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Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence (Hardcover)
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“An essential book for our times, full of wisdom, compassion and sound advice. Every patient needs a copy of this gem.” –Katherine May, author of Wintering and Enchantment
A gentle, expert guide to the secrets of recovery, showing why we need it and how to do it better
For many of us, time spent in recovery—from a broken leg, a virus, chronic illness, or the crisis of depression or anxiety—can feel like an unwelcome obstacle on the road to health. Modern medicine too often assumes that once doctors have prescribed a course of treatment, healing takes care of itself. But recovery isn’t something that “just happens.” It is an act that we engage in and that has the potential to transform our lives, if only we can find ways to learn its rhythms and invest our time, energy, and participation.
Drawing on thirty years of medicine, and on insights from practitioners, psychologists, and writers across history, physician Gavin Francis delivers a profound, practical, and deeply hopeful guide to recovery. Rejecting the idea that healing is passive, Recovery offers tools and wisdom for convalescence, and shows how tending to our bodies, environments, and perspectives can help us move through the landscape of illness—and come out the other side whole.
About the Author
Gavin Francis is a general physician with more than 30 years of training and practice in medicine. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners. He is also an award-winning writer and a contributor to the Guardian, Times, New York Review of Books, Granta, and the London Review of Books. He’s authored eight books, including Empire Antarctica, Adventures in Human Being, and Shapeshifters: On Medicine & Human Change, which was a book of the year in the Sunday Times. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.
"Francis sheds nuanced light on an often fraught and private experience, and encourages readers to reimagine illnesses as 'stories of the mind and body' because 'within limits, stories can be rewritten.' Those on the mend may gain the most, but readers of all stripes will find wisdom here." –Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Recovery is an essential book for our times, full of wisdom, compassion and sound advice. Every patient needs a copy of this gem.” –Katherine May, author of Wintering and Enchantment
"Healing can be maddeningly slow work, Gavin Francis recognizes, but it offers us the opportunity to live differently. Beyond the fantasy of the quick and easy cure is the reality of living with and through our physical limitations, which requires creativity. Recovery offers inspiration and advice for practicing this lost art. Throughout, Francis is alert to the political and economic forces that undermine our efforts." –Eula Biss, author of Having and Being Had and On Immunity
“We spend too much time thinking about illness and hardly enough thinking about recovery and recuperation. Gavin Francis’s literary talent combined with his years as a seasoned medical practitioner make Recovery a unique and delightful read.” –Abraham Verghese, author of The Covenant of Water and Cutting for Stone
"Recovery is an excellent book about the long, difficult, and often interesting way back from illness to health. Gavin Francis writes with clinical wisdom and grace about doctors and patients—their expectations, strengths, and vulnerabilities—and suggests ways to navigate and learn from convalescence.” –Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders and Professor of Psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine