The Diving-bell and the Butterfly (Cascades)

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9780003302134: The Diving-bell and the Butterfly (Cascades)

The story of how a man who could only move one eyelid learned to communicate and to 'dictate' his autobiography by blinking. * The story: Jean-Dominique Bauby, Editor-in-Chief of French Elle, suffered a massive stroke which left him completely paralysed, except for one eyelid. The book tells how he learned to communicate by blinking, and recounts his experience and perceptions of life, of disability and death. * Themes: Disability; death; communication; the individual and society (Edexcel GCSE). * Genre: Autobiography/non-fiction must be studied under the National Curriculum. * Suitable for 14-19 year-olds.

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Review:

On December 8, 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby's life was forever altered when a part of his body he'd never heard of--his brain stem--was rendered inactive. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, his exquisitely painful memoir, is neither a triumphant account of recovery nor a journey into the abyss of self-pity. Instead, it is a tender testament to the power of language and love. At 43, Bauby was defined by success, wit and charisma. But in the course of a few bewildering minutes, the editor-in-chief of French Elle became a victim of the rare locked-in syndrome. The only way he could express his frustration, however, was by blinking his left eye. The rest of his body could no longer respond. Bauby was determined to escape the paralysis of his diving bell and free the butterflies of his imagination. And with the help of ESA, "a hit parade in which each letter is placed according to the frequency of its use in the French language," Bauby did so. Visitors, and eventually his editor, would read each letter aloud and he would blink at the right one. Slowly--painstakingly-- words, sentences, paragraphs and even this graceful book emerged.

Bauby relays the horrors and small graces of his struggle, which range from awaking one day to discover his right eye being sewn shut to realising the significance of Father's Day, a holiday previously absent from his family's "emotional calendar": "Today we spent the whole of the symbolic day together, affirming that even a rough sketch, a shadow, a tiny fragment of a dad is still a dad." The author makes it clear that being locked in doesn't kick open the doors of perception, but The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is nonetheless a celebration of life. Jean Dominique-Bauby died of a heart attack on March 9, 1997, two days after his book was published in France.

Review:

* 'Vibrantly, insistently, a tale for our times... it is one of the great books of the century.' Financial Times. * 'This is a memoir where the man speaks for the moment, and it is one of the great books of the century.' Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times.

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Jean-Dominique Bauby
Published by Collins Educational (2000)
ISBN 10: 000330213X ISBN 13: 9780003302134
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Bauby, Jean-Dominique
Published by Collins Educational (2000)
ISBN 10: 000330213X ISBN 13: 9780003302134
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Book Description Collins Educational, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. A few small marks to page edges Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0006679361

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