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The Air You Breathe

A Novel
Narrated by: Rebecca Mozo
Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (163 ratings)
Regular price: $35.00
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Publisher's Summary

"Echoes of Elena Ferrante resound in this sumptuous saga." (O, The Oprah Magazine)

"Enveloping...Peebles understands the shifting currents of female friendship, and she writes so vividly about samba that you close the book certain its heroine's voices must exist beyond the page." (People)

The story of an intense female friendship fueled by affection, envy and pride - and each woman's fear that she would be nothing without the other.

Some friendships, like romance, have the feeling of fate.

Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music. One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and, for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes - and haunt their memories.

Traveling from Brazil's inland sugar plantations to the rowdy streets of Rio de Janeiro's famous Lapa neighborhood, from Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the irresistible drumbeat of home, The Air You Breathe unfurls a moving portrait of a lifelong friendship - its unparalleled rewards and lasting losses - and considers what we owe to the relationships that shape our lives.

©2018 Frances de Pontes Peebles (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"[A] glorious, glittery saga of friendship and loss.... Along the way [the two main characters] acquire...total interconnectedness, the likes of which I last found in Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend.... I read The Air You Breathe in two nights. (One might say I inhaled it.).... The Air You Breathe is genuinely exciting to watch." (NPR) 

"Gorgeous.... Peebles captures the complexity of these two women forever linked by their early bonds, and she vivifies their colorful times and the nuances in their relationship as it evolves over the decades." (The National Book Review)

“Peebles presents a captivating...portrait of friendship...[the book’s] reflections on love, music, envy, and loyalty ache with feeling, and a hint of mystery surrounding the central relationship’s dissolution will keep readers intrigued until the end.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Review of The Air You Breathe

A very engrossing story. It takes you to another time, country and way of life. It’s a story full of everything. Narrator’s voice is rich and engaging.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lyrical

Stunning masterpiece! How can words do justice to complex, soul-stirring music, & depth of characters capture your heart? This book is a miracle of that genius.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderfully written and narrated!

As I listened to this wonderful book I was transformed to another century in another culture. The story was interesting, uncomfortable, happy and tragic. What more could a reader want? I did want one more thing—to hear the songs sung instead of the words spoken. That would have been the icing on a memorable cake. Brava Ms. de Pontes Peebles and Ms. Mozo!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Speed up narration and enjoy much more

The reader over-emphasizes every line so that each note is high drama. She improves markedly about half way through. But I also discovered that putting the narration on 1.5 speed worked to decrease the melodrama somehow. Kind of amazing actually. Once the speed went up, the dramatic pauses quit wrecking a wonderfully complex story of love and art.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful

I read the book when it first came out and I loved it enough that I decided to listen to the Audiobook while at work. Peebles is an amazing writer and immerses you in the story and time. Rebecca Mozo does an excellent job reading the story and sets the pace and passion of the story well.

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Poetic, Historical & Flavor

This was a great novel. The narrator was perfect for this book as she had the flavor to match the flavor of the Samba that echoed throughout the story. A+++

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Beautiful

This book was an absolute delight to listen to. Rebecca Mozo did a wonderful job at bringing The Air You Breathe to life.

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    4 out of 5 stars

It's all about the music - Vinisius

The Air You Breathe is poetry, much more than words, and its poetry is like sweet music. 4.5 stars for the unforgettable Blue Moon Boys, Vinisius, Madam Lucifur, Graca and, mostly, Dores. When Frances de Pontes Peebles writes about music, it is as if she is describing a living thing because it is! I never wanted it to end but every roda has to come to an end eventually. The narration by Rebecca Mores (going from memory here) makes the book come to life but I love the hard copy just as much. A must-read for 2018.

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So rich and full. Characters came to life!

So rich and full. Characters came to life. So descriptive. I befriended them! Loved it!

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Great story, too drawn out

Great story, wonderful characters. The lyrics were meaningful. Unfortunately. The story was too drawn out making the end almost painful.