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The diving bell and the butterfly


The diving bell and the butterfly Cover

ISBN13: 9780375401152
ISBN10: 0375401156
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, the father of two young childen, a 44-year-old man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brainstem. After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book.

By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy, and deep sadness, of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father's voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines traveling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavor of delectable dishes. Again and again he returns to an "inexhaustible reservoir of sensations," keeping in touch with himself and the life around him.

Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

This book is a lasting testament to his life.

About the Author

Jean-Dominique Bauby was born in France in 1952. He attended school in Paris. After working as a journalist for a number of years, Bauby became the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine in Paris in 1991.

On December 8, 1995 he had a stroke which left him with the condition known as locked-in syndrome. Bauby died on March 9, 1997. He was the father of two children, Theophile and Celeste.

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Janet, May 4, 2007 (view all comments by Janet)
A totally haunting glimpse inside disability that will leave you changed. Bauby wrote the book after falling victim to Locked-In Syndrome, a near-total body paralysis that left his mind intact and his one eyelid the sole means he had to communicate. The book's precious few words were dictated by this method and the image of a young, once able man rattling around inside the prison his body has become, committing his thoughts to memory and awaiting his "stenographer" each day to capture them by this painstaking method before they evaporate can't fail to move. Interestingly I got the impression he was not a particularly kind or likeable man; somehow this made the stirring empathy his writing provoked even more profound. Not even remotely sentimental or sappy; just spare and haunting.
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Product Details

Leggatt, Jeremy
A.A. Knopf :
New York :
Cerebrovascular disease
Cerebrovascular Disorders
Periodical editors
Periodical editors -- France -- Biography.
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Trade Cloth
131 p.
7.55x4.71x.71 in. .40 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Disability
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies

The diving bell and the butterfly Used Hardcover
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Product details 131 p. pages Distributed by Random House,1997. - English 9780375401152 Reviews:
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