|Pages/Publication Date:||304 / 2018|
To live is to be in a perpetual state of change—growing, healing, learning, aging—and here physician and essayist Gavin Francis explores the transformations that mark us from conception to death. Some we effect on ourselves; we may build up our muscles, tattoo or pierce our skin, even transition to a new gender. Other things simply happen to us—the debilitation of disease, the arrival of puberty, the onset of menopause—and our own minds can alter our states of being. For Francis, these events offer an opportunity to examine the meaning of identity and the ever-shifting natures of our biological, psychological, and philosophical selves.
"Reading these essays is like touring a museum of medical marvels led by the best guide; one with boundless curiosity, a taste for the weird and a deep well of thoughtfulness and knowledge. Shapeshifters is about bodily change, from normal transitions such as conception, menopause, and sleep to anomalies and disorders—amputation, anorexia, people who have grown horns. What gives this book heart are Gavin Francis's moving encounters, as a working GP, with people whose bodies have undergone strange transformations."—Times (London)