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Michael Rosen on Front Row, 20 Dec. 2021

‘A lovely book, a mixture of a reverie about convalescence, it’s also a handbook – there’s lots of lovely advice – and it’s an anthology of thoughts as well: we hear from people like Virginia Woolf, Maggie O’Farrell, we go back to Chaucer, we even hear from Hildegard of Bingen, Oliver Sacks… it’s full of pithy reminders, like ‘we’re all patients sooner or later’, ‘illness is as much about culture as it is about disease’, and ‘health can never be a final destination.’  [Francis] says health is very much attached to the idea of growing and uses the metaphor of Snakes & Ladders.  That’s my takeaway – if I had to describe my last eighteen months it’s full of snakes and ladders.  A lovely book.’

Henry Marsh in the New Statesman

'Wise and thoughtful… This book is a practical guide to recovery from illness as well as a meditation on the practice of medicine. Take a holiday, says Francis, travel if you can, read books, set yourself achievable goals, don’t compare yourself to others, allow yourself time, commune with green, living things, have a pet.

I cannot think of anybody – patient or doctor – who will not be helped by reading this short and profound book.’

Sunday Times

‘Filled with compassion and warmth, the book provides both insight and succour.'

Scotland on Sunday

It couldn’t be more timely… Even if you are not at present ill, it is worth reading this book because the gentle guidance it gives is actually applicable to being healthy. There are things we can do that make life, even a life without pain or fatigue or anxiety, richer.’


‘sparkling, uplifting… ‘brief, and useful and written with his customary blend of case study and literary precedent’

The Guardian Editorial - Recovery: An Underrated Process

Recovery is not only a physiological matter but, like disease and illness, is shaped by culture and ideas and expectations of the body, as Gavin Francis points out in his new book, Recovery - The Lost Art of Convalescence, It is also a matter for the mind. “We fall ill in ways that are profoundly influenced by our past experiences and expectations, and the same can be said of our paths to recovery,” adds Dr Francis, who works as a GP in Edinburgh. As a society, we are not, he argues, giving recuperation proper consideration: it is something that requires space and active attention to be fully effective. “I often remind patients that it’s worth giving adequate time, energy and respect to the process of healing,” he writes.


Damian Barr

‘This is a wise and compassionate little book on recognising the need for, and value of, recovery: individual and collective. I can’t recommend it enough.  Thank you Gavin Francis.’

Rachel Clarke

‘Such a wise, gentle, quietly hopeful book. Exactly what I needed this January.  Beautiful words and ideas.’