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.
©2008 Tim Winton; (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
This powerful new book by Australian author Tim Winton describes a lonely boy's painful coming of age. He is befriended, and ultimately damaged, by a couple fighting the loss of youth and their aging bodies. This is ultimately a book about survival through extremes, of pushing one's body and one's morals beyond what is "average" and experiencing both the exhilaration and self-disgust that comes from doing so. Listening to the book through the narrator's authentic Australian voice added a lot to the book. I wouldn't recommend this book to all my friends, but I would to those who like a story beautifully written with an edgy and difficult morality. I've never surfed, but Winton conveys the power and beauty of the sea and what it's like to try and conquer your own fears.
Great story. Wonderful writing. Great narration. I just loved this book. Tim Winton's writing is so evocative and well crafted that you can taste the salt and feel the danger. As much as I loved Cloud Street, I feel that this is a better book. As masterful book by a craftsman at the top of his game.
I liked it though didn't love it. It's not for everyone. Tim Winton does encapsulate the Aussie surfer culture very well, and I can relate to the lifestyle. It is quite a thoughtful coming of age story. The narrator Dan Whyle is fantastic. I am grateful I listened.
It made me regret going so long without surfing. The surfing prose and writing of the surfing experience is brilliant. The narrator gives the feeling that we are really listening to a first-hand account. I do hope that he narrates more books from that region of earth again.
I purchased this book because I had just finished Tim Winton's Cloudstreet which I absolutely adored. Maybe this is why I was a bit disappointed as I was looking for something like Cloudstreet but it was very different.
For those who love surfing and the thrill of riding waves this book captures that beautifully. I liked the story inbetween these scenes but not enough to enjoy this book as much as others.
I have had the pleasure of hearing Tim Winton reading his own work more than once but Dan Wyllie was equal to the task.
Author and narrator crafted a listen that held me fast all the way until I was rung out, breathless when the last wave broke.
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