The Cancer Finishing School WEB

What lessons might cancer teach him before it finishes him off? Peter Goldsworthy asks, obliquely.
A GP of forty years’ practice, as well as one of Australia’s most awarded and celebrated writers, Goldsworthy (‘Doctor Pete’ to his patients) brings his characteristic black humour and storytelling power to the tale of his own cancer journey. Accidentally diagnosed after a scan of his dicky knee, he was thrown into a world that he knew only too well from the other side: a world that soon shrank to hospital visits, sleepless and hyped-up nights on dexamethasone, and life-saving chemotherapy. Never one to waste a story, Peter intersperses his own experience with odd and astonishing case stories of patients and literary friends who have trodden the same path: both cautionary tales and exemplary tales, sometimes laugh-out-loud, sometimes deeply moving, that intersect with, or refract, his own travels through denial, acceptance, treatment and survival. Darkly funny, and filled with growing love and wonder, The Cancer Finishing School offers lessons in how to live life in the shadow of an incurable illness.

This review was published in the JUN/AUG 2024   issue of The Art of Healing.