The mysteries of human transformation, brought lyrically to life by the bestselling author of Adventures in Human Being.
‘Stylish and exhilarating... from a wide-ranging mind and a profound humanity. With warmth and wit, Gavin Francis examines the body’s strategies for survival and change, embedding his thoughts in a broad frame of reference from across human culture and history. Each piece is a pleasure to read, and in sum they are inspiring.’ Hilary Mantel
Our minds and bodies change constantly - we dream and laugh, wax and wane, distort and repair, grow taller and shrink, flourish and decay as we make our way through life.
Some of these changes we have little choice about - we can't avoid puberty, the menopause, or even death. Others are specific to the individual, inhabiting that strange hinterland between mind and body, imposed by the savage perfectionism of anorexia or the internal pressures of plastic surgery addicts. And still others are rare, almost magical in their manifestations, such as the sun-sensitivity and facial hair that characterises Porphyria suffers and led to them, once upon a time, to be suspected as werewolves.
Mixing case studies with observations about history, art, literature, myth and magic, and viewing with a humane and sensitive eye, Gavin Francis, author of the international bestseller Adventures in Human Being, explores the various ways in which change is the very essence of being human.
Gavin Francis is a GP, and the author of True North and Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins, which won the Scottish Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and Costa Prize. He also writes for the Guardian, the Times, London Review of Books and Granta. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife and children.
Find him on Twitter @gavinfranc