Dying: A Memoir

Tin House Books
17
Free sample

"Bracing and beautiful . . . Every human should read it." —The New York Times

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and 2017 Critics' Pick
One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2017

At the age of sixty, Cory Taylor is dying of melanoma-related brain cancer. Her illness is no longer treatable: she now weighs less than her neighbor’s retriever. As her body weakens, she describes the experience—the vulnerability and strength, the courage and humility, the anger and acceptance—of knowing she will soon die.

Written in the space of a few weeks, in a tremendous creative surge, this powerful and beautiful memoir is a clear-eyed account of what dying teaches: Taylor describes the tangle of her feelings, remembers the lives and deaths of her parents, and examines why she would like to be able to choose the circumstances of her death.

Taylor’s last words offer a vocabulary for readers to speak about the most difficult thing any of us will face. And while Dying: A Memoir is a deeply affecting meditation on death, it is also a funny and wise tribute to life.

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About the author

Cory Taylor was an award-winning novelist and screenwriter who also published short fiction and children’s books. Her first novel, Me and Mr. Booker, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Pacific Region) in 2012 and her second novel, My Beautiful Enemy, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2014. She died on July 5, 2016, shortly after Dying: A Memoir was published in Australia.

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4.8
17 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Tin House Books
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Published on
Aug 1, 2017
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Pages
152
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ISBN
9781941040713
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Self-Help / Death, Grief, Bereavement
Social Science / Death & Dying
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2014.

A heartbreaking story of love and loss set against the backdrop of a Japanese internment camp in Victoria during WW2.

Arthur Wheeler is haunted by his infatuation with a Japanese youth he encountered in the enemy alien camp where he worked as a guard during WW2. Abandoning his wife and baby son, Arthur sets out on a doomed mission to rescue his lover from forced deportation back to Japan, a country in ruins.

Thus begins the secret history of a soldier at war with his own sexuality and dangerously at odds with the racism that underpins the crumbling British Empire.

Four decades later Arthur is still obsessed with the traumatic events of his youth. He proposes a last reunion with his lost lover, in the hope of laying his ghosts to rest, but this mission too seems doomed to failure.

Like Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Snow Falling On Cedars, My Beautiful Enemy explores questions of desire and redemption against the background of a savage racial war. In this context, Arthur's private battles against his own nature, and against the conventions of his time, can only end in heartache.

Cory Taylor is an award-winning screenwriter who has also published short fiction and children's books. Her first novel, Me and Mr Booker, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Pacific Region). She lives in Brisbane.

'Taylor has crafted her novel superbly. The pace is measured, and the restraint, particularly in the later stages of the book, lends My Beautiful Enemy its emotional punch...A moving and accomplished novel that explores fascinating untold lives from our past.' Sydney Morning Herald/Age/Canberra Times

'Black humour is cunningly tangled with moments of sheer emotional devastation; Taylor crafts sentences of such sharpness and insight that I was forced to pause at moments to bask in the prose. My Beautiful Enemy is a heartfelt and beautifully written novel about love and war for readers of exquisitely crafted literary fiction.' Australian Bookseller and Publisher

'An almost unbearably beautiful story about longing and secret lives in which grief and joy turn out to be much the same thing.' Robert Dessaix

'Longing, desire, fear, confusion and self-delusion are all expressed with finesse and subtlety in a distinctive, memorable voice and assured, elegant prose.' Caroline Baum, Booktopia

'This is a beautifully told story of love, longing and the war within.' The Hoopla

‘Reminiscent of a Kazuo Ishiguro novel...a love story that is tender and original.' Readings Monthly

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage

Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s 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’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” 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. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” 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.
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