I Am, I Am, I Am | Penguin Random House Canada

I Am, I Am, I Am

Seventeen Brushes with Death

Publisher: Knopf Canada
An extraordinary memoir--told entirely in near-death experiences--from one of Britain's bestselling novelists, for fans of Wild, When Breath Becomes Air, and The Year of Magical Thinking.

We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death.

I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O'Farrell's astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her in the hospital for nearly a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a serial killer on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life's myriad dangers.

Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and a restrained emotion, O'Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty and mysteries of life itself.




On the path ahead, stepping out from behind a boulder, a man appears.

We are, he and I, on the far side of a dark tarn that lies hidden in the bowl-curved summit of this mountain. The sky is a milky blue above us; no vegetation grows this far up so it is just me and him, the...
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I Am, I Am, I Am is a gripping and glorious investigation of death that leaves the reader feeling breathless, grateful and fully alive. Maggie O’Farrell is a miracle in every sense. I will never forget this book.” —Ann Patchett

I Am, I Am, I Am opens up the vulnerability that many of us experience in life—from the potential of love and connection in childbirth to the certainty of death we all must face. With her elegant prose, O'Farrell moves us through fear to find a world full of wonder and hope. This is a bold, brave, beautiful book about embracing all that life has to offer.” —Claire Cameron

“O’Farrell emerges as determined, loyal, fierce and stoic; not to be messed with. . . . The message is that we must live in the moment, finding joy and freedom where we can, but O’Farrell writes so convincingly about peril that each episode just serves as another detailed, technicolour reminder that we and, more terrifyingly, our loved ones are only ever one bad decision, faulty choice, or sliver or ill-fortune away from catastrophe. This is a mesmerising read.” —The Sunday Times

“[A]stonishing. . . . [T]aut, beautifully written book.” —Maclean’s

“A memoir that makes one acutely aware of both the precarious and precious nature of our days on earth.” —Toronto Star

“I have never read a book about death that has made me feel so alive. A heart-stopping, addictive read.” —Tracy Chevalier

“By turns chilling, terrifying, deeply moving, funny, recognisable, wild, simple, complicated. A rich celebration.” —Rachel Joyce

“[I Am, I Am, I Am] is absolutely, in every possible sense of the word, brilliant. It shines with wit and candour and insight. It is spectacularly moving, funny, impeccably controlled, artful and sincere. It’s a gift.” —Max Porter

“I adored every minute. A triumph.” —Joanna Cannon

“Extraordinary. A beautiful testament to courage and grace under fire without an ounce of self-pity.” —Kate Mosse