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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The Unwinding of the Miracle is an unblinkingly honest, often heartbreaking testimony of an extraordinary life cut short. Julie Yip-Williams, a blind Vietnamese refugee, survived a difficult childhood in Hong Kong before coming to America and finding a spiritually fulfilling life. At 37, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, so she started recording what she appreciated about her life, from marriage and motherhood to solo travel and learning to play tennis after her eyesight was partially restored. Actress Emily Woo Zeller reads Yip-Williams’ memoir—written in her final months of life—with a poignancy that never descends into mawkishness.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Moving, inspiring story and insights
Julie Yip-Williams tells the story of her life both before and after cancer diagnosis with complete honesty and transparency. Her life story is intriguing and inspiring. And she so intelligently makes the case for living life to the fullest. The epilogue by her husband Josh is also very moving.
It’s difficult to give less than 5 stars on a personal story about a battle with cancer but I finished it only out of respect for the authors struggle.