The Lost Art of Convalescence

Cover of 'Recovery'

A short, uplifting account of hope and healing by the author of ‘Adventures in Human Being’.

When it comes to illness, sometimes the end is just the beginning. Recovery and convalescence are words that exist at the periphery of our lives – until we are forced to contend with what they really mean.

Here, GP and writer Gavin Francis explores how – and why – we get better, revealing the many shapes recovery takes, its shifting history and the frequent failure of our modern lives to make adequate space for it.

Characterised by Francis’s beautiful prose and his view of medicine as “the alliance of science and kindness”, ‘Recovery’ is a book about a journey that most of us never intend to make. Along the way, he unfolds a story of hope, transformation, and the everyday miracle of healing.

Read an extract from ‘Recovery’, and watch a recording of Gavin Francis in conversation with philosopher Havi Carel and oncologist Sam Guglani. They discuss their personal and professional experiences of living with illness, getting better and the importance of convalescence.

Date published
144 pages

About the author

Photographic black and white head and shoulders portrait of author Gavin Francis.

Gavin Francis

Gavin Francis has worked across four continents as a surgeon, emergency physician, medical officer with the British Antarctic Survey and latterly as a GP; he has described the pandemic response of 2020 as the most intense period of his 20-year career in medicine. He’s the author of the Sunday Times bestseller ‘Adventures in Human Being’, which was a BMA Book of the Year, and ‘Shapeshifters’. His books have won the SMIT Scottish Book of the Year Award, the Saltire Award for Non-Fiction and been shortlisted for the Ondaatje and Costa Prizes. He also writes for the Guardian, The Times, the London Review of Books and Granta. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife and children.