And Finally by Henry Marsh [9/10]

Who can forget the lucid, humane 2014 memoir Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by esteemed but self-deprecating neurosurgeon Henry Marsh? I wept at the documentary The English Surgeon, covering his work in Ukraine. His 2017 volume Admissions: A life in Brain Surgery was equally impressive. Now comes the (perhaps) ultimate instalment: “And Finally: Matters of Life and Death.” Marsh is superbly erudite yet honest and modest as he recounts how he discovers he has advanced cancer in his eighth decade. A natural storyteller, he weaves amongst the tale of his diagnosis and treatment a huge assortment of fascinating topics, from recollections of surgery, through the topic of consciousness, through euthanasia, to the highly imaginative tales he Facetime’d his granddaughters with during Covid lockdown. Throughout, he remains brutally frank and humane. And Finally is an exemplary missive to humanity from an exemplary human being.

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