Waiting for the Monsoon

Waiting for the Monsoon

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Publisher: Mariner Books
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In the tradition of When Breath Becomes Air, the New York Times's legendary war correspondent delivers his unforgettable final dispatch: a deeply moving meditation on life inspired by his sudden battle with terminal brain cancer.


Rod Nordland shadowed death for thirty years as one of his generation's preeminent war correspondents, including posts as bureau chief in Kabul and Baghdad. Then on July 5, 2019, he collapsed in the middle of a morning jog in Delhi's beautiful Lodhi Gardens. He was taken to the local hospital, where doctors diagnosed a brain tumor that turned out to be terminal cancer.

Confined to a hospital bed after so many vagabond years spent chasing the next conflict across the globe, Nordland discovered a curious side effect: he was gifted the chance to stop, reflect, and reconnect with those he loved but had been apart from for decades.

In the months that passed after his stint in the hospital, he no longer flinched at love and intimacy but exalted in its balm and power. He and his children made peace and enjoyed a closeness he had once thought impossible. He repaired a friendship broken twenty years earlier after decades as the best of friends. Gone was the old arrogance, the certitude that dominated his every action, the combination of which--overweening arrogance and self-confidence--likely helped make him a successful foreign correspondent but denied him the opportunity of becoming so much more.

Nordland writes, "Friends and family members and editors have often raised their eyebrows at my frequent assertions that my tumor was the best thing that ever happened to me, a gift that has enriched my life ever since."

Nordland's account of those first days in the hospital, published in the New York Times two months after his diagnosis, was widely shared and praised by readers for its honesty and beautiful writing. Now he expands on this piece, sharing the lessons he's learned over the last few years. Deeply moving and inspiring, Waiting for the Monsoon is a remarkable story about the human capacity to persevere even in the most difficult of times.