The Unwinding of the Miracle : A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After
by Julie Yip-Williams


Overview - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - As a young mother facing a terminal diagnosis, Julie Yip-Williams began to write her story, a story like no other. What began as the chronicle of an imminent and early death became something much more--a powerful exhortation to the living.

"An exquisitely moving portrait of the daily stuff of life."--The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

That Julie Yip-Williams survived infancy was a miracle. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, only to flee with her family the political upheaval of her country in the late 1970s. Loaded into a rickety boat with three hundred other refugees, Julie made it to Hong Kong and, ultimately, America, where a surgeon at UCLA gave her partial sight. She would go on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, and a life she had once assumed would be impossible. Then, at age thirty-seven, with two little girls at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began.

The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. When she was first diagnosed, Julie Yip-Williams sought clarity and guidance through the experience and, finding none, began to write her way through it--a chronicle that grew beyond her imagining. Motherhood, marriage, the immigrant experience, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, fortune-tellers, grief, reincarnation, jealousy, comfort, pain, the marvel of the body in full rebellion--this book is as sprawling and majestic as the life it records. It is inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering. It is a book of indelible moments, seared deep--an incomparable guide to living vividly by facing hard truths consciously.

With humor, bracing honesty, and the cleansing power of well-deployed anger, Julie Yip-Williams set the stage for her lasting legacy and one final miracle: the story of her life.

Praise for The Unwinding of the Miracle

"Everything worth understanding and holding on to is in this book. . . . A miracle indeed."--Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author

"A beautifully written, moving, and compassionate chronicle that deserves to be read and absorbed widely."--Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

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More About The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams
 
 
 
Overview
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - As a young mother facing a terminal diagnosis, Julie Yip-Williams began to write her story, a story like no other. What began as the chronicle of an imminent and early death became something much more--a powerful exhortation to the living.

"An exquisitely moving portrait of the daily stuff of life."--The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

That Julie Yip-Williams survived infancy was a miracle. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, only to flee with her family the political upheaval of her country in the late 1970s. Loaded into a rickety boat with three hundred other refugees, Julie made it to Hong Kong and, ultimately, America, where a surgeon at UCLA gave her partial sight. She would go on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, and a life she had once assumed would be impossible. Then, at age thirty-seven, with two little girls at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began.

The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. When she was first diagnosed, Julie Yip-Williams sought clarity and guidance through the experience and, finding none, began to write her way through it--a chronicle that grew beyond her imagining. Motherhood, marriage, the immigrant experience, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, fortune-tellers, grief, reincarnation, jealousy, comfort, pain, the marvel of the body in full rebellion--this book is as sprawling and majestic as the life it records. It is inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering. It is a book of indelible moments, seared deep--an incomparable guide to living vividly by facing hard truths consciously.

With humor, bracing honesty, and the cleansing power of well-deployed anger, Julie Yip-Williams set the stage for her lasting legacy and one final miracle: the story of her life.

Praise for The Unwinding of the Miracle

"Everything worth understanding and holding on to is in this book. . . . A miracle indeed."--Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author

"A beautifully written, moving, and compassionate chronicle that deserves to be read and absorbed widely."--Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780525511359
  • ISBN-10: 0525511350
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: February 2019
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Lawyers & Judges
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women

 
BookPage Reviews

The Unwinding Miracle

BookPage Top Pick in Nonfiction, January 2019

Julie Yip-Williams always sensed that she was living on borrowed time. After she was born blind with cataracts in 1976 in Vietnam, her grandmother ordered her parents to take her to an herbalist to procure poison that would end Yip-Williams’ life. Thankfully, the herbalist refused. Yip-Williams went on to live an extraordinary life until she died of colon cancer at age 42 on March 19, 2018. Her book, The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After, is equally exceptional.

After immigrating to America as a child, Yip-Williams underwent surgery that restored partial sight. She later graduated from Harvard Law School, traveled the world alone, married, had two daughters and worked at a prestigious New York City law firm, only to be diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in 2013. Her exquisite, honest memoir about living with and dying of cancer is equal parts practical and philosophical.

Yip-Williams writes unflinchingly of learning to move forward with the disease. “Life can and does go on after an appalling diagnosis, even an incurable one,” she writes. She never sugarcoats, however. She purposefully aims “to depict the dark side of cancer and debunk the overly sweet, pink-ribbon facade of positivity and fanciful hope and rah-rah-rah nonsense spewed by cancer patients and others, which I have come to absolutely loathe.” She plans her death carefully, just as she planned her life, teaching her children not to be afraid, that death is part of life. In the last chapter she writes, “I have lived even as I am dying, and therein lies a certain beauty and wonder.”

Full of love, humor, insight and tragedy, her book resonates with wisdom. As her husband so aptly notes, “For the little girl born blind, she saw more clearly than any of us.”

 

This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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