A Short History of Falling – like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and When Breath Becomes Air – is a searingly beautiful, profound and unforgettable memoir that finds light and even humour in the darkest of places.
As I get weaker, less a part of this world, or less a part of what I love, less a part of my family’s life, I can perceive its edges with fantastic clarity. I can lie against it, lolling my arm over the edge, running my fingers around the rim. And this is where I am.
In 2018, Joe Hammond, wrote a piece for the Guardian about the 33 birthday cards he was writing for his two sons. It was shared by thousands. In A Short History of Falling he tells the story behind that piece, about the experience of living with – and dying of – motor neurone disease (ALS).
A Short History of Falling is not a lament. It is a deeply imaginative meditation on what it feels like to confront the fact that your family will persist through time without you. It’s a book about love and about fatherhood. But it’s also an extraordinary kind of travel writing: an unblinking account of a journey into unlighted territory and of what it means to lose your body and your connections to the world one by one.
This astonishing, luminous book will truly change the way you see the world.