The Language Of Kindness: A Nurse's Stories Of Life, Death And Hope by CHRISTIE WATSONThe Language Of Kindness: A Nurse's Stories Of Life, Death And Hope by CHRISTIE WATSON

The Language Of Kindness: A Nurse's Stories Of Life, Death And Hope


Hardcover | May 8, 2018

Pricing and Purchase Info

$29.80 online 
$32.95 list price save 9%
Earn 149 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


A moving, lyrical, beautifully written portrait of a nurse and the lives she has touched.

Christie Watson spent twenty years working as a nurse, and in this intimate, poignant and remarkably powerful book, she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets. She takes us by her side down hospital corridors to visit the wards and the patients who are unforgettable. In the neonatal unit, premature babies fight for their lives, hovering at the very edge of survival, like tiny Emmanuel wrapped up in a sandwich bag. In the cancer wards, the nurses administer chemotherapy and, long after the medicine stops working, something more important--which Watson recognizes when her own father is dying of cancer. In the mental health unit, Derek attempts to take his life. In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Charlotte loses her legs following meningitis, and the nurses wash the hair of a little girl to remove the smell of smoke from a house fire. The emergency room is overcrowded as ever, with waves of alcohol and drug addicted patients, as well as patients like Betty, suffering chest pain, frail and alone. The stories of the geriatric ward--Gladys and older patients like her--show the plight of the most vulnerable members of our society.

In the smallest of actions, the most undervalued of professions provides the most vital care and kindness. All of us will touch illness in our lifetime, and we will all depend upon the support and dignity that nurses offer us in our most vulnerable moments; yet these women and men who form the vanguard of our health service remain largely behind the scenes and publicly unsung. Through the stories in this book comes an understanding of what we must value most dearly--the urgency of care and compassion.

In this age of fear, hate and division, Christie Watson, an award-winning novelist as well as a nurse, has written a book that reminds us of all that we share, and of what it is to be human.
CHRISTIE WATSON was a registered nurse for twenty years before writing full time. Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award, and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, was also published to international critical acclaim. Her works have been translated into fifteen languages. She lives in London.
Title:The Language Of Kindness: A Nurse's Stories Of Life, Death And HopeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 8.6 × 5.8 × 1.1 inPublished:May 8, 2018Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385690266

ISBN - 13:9780385690263

Look for similar items by category:


Editorial Reviews

International Bestseller"I challenge anyone to get through all 336 pages without shedding a tear for what those who work in 'the most undervalued of all professions' have to witness. . . . Expect her stories of patients like Tommy and Katie to linger with you many days after the final chapter. The privilege of being nursed by Christie Watson was theirs, too." —The Sunday Times (UK)"Many doctors have been distinguished writers—Anton Chekhov, William Carlos Williams and Abraham Verghese, to name a few. But we haven't heard enough from nurses, whose world is just as arcane and important. Christie Watson helps close this gap. The Language of Kindness could not be more compelling or more welcome: It's about how we survive, and about the people who help us do so." —The New York Times Book Review"[The Language of Kindness is] a gently remarkable book about what it means to be a nurse, what it means to care. . . . It made me cry. It made me think. It made me laugh. It encouraged me to appreciate this most underappreciated of professions more than ever." —The Guardian (UK)"An absorbing, all-seeing tour through the doors of the hospital. . . . In Watson's honest memoir, we are reminded that we are all made from the same fibres and are all in this together, exploring the human condition and learning the language of kindness." —The Observer (UK)"If it's taken a very long time to get a memoir written by a nurse, then it was certainly worth the wait. I have rarely read anything that has moved me as much or taken me by the hand so confidently into an unknown world, teeming with life and haunted by death. . . . In both her nursing and writing Watson achieves what we might otherwise call a state of grace. The horrors herein are transmuted by the holiness of the heart's affections for strangers. A special book . . . and an important guide to what a healthy society should value." —Sunday Telegraph (UK)"With grit and wisdom, this memoir of life as a nurse encompasses birth, death and the unpredictable workings of minds and bodies in between." —The New Yorker "Highly emotional and eloquent. . . . From her formative experiences, Watson evokes the topography of each arm of nursing in vivid detail." —Irish Times (UK)"It's that combination of fierce compassion and unflinching honesty about the human cost of nursing which makes this such a compelling and universally relevant book. It couldn't be more topical, or timeless, and the fact that it's written with an elegant grace . . . makes it a joy to read." —Irish Independent (UK)"A highly intelligent writer bringing all her narrative skills to bear on a profession in which she spent 20 years. . . . Christie Watson is a wonderful writer. But I can't help thinking that she was an even better nurse." —Evening Standard (UK)"A touching and thought-provoking memoir that makes an impassioned plea for the appreciation of the nursing profession in a society where 'the act of caring is not considered valuable.'" —Express (UK) "This beautiful memoir—tender, informative, unflinching, every sentence filled with compassion—has reminded me that when I have felt most alone I am of course not alone at all." —Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry"Moving, eloquent, funny, inspiring—an urgent book for our times." —Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Café"A wise and tender book, by turns fierce, compassionate, and revelatory. It shows the joys and the difficulties of looking after people at their most vulnerable, and makes an urgent plea: as a society we have to care better for the nurses who care for us." —Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being"I was enthralled from the start. Nurses' voices are rarely heard and Christie is so honest, wise and observant of people that she is just the person to do their story justice. And of course she writes beautifully. The image that stayed with me long after I had put the book down was of the nurse always with the patient, even after everybody else has gone." —Suzanne O'Sullivan, author of It's All in Your Head  "Christie Watson is a remarkable writer turning her attention to a crucially important conversation. This book is eloquent, moving and searingly relevant to all of us." —Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall"There is so much love in this book that it makes the tears bearable. Christie Watson has written a beautiful and lyrical account of the true meaning of a nurse's life." —Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire"From Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air to Henry Marsh's Do No Harm, we've had the privilege of reading some fine books by doctors of late. But it's high time the nurse's story was told too, and my, how magnificently Christie Watson tells it in this memoir." —The Bookseller  "It is very hard to describe the essence of nursing, but Christie's story captures it. Through her powerful writing the true value of the nurse becomes clear." —Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing"Christie writes with such an engaging, honest and humorous manner that it is virtually impossible to put this book down. Christie has remarkable talent in being able to explain some of the situations she encounters in language that is accessible to everyone, without dumbing down the complexities of the work that nurses engage in. . . . There is nothing not to enjoy about this book." —Nursing Times"[The Language of Kindness is] so wise, so compassionate, so honest that I find it uplifting." —Jacqueline Wilson, author of Rose Rivers "Christie Watson shines the wisest of lights on the daily practice of caring for others. She celebrates kindness that is rooted in true respect for human dignity and equality—a kindness without which society would be a much sadder place. This piercingly tender book will make you laugh, cry and reflect on what life is all about." —Nicky Parker, publisher at Amnesty International UK"A remarkable book. I learned more in Chapter 3 than I have in all the other books I've read this year. Watson illustrates why a nurse has a harder job than 99 per cent of lawyers (I am one) and deserves to be paid more. Absolutely brilliant!" —Clive Stafford Smith OBE, human rights lawyer"If you want to know what nursing is, then read this book" —Robert Sowney, Chair, RCN Foundation