With the End in Mind
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In this unprecedented book, palliative medicine pioneer Dr Kathryn Mannix explores the biggest taboo in our society and the only certainty we all share: death
‘Impossible to read with dry eyes or an unaltered mindset’ Sunday Times
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER & BOOK OF THE YEAR
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE
Told through a series of beautifully crafted stories taken from nearly four decades of clinical practice, her book answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. She makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation but with openness, clarity and understanding.
With the End in Mind is a book for us all: the grieving and bereaved, ill and healthy. Open these pages and you will find stories about people who are like you, and like people you know and love. You will meet Holly, who danced her last day away; Eric, the retired head teacher who, even with Motor Neurone Disease, gets things done; loving, tender-hearted Nelly and Joe, each living a lonely lie to save their beloved from distress; and Sylvie, 19, dying of leukaemia, sewing a cushion for her mum to hug by the fire after she has died.
These are just four of the book’s thirty-odd stories of normal humans, dying normal human deaths. They show how the dying embrace living not because they are unusual or brave, but because that’s what humans do. By turns touching, tragic, at times funny and always wise, they offer us illumination, models for action, and hope. Read this book and you’ll be better prepared for life as well as death.
`The stories read like fiction, from a writer well attuned to her craft. The life in each shines through and the characters practically leap off the page. It is incredibly moving, of course, but what it isn't is miserable. Yes this is a book about death, but it is also a book about joy. There aren't all that many books that change the way you see the world. This book really might. It will make you want to do a better job of loving and living. It will make you want to be kinder. And it will make you want to cherish every precious moment of your precious life.' Sunday Times `In the last few years, there has been a crowd of books by doctors, scientists and writers that have sought to show us different, kinder ways of ending: Atul Gawande, Oliver Sacks, Henry Marsh... the list is long. Now Kathryn Mannix joins this distinguished group. Mannix's aim is to shed a soft, clear light on a subject too often avoided. Mild, tender and conciliatory, `With the End in Mind deserves to rank with Being Mortal and When Breath Becomes Air. But it's also unique in showing us the numerous paths a death can take: how it evolves, what a deathbed is actually like, what matters most to the dying, and the bereaved. The stories - by turns touching, tragic, and even funny - show that death delivers far less sting given the right planning, information and a dose of honesty. Read it, and you'll be better prepared for life, as well as death.' Bookseller Magazine, December Book of the Month `Illuminating and beautiful... Mannix is good company, with a sound eye for an interesting anecdote and a sure ear for language. It's not a gloomy book. I shed a few tears but it's not gut wrenching and Mannix weaves the light and dark strands of her experience with finesse. It's essential reading for anyone who will encounter death, and that means all of us.' Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times
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