Saturday 22 December 2007
61. The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly
While The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly is very short (about 120 pages), I did not read the whole thing last night after posting about The Prestige. Rather, I finished it this morning over tea, having begun it last Friday night on the way home from exchanging gifties with Melinda and Scott.
Mel gave me this one, which she was forced to pick out without the help of my Amazon wish list - I have removed my wish list and I bite my thumb at those bastards at Amazon who screwed up my Festivus order.
It usually takes something like coercion or death threats to get me to read non-fiction - but a holiday gift is just as effective. Bauby's book is a series of vignettes drawn from his experience of living with locked-in syndrome (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locked-In_syndrome); he wrote the whole book being able to move only one of his eyelids, having "dictated" it to someone who transcribed it and then presumably began contacting publishers.
Locked-in syndrome sounds pretty much like my worst nightmare - to be awake and aware and completely unable to either move or communicate in a standard way.
The book was quite compelling - the writing was good and I liked how Bauby resisted being either insanely bitter about it all (which I suspect I would be) or heroical in his outlook. He died just 10 days after the book was published, in 1997.