A Journey Through the Changing Human Body

From birth to death, a lyrical exploration of the role of transformation in human life

To be alive is to be in perpetual metamorphosis: growing, healing, learning, aging. In Shapeshifters, physician and writer Gavin Francis considers the inevitable changes all of our bodies undergo–such as birth, puberty, and death, but also laughter, sleeping, and healing-and those that only some of our bodies will: like getting a tattoo, experiencing psychosis, suffering anorexia, being pregnant, or undergoing a gender transition. In Francis’s hands, each event becomes an opportunity to explore the meaning of identity and the natures-biological, psychological, and philosophical-of our selves. True to its own subject, Shapeshifters combines Francis’s lyrical imagination and deep knowledge of medicine and the humanities for a life-altering read.

Read More

Genre: Nonfiction / Medical / Essays

On Sale: June 5th 2018

Price: $16.99

Page Count: 304

ISBN-13: 9781541697515

What's Inside

Read More Read Less


"In this provocative and important book about our shared future, Francis ranges broadly to describe altered human states and selves. He delves into medical history, and, with equal ease, into medical case studies, to reveal how humans are capable of changing our bodies and minds. Steeped as much in history as in the future, we might describe this book as an audacious attempt to write a manifesto for a trans-human future (read it to understand what that phrase might mean)."—Siddartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene
"Wonderful, written with a deep feeling for language. A writer-physician who sees the drama and beauty in human life."—Annie Dillard, author of An American Childhood and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
"A wonderful series of meditations--clinical, anthropological, literary and deeply humane--on his patients and their illnesses."—Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm
"This stylish and exhilarating collection of essays comes from a wide-ranging mind and a profound humanity. With warmth and wit, Gavin Francis examines the body's strategies for survival and change, embedding his thoughts in a broad frame of reference from across human culture and history. Each piece is a pleasure to read, and in sum they are inspiring."—Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies