Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life
Date and Time:
Nov 19 2020 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka, IL 60093

Katherine E. Standefer

Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life

Community Event

Join us on Thursday, November 19th at 6;30 PM for an online event with debut writer Katherine E. Standefer, discussing her acclaimed new book Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life. The life in question is her own. What if a lifesaving medical device causes loss of life along its supply chain? That’s the question she finds herself asking one night after being suddenly shocked by her implanted cardiac defibrillator. Your purchase of Lightning Flowers from The Book Stall will help insure that we can continue to offer a dizzying range of free programing from a host of talented writers.

About the book: In this gripping, intimate memoir about health, illness, and the invisible reverberating effects of our medical system, Standefer recounts the true story of the rare diagnosis that upended her rugged life in the mountains of Wyoming and sent her tumbling into a 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.

“In her stunning debut, Katherine E. Standefer reveals how a single piece of supposedly lifesaving machinery has forever implicated her in ruinous global supply chains, how entire economies of extraction have come to reside deep within her body. With great clarity and resilience, Lightning Flowers invites us to become intimate with the moral and environmental calculus of our own lives.”– Francisco Cantú, author of The Line Becomes a River