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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 masterfully choreographed saga of friendship, envy, sacrifice and love - as soulful, layered, and intoxicating as the samba that reverberates from the page." (Georgia Hunter, New York Times best-selling author of We Were the Lucky Ones)
 

"A glittering, beautiful story full of romance and intrigue and tragedy...hard to put down." (Anton DiSclafani, New York Times best-selling author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls)

"The Air You Breathe is that kind of fairy tale where the curse is that your dreams come true, and keep coming true, and you have to survive it for the rest of your life. Two girls run after their dreams of samba, stardom, friendship, and art, and the result is this glittering, mesmerizing triumph of a novel." (Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night)

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

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outstanding tale of love and friendship

this book is beautiful, lyrical, hunting, and compelling. one of the real treats was having the lyrics at the beginning of each section and then allowing the story to unfold from those lyrics.

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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.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful