhotra ’s performance did you like?

Read gently with empathy and emotion


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book resonated with me and was an extremely emotional journey as my mother recently suffered with, and died of, cancer. I could identify with all the stages, emotions and physical deterioration that he experienced from a loved one's point of view (the epilogue by his wife Lucy was especially touching as a lot of what she wrote was very real and touched raw patches of emotion still exposed by my mother's death).
Very well written but so sad.
It did help me see the trauma I experienced during the deterioration and eventual death of my mother as something that is not unique and that I will overcome the bereavement.


Any additional comments?

Brilliant - a must read for anyone who is going through or has been through a similar experience.

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- Angela

Remarkable read

This is a fantastic book. It grips you at every part if his life story and makes you 'evaluate what is important in our short time on this earth.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-10-2016
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks