A Second Wind
The True Story that Inspired the Motion Picture The Intouchables
As the descendent of two prominent, wealthy French families and Director of Pommery Champagnes, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was not in the habit of asking for help. Then, in 1993, right on the heels of his beloved wife's diagnosis of a terminal illness, a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic. He was 42 years old and unable to do anything - even feed himself - without help.
Hidden behind the high walls of his Paris townhouse, Philippe found himself the modern equivalent of an 'untouchable' -- his total paralysis rendered him unable to reach out to others, and seemed to make others afraid to touch or acknowledge him. For the first time, he learned what it felt like to be marginalised. The only person who wasn't bothered by Philippe's condition was someone who had been an outsider his entire life - Abdel, the unemployed Algerian immigrant from the outskirts of society who would become Philippe's unlikely caretaker. In between dramas and jokes, he sustained Philippe's life for the next ten years.
Added to Cart
A Second Wind
Read an Excerpt
THE FAULT LINE running through my bones, through my every breath, may be the day of the accident: on June 23, 1993, I became paralyzed. But then on May 3, 1996, St. Philip’s Day, Béatrice died. So now I have no past, I have no claim to the future, I am just this pain that I feel at every moment. Béatrice has been stripped back in the same way, reduced to this ever-present feeling of loss. And yet there is a future, that of our two children, Laetitia and Robert-Jean.
Until the accident, I was someone in the world, anxious to leave my mark on...see more
I WAS SOMEBODY ONCE. Now I’m paralyzed, I’ve lost almost all sensation in my body. But even so, somewhere among the excruciating pain, there are still delicious memories of the senses that have abandoned me.
Retrieving my shattered body’s experiences, inch by inch, memory by memory, is a form of survival. Working back from my current immobility, putting a chaotic mass of short-lived sensations into some sort of chronological order, helps me to reclaim my past and reconnect my two entirely separate lives.
Get our latest book recommendations, author news and sweepstakes right to your inbox