Breath opens with Bruce Pike, now a paramedic, arriving too late to save a teenage boy's life. Pike's partner wonders why the boy killed himself. Pike knows he didn't. He doesn't know the boy, but he knows the story. He still lives with the legacy of his own adolescence.
When Loonie and Pike started to surf, they cycled from Angelus to the beach with their Styrofoam boards, buffeted by the wind and, when they finally get to the sea, the waves. They couldn't help it: they were terrified; they were addicted.
Among the local surfers, one guy stood out. He turned up alone, when the swell was highest, and left the rest of them for dead. Gradually Loonie and Pike got to know this loner, Sando, who took them under his wing, showing them secret beaches and ever-bigger waves. He taught them about surfing, and about life. But the sea can teach the hard way, and so could Sando. In the endless search for the biggest wave, the biggest high, some riders don't make it. Half a lifetime later, Pike can't free himself from where the ride took him.
With Breath, Tim Winton's writing has attained a new level of mastery. This book confirms his standing alongside Ian McEwan and Philip Roth as one of the major chroniclers of the human condition, a writer of novels that are at the same time simple and profound, relentlessly gripping and deeply moving.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 05 / 2009
- 128 x 198mm
Reviewed by 55st (QBD Northland)
As someone who is not a huge fan of Tim Winton in the first place, I found this book to be VERY good.
The story is dark and relatable, albeit a little far-fetched in places.
Hero worship, sex, friendship and surfing form the meat of this story with turbulent family life and school pulling it all together to form a cohesive story and a story that will hold your interest until the very end.
Winton has a great skill for writing stories that show life at both its glorious highs and dark lows.
A very good read, recommended for those trying Winton for the first time.