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Download The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death Audiobook, by Jean-Dominique Bauby
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (21,016 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jean-Dominique Bauby Narrator: Rene Auberjonois Publisher: Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN:
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In 1995, 44-year-old Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief of French Elle, the father of two young children, and a man known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. By the end of the year, he was also the victim of a rare kind of stroke to the brain stem. After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired.

Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail, dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able, eventually, to compose this extraordinary book.

By turns wistful, mischievous, angry, and witty, Bauby bears witness to his determination to live as fully in his mind as he had been able to do in his body. He explains the joy and deep sadness of seeing his children and of hearing his aged father's voice on the phone. In magical sequences, he imagines traveling to other places and times and of lying next to the woman he loves. Fed only intravenously, he imagines preparing and tasting the full flavor of delectable dishes. Again and again, he returns to an inexhaustible reservoir of sensations, keeping in touch with himself and the life around him.

Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

This book is a lasting testament to his life. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trish | 1/25/2014

    " Rather a sad little book, all the more poignant because of how and why it was written "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley Hart | 1/19/2014

    " I found this book to be fascinating at first. There are some incredibly beautiful passages, and I found Bauby's attitude and strength of spirit to be very inspirational. Soon, however, I realized that there isn't really a story here. It's just memories and moments of time, and I couldn't really connect with them because I never felt like I really got to know Bauby. I wanted to like this book, love it even, but by the last 30 pages I completely lost interest. Yes, the writing of this book was a magnificent feat, and Bauby was undoubtably an interesting man, but it just wasn't enough to sustain me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jordan Forster | 1/12/2014

    " A remarkable feat, and a remarkable work of literature. This book alone will do much to conquer any pessimism about the human condition, and champions the enduring spirit of humanity. Utterly brilliant! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 1/7/2014

    " Not recommended for public reading, danger of crying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clare | 1/3/2014

    " The book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby is about the author himself. Jean was a 43-year-old French magazine editor who suffered a massive stroke that left him a victim of Locked-in-syndrome. This story was completely narrated by Jean while he was suffering Locked-in-syndrome. The book was written by blinking his left eye. The story follows his experience with the doctors and nurses that cared for him and the way he started to see the life in a new way. Through out the book he wrote about an imaginary world where he went on adventures and meets some very interesting characters even tough his physical body never moved an inch. The people and events in this imaginary world were based on his family, friends, and the hospital staffs well as trips he took when he was editing Elle (the French magazine he was editing. As you read this book you can see what it would be like to be a victim of Locked-in-syndrome and also how this extraordinary man saw the world in a different way. I liked this book because the author wrote about a real experience while it was happening. Also he wrote about his little imaginary world, which was very interesting to read. I gave it 4 stars because I really liked how the author wrote his book but it sometimes was hard to understand. I think people who like a story that tells about a tragic event but with an unexpected element of humor would like this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 12/23/2013

    " The fact that his book exists is crazy. The author and memoirist Jean-Dominique Bauby wrote the entire book by blinking his left eye, the only moveable part of his body after having a stroke and becoming locked-in his body. I'm impressed by Bauby's ability to transcend himself and to find a way to communicate from the confines of his body. At times the memoir has beautiful sentences and ideas, including the title, which speak to Bauby's literary ability. (He wrote the book in his head paragraph by paragraph before having an assistant transcribe the memorized sentences everyday.)Good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Devan Sipher | 12/17/2013

    " An extraordinary story about a man in an extraordinary situation. Both devastating and life affirming. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Verity | 12/17/2013

    " Quick read. Interesting, sad, and uplifting all at the same time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Luke Reisdorf | 12/16/2013

    " A very interesting read, a glance into the mind of someone who as had everything else stripped away. Its hard not to to put your self in his shoes and wonder if it took as much time and effort to dicate a book like this, is this what I would say? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin Christine | 12/3/2013

    " Anyone who parallels his last hours as a "perfectly functioning earthling" with Beatles lyrics is a genius. Oh, and also is anyone who writes a memoir by blinking his left eye to spell each word. (And that's not just the speech language pathologist in me, really. It's not!) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 11/17/2013

    " I wanted to die after reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vladimir Artavia | 10/19/2013

    " Very impressive a must read - it will take you just a few hours to read it - it's one of those books everyone should read at Least once. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loriek | 8/27/2013

    " Fascinating story of how a man communicated after his paralyzing accident - truly amazing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Liz Moraites | 6/17/2013

    " What a complete disappointment. Poor character development, and felt nothing for the main character... Sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Xander Duffy | 4/20/2013

    " Cried my eyes out at parts. This is a real witness to the determination someone can have and build, no matter what their condition or circumstance. Beautiful "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 4/17/2013

    " sweet tidbits about life. Wistful? yes. Poetic? maybe in French. Ironic? Fo Sho. Gotta respect a guy who writes using blinking to indicate letter by letter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 K M | 1/14/2013

    " A little gem of a book that reminds us that life is filled with so many wonderful things that are often taken for granted. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 6/22/2012

    " Just amazing. It was translated from French and yet still maintains a sense of poetic beauty. Loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crystal | 2/3/2012

    " This book was so moving and haunting. It's extremely short (for obvious reasons) but full of inspiration. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zarina | 10/9/2011

    " A poignant novel compiled of short chapters, almost fragments, displaying the thoughts of a man suffering from locked-in syndrome. After turning the final page I craved more, but as he dictated the novel himself it's understandably very short. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan Oram | 9/12/2011

    " DON'T watch the movie (though it is good) before you read this book. It's a small read but a powerful book that'll make you stop and think and then start reading again (quickly). Really mind-blogging to think how it was written but so thankful it was. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Razan | 9/9/2011

    " A memoir that will completely change the way you look at life.. its about an inspiring unbeatable spirit and a wild imagination that was an escape. The minute I turned the last page I fell in love with life all over again, its a book that will keep you in check whenever you're about to give up.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 6/18/2011

    " Amazingly poignant. I hoped he would survive and recover. A remarkable spirit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maggie | 5/24/2011

    " I went into reading this knowing I would be emotionally affected, but I had no idea that it would happen the way it did. Read it, then see the film. It's nothing short of brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 5/20/2011

    " a very intense book...but worth reading and very thought provoking... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jonna | 5/17/2011

    " I agree the writing of this book was an amazing and inspiring accomplishment. The book itself, however, . . . eh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 5/16/2011

    " One of those memiors where the person's strength is so inspirational. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 He-who-must-not-be-named | 5/16/2011

    " This is like a real life version of "Johnny Got His Gun" which is pretty crazy if you think about it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shero | 5/14/2011

    " Fantastic book. It must be read slowly, as it was written very slowly. Letter by letter. It must be read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gabriel | 5/7/2011

    " I thought this book was a great read and was drawn to the book after watching the movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 4/25/2011

    " Brief, brutal & beautiful. An incredible testament to the will of a man who's brain is fully functional but who's body is almost completely paralyzed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lucia | 4/22/2011

    " Read several years ago. Read several times (rare for me). One of my favorite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 4/19/2011

    " Life-affirming. Although that's a cliche, I know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 4/12/2011

    " Paralyzed man communicates by blinking his eye. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 4/3/2011

    " Brief, sad, philosophic meditations by a brilliant mind trapped in a non-functional body. I'd like to read it in French next. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Moira | 4/3/2011

    " I had to struggle not to cry in the library, where I read the whole thing in one sitting. "

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