Katherine Standefer, Lightning Flowers (NYT Editors Pick)
Date, Time & Location
About the Event
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We're proud to be Kati's bookstore of choice, you can purchase signed copies of Lightning Flowers online here - or call the store (505) 988-4226
The book was shortlisted for the 2018 J. Anthony Lukas Works-in-Progress Award from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Lightning Flowers was named one of O, The Oprah Magazine’s Best Books of Fall 2020, was featured in People Magazine and on NPR’s Fresh Air, and received a Kirkus starred review. Lightning Flowers is the November 2020 New York Times Book Review Group Text pick and was an Editor’s Choice/Staff Pick in the 11/29/20 edition of the New York Times Book Review.
What if a lifesaving medical device causes loss of life along its supply chain? That's the question Katherine E. Standefer finds herself asking one night after being suddenly shocked by her implanted cardiac defibrillator.
In this gripping, intimate memoir about health, illness, and the invisible reverberating effects of our medical system, Standefer recounts the astonishing true story of the rare diagnosis that upended her rugged life in the mountains of Wyoming and sent her tumbling into a fraught maze of cardiology units, dramatic surgeries, and slow, painful recoveries. As her life increasingly comes to revolve around the internal defibrillator freshly wired into her heart, she becomes consumed with questions about the supply chain that allows such an ostensibly miraculous device to exist. So she sets out to trace its materials back to their roots.
From the sterile labs of a medical device manufacturer in southern California to the tantalum and tin mines seized by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a nickel and cobalt mine carved out of endemic Madagascar jungle, Lightning Flowers takes us on a global reckoning with the social and environmental costs of a technology that promises to be lifesaving but is, in fact, much more complicated.
Deeply personal and sharply reported, Lightning Flowers takes a hard look at technological mythos, healthcare, and our cultural relationship to medical technology, raising important questions about our obligations to one another, and the cost of saving one life.
About Francisco Cantú
Francisco Cantú is a writer, translator, and the author of The Line Becomes a River, winner of the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona MFA program in Tucson, where he first met Katherine, with whom he proudly shared one of his earliest literary successes when they were published alongside one another in 2016’s Best American Essays collection. Cantú's writing has since appeared in in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and VQR, as well as on This American Life.