The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly

Jean-Dominique Bauby

On 8 December 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a massive stroke and slipped into a coma. When he regained consciousness three weeks later, the only muscle left functioning was in his left eyelid although his mind remained as active and alert as it had ever been. He spent most of 1996 writing this book, letter by letter, blinking as an alphabet was repeatedly read out to him. ‘The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly’ was published in France on Thursday 6th March 1997. It was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. And then, three days later, he died.

‘The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly’, which records Bauby’s lonely existence, is probably the most remarkable book about the triumph of the human spirit, the ability to invent a life for oneself in the most appalling of circumstances, that you will ever read

Reviews of The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly

  • ‘Everyone in the country should own at least one copy.’ The Guardian

    ‘The most extraordinary book of the year.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘Read this book and fall back in love with life.’ Edmund White

    ‘One of the great books of the century.’ Financial Times

    ‘The most remarkable memoir of our time.’ Cynthia Ozick

    ‘Life-enhancing and devastating in equal measure – everyone should read it’ The Gloss magazine