Review: Jean-Dominique Bauby’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

by writereaderly

Successful Parisian editor has stroke and has all his intelligence locked into a body which can only move the neck and left eyelid (blinked to spell out words). It’s famous, there’s a book and then the movie (reportedly good). It was alright, but really, it seemed to be a monumental exercise in ego by a man who’d once been powerful and now needed to prove he was still around and kicking in the upstairs department if nowhere else. Evidently hauled in a few publishing contacts to make this book happen quicksticks, cos he was alive for only a year after the stroke and the memoir came out just before he died — those two days are oft mentioned. Bauby writes well but I think he must have been a right prat in his former life who is now reaping post-mortem glory as a philosopher.

Where it came from: Opshop
Time & manner of reading: Sneakily in front of the Brunswick Library, then wilfully in bed
Where it went to: As yet undetermined
Reminds me of: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey, which was more sincere, profound and enjoyable
Who I’d recommend it to: No one particular, but it’s not a bad book (however suspect the motivation might be)
Also reading: The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene; The Plumed Serpent by D.H. Lawrence; The Reivers by William Faulkner; Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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