Once upon a time, being "unwell" meant a columnist was, how shall we put it, indisposed. Now, being truly unwell is no excuse for not filing your copy, and the resulting column is in danger of becoming something of a genre. If so, then here is its best exponent. John Diamond was just a common-or-garden Times
columnist, a "sometime smoking, unexercised and overweight man of fortyish", and, being an expert hypochondriac, expectantly waiting for his first heart attack. Until 27 March 1997. Then he was diagnosed as having cancer. C
is his "attempt to write the book I was looking for the night I got the bad news." C
is a blow-by-blow account of the progress of his cancer and its various treatments, interlaced with forays into the daunting medical literature, autobiographical reminiscences, and meditative reflections on what this all means. As a guide to cancer, Diamond is usefully knowledgeable, able to cut through the medical profession's defensive euphemisms and tell us what's really going on. As a guide to himself, Diamond is unstintingly honest, so we get the whole man with all his personal strengths and foibles, and it's actually difficult to read the prognosis with which he leaves us. And to produce that degree of engagement is an achievement for any writer. --Alan Stewart
The witty but compelling story of one man's view of his cancer and its treatment which became an instant bestseller on its publication.