Cover image for Intimate death : how the dying teach us how to live
Intimate death : how the dying teach us how to live
Hennezel, Marie de, 1946-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Mort intime. English
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : A.A. Knopf, 1997.
Physical Description:
xv, 182 pages ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF789.D4 H42413 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



An extraordinary book and an immediate bestseller abroad, Intimate Death tells readers how to help those who are dying face the end squarely and with acceptance, bringing back both peace and dignity to death.

Author Notes

Marie de Hennezel was born in France in 1946. She started her career as a psychologist working with women in distress and with cases of advanced psychosis.  In 1987, she joined the staff of the first palliative care unit in a Paris hospital for people with terminal illnesses, where she gathered the experiences she describes in this book.  She founded the Bernard Dutant Association: AIDS and Re-Empowerment in 1990, in memory of a friend who died of AIDS, and gives lectures on approaching the end of life and seminars on accompanying the dying.  She lives in Paris with her husband and children.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Hennezel is a psychologist in a Paris hospital's palliative care unit for the terminally ill who also works with the dying at an AIDS hospice and in their homes. This book, a best-seller in France, is basically a journal of about a year of her professional life, which is no longer traditionally professional, for she has disposed of so-called professional distance. She perches on the edge of the bed when she first meets a new patient, and she freely holds and kisses her patients to assure them that they are not dying in solitude. She strives to learn what unfinished personal business they may have with family members, friends, or themselves and helps them conclude it. But if she gives much, she insists that she obtains even more: "true intimacy." Telling many stirring deathbed stories, Hennezel adds powerfully to the rising chorus (e.g., in part, M. Scott Peck's Denial of the Soul [BKL Ja 1 & 15 97]) in favor of palliative care of the dying. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this intensely personal, luminous report, a bestseller in France, Hennezel, a Parisian psychologist, discusses her work with patients in a palliative care unit at a hospital for the terminally ill, as well as her care of AIDS and HIV-positive patients at another hospital. She assists Danielle, stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, a paralysis-inducing neuromuscular disorder, who believes her illness is rooted in her childhood fear of abandonment, and who reconnects with her twin sister. Blending compassion with clinical insight, Hennezel conducts Jungian dream analysis with Louis, a close friend dying of AIDS, and with Dmitri, an elderly Russian émigré cancer victim who strongly believes in reincarnation. Sometimes her efforts to help patients overcome fear, to reconnect with their true feelings, to reconcile with loved ones, are inconclusive. Yet more often than not, her patients die with serenity and strength. Her conviction that acceptance of death makes us ever more aware of ourselves, of other people and of the world animates her beautifully controlled, inspirational narrative. 40,000 first printing. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

French psychologist de Hennezel shows the dying how to live every last minute to the fullest. A best seller abroad. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.