Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

For a supreme example of the power of both the human spirit and imagination , this short book would be hard to surpass. The author, Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered from Locked-In syndrome following a cerebro-vascular incident. He was unable to walk, talk or do anything except move his head slightly and blink his left eyelid. By this means he and his helpers devised a way of communicating, and he managed to write this book, even though it took a couple of minutes to describe one letter of the alphabet. The short chapters cover a very wide variety of subjects, ranging from his memories of work, his life with his wife and children, his girlfriend, and life in the hospital at Berck-sur-Mer, sometimes sad, sometimes funny but never self-pitying. Recommended to me by a fellow-reading group member, and I recommend it also. I haven't yet seen the film which has been made of this book, but apparently that is very sympathetique to the story.

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