Reading: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

13 Jan

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

This is one of my favorite books and I’ve read it many times.  It’s not very long and if you’ve never had the opportunity to read it, I would highly recommend it.

Jean-Dominique Bauby, the author of this memoir, was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, when at the age of 43 years old he suffered a stroke that resulted in locked-in syndrome.  He was able to find a way to communicate and very tediously gave us this beautiful (and often sad) set of stories.  He died just two days after the French publication of this book.

My favorite passage:

I receive remarkable letters.  They are opened for me, unfolded, and spread out before my eyes in a daily ritual that gives the arrival of the mail the character of a hushed and holy ceremony.  I carefully read each letter myself.  Some of them are serious in tone, discussing the meaning of life, invoking the supremacy of the soul, the mystery of every existence.  And by a curious reversal, the people who focus most closely on those fundamental questions tend to be people I had known only superficially.  Their small talk had masked hidden depths.  Had I been blind and deaf, or does it take the harsh light of disaster to show a person’s true nature?

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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Books, Reviews


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