The real story behind The Diving Bell and the Butterfly | Life and style | The GuardianIn my case, blinking my left eyelid is my only means of communication. Using his only functioning muscle - his left eyelid - he began dictating this remarkable story, painstakingly spelling it out letter by letter. His book offers a haunting, harrowing look inside the cruel prison of locked-in syndrome, but it is also a triumph of the human spirit. It represents an almost inconceivable act of generosity, the gift of the mind and the spirit for which writing was designed. One of the most extraordinary, mesmerising pieces of literature I have read this year. No word has been wasted in this masterpiece.
The Diving-bell and the Butterfly
W rapped up in several sweaters against the chill of a wintry day in Paris, Florence Ben Sadoun sits in a bohemian tea shop near the Luxembourg Gardens. In front of her is a pot of strong coffee and several notebooks scrawled with her work. I can work here, peacefully. Abruptly the peace is broken when a teenage band begins to warm up, attempting - badly - to play scratchy French folk music. Ben Sadoun, who has an open face, with dark eyes, covers her ears, cringes, apologises for the noise, and sinks back into the cushions, wrapping a shawl around herself.
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You would have to have a hard heart to watch Julian Schnabel's new film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly , without at least coming close to shedding a few tears. It tells the remarkable story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, the glamorous editor-in-chief of French Elle, left paralysed apart from one blinking, roving eye following a catastrophic illness. Disaster strikes in December
It describes his life before and after suffering a massive stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome. The French edition of the book was published on March 7, It went on to become a number one bestseller across Europe. Its total sales are now in the millions. On December 8, , Bauby, the editor-in-chief of French Elle magazine, suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma. He awoke 20 days later, mentally aware of his surroundings, but physically paralyzed with what is known as locked-in syndrome , with the only exception of some movement in his head and eyes.