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Freedom to Breathe by Elena Pečarič
Freedom to Breathe
— Elena Pečarič
Freedom to Breathe is the extraordinary memoir from one of Slovenia's most important cultural personages, Elena Pečarič. Part autobiographical account of her living with congenital progressive spinal muscular amyotrophy—revolving around a particular episode when she was 28 that severely exacerbated her chronic respiratory condition—and part psychological and sociological reflection on the singular personal and wider political implications of her lived experience, this unique book draws out the philosophical import of freedom, the decision, the body, and the dialectic between health and illness.
A defiant testament to rejections of oppressive well-meaningness, Freedom to Breathe is a tremendous survey of the determination of the will, and of the determining effects that the will can have on and in one's life, from its being wielded against the advice of others, to its structuring of the joys and pains of day-to-to-living.
With a preface from Mladen Dolar.
'Elena’s writing is from the rst to the last page, from the rst to the last breath, informed by a short-circuit, the impossible overlap of the most intimate story, the most painful personal trauma, masterfully described, and on the other hand the most universal dimension of human experience. Elena’s account transforms each moment of this very private and unique experience into a moment of our common habitus. e most subjective touches upon the most universal; the most personal meets the impersonal passion.
‘Reach for the book – it’s a weapon’, runs Brecht’s famous adage. One can hardly imagine a book for which this would be more valid – a weapon in a struggle which is most intimate and utterly social, philosophical and political.'
— Mladen Dolar, philosopher and author of A Voice and Nothing More (MIT, 2006).