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Gift of Time: A Family's Diary of Cancer Paperback – 25 Feb 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (25 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780332335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780332338
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 574,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rory MacLean is one of Britain's most expressive and adventurous travel writers. His ten books, including UK best-sellers 'Stalin's Nose' and 'Under the Dragon', have challenged and invigorated creative non-fiction writing, and - according to the late John Fowles - are among works that 'marvellously explain why literature still lives'. He has won awards from the Canada Council and the Arts Council of England as well as a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary prize. He has written and presented over 50 BBC radio programmes and worked on movies with Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Rory divides his time between Berlin, London and Dorset.

http://www.rorymaclean.com

Product Description

Review

Rory Maclean is one of the most strikingly original and talented travel writers of his generation. (Katie Hickman )

Poignant. (The Bookseller )

Moving... Not all memoirs of death go as gently or acceptingly into this good night. (Catholic Herald )

A moving, exceptional book and highly recommended. (The Tablet )

Both heartbreaking and, oddly, life-enhancing. (Financial Times )

Poignant and moving. (Choice )

Brave. (Daily Telegraph )

Book Description

An heartbreakingly honest and deeply moving memoir in the words of the son, his wife and his mother of her battle with cancer, from one of the UK's best loved travel writers.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ms Sinead Kelly on 20 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
When Rory MacLean's mother, Joan, is diagnosed with a terminal cancer, he and his wife, Katrin, unhesitatingly take the ailing woman into their home in an effort to make her last remaining weeks as comfortable as possible. Each keeps a diary of their experiences, the results of which are collated into this incredibly moving book.

Told with humour, grace and searing honesty, Rory, Katrin and Joan lay bare their innermost emotions as they come to terms with this dreaded disease - to the extent that the reader sometimes feels like a voyeuristic intruder, blithely eavesdropping on their most private of thoughts.

However, the benefit of this intensely personal, warts-and-all account is that it throws into harsh relief the devastating effects of cancer on the sufferer, while also giving unique insight into often-overlooked plight of those left behind to pick up the pieces - the family, the friends and the carers. Cancer, it seems, is all-consuming - and in more ways than one.

It cannot be denied that parts of this book are uncomfortable to read - it is, after all, a chronicle of death. It forces the reader to confront the one basic truth that we spend so much time trying to ignore - the fact death is an inevitable and inescapable part of the human condition. However, despite this, the book is strangely life-affirming - in acknowledging death, it also succeeds in celebrating life ... and the indomitability of the human spirit.

A truly remarkable book -'Gift of Time' should be essential reading for mortals everywhere.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Venter on 3 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful, poignant and raw in uncompromising, unapologetic honesty. I read the first 3/4 so quickly; I could not put it down, but then found it hard to carry on. I knew what must happen, but reading it would make it true. I felt I lived through this time with Rory & Katrin and while my heart broke, my soul was uplifted and I was inspired. Everyone who has lost someone will relate to this book. Anyone losing someone will find solace. It gave me a new perspective on the tragic loss of my Mother-in-Law, for once being thankful for her lack of prolonged suffering, shifting my focus away from regrets.
Amazingly honest. Beautiful! I cannot imagine a better tribute.
Diane Venter
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RaeMoss on 27 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The diaries of Rory MacLean, his wife Katrin and mother Joan are brought together to tenderly recall the final months of Joan's life, as she lives with the end stages of cancer. She is strong and fearless, stoic as many of her generation, unwilling to be a burden to her family. Rory and Katrin's entries tell of the daily highs and lows, the moments of frustration, joy and even laughter shared by the three. I enjoyed this book very much, and found it uplifting and hopeful, proving that it is possible to have a good death, and it is possible to survive the passing of a loved one. Having the time say good-bye to someone we love is a gift indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Moore TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover
When his mother Joan was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Rory and his wife Katrina invited her to live with them. During this time, they all kept diaries of their time, and in Gift of Time, Rory pulls these entries together, giving a candid insight into a difficult and heartbreaking time.

The majority of entries are from Rory, as he tries to put down in words how his mother's condition affects every aspect of his life. Katrina's entries show the wonderful relationship she has with her mother-in-law, and Joan's give an insight into what remains important to her.

Yes, at times this is a difficult book to read, especially towards the end, but it's in no way a sugary, heart-string tugging account. Instead it's very raw and open, with an account of Joan's changes as the cancer takes hold. It also feels positive, in the way that everyone comes together to deal with the illness and eventual death, as well as the way they are view the world, still enjoying nature and the garden.

For readers who have experienced this for themselves, it should be a very personal decision as to when is the right time to read this. I would imagine it would be very hard if it's a recent event, but other reviewers have said they've found it helpful a few years after - knowing that others had experienced the same as them.

This book is a wonderful tribute to this family, but also to every family who have experienced similar.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 8 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I downloaded a preview of this book and others to my Kindle, and it was the only one that caught my attention. The book is a compilation of three diaries, the extracts merged in date order. Once I learned to take notice of who'se diary page I was reading (big bold letters at the start of each extract!) it is very easy to read. I am half way through. I don't have the chance to read that often, each time I pick it up I have no problem remembering where I left off. Don't let the subject put you off, the book is not depressing, it is a beautiful creation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By robartist1 on 20 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Gift of Time is a brave, and ultimately inspiring book.
When Rory Maclean's mother, Joan, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decided, with his wife Katrin, that she should spend her remaining days with them in their Dorset cottage. All three kept diaries of the five months before Joan died, and it is these perspectives, these three distinctive voices, of the challenges, emotions, frustrations and even joys of a terminal illness, that Maclean cleverly blends into a revealing, engrossing and emotional book.
In the telling, the bonds of love between all three, and other relatives and friends, are made clear, and heightened by the inevitability of the final outcome.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book, this most personal of journeys by one of this country's most
acclaimed travel writers
Rob Upward. Brighton
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