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Breath

by Tim Winton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6311027,999 (3.82)115
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.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
P ( )
  wScottR | Mar 15, 2021 |
Such musical language to describe surfing, youthful views of the world and life's struggles. ( )
  ElizabethCromb | May 8, 2020 |
By an Australian author, this book surprised me. In the first chapter I thought it was setting up to be a mystery of some sort. But, no. Immediately the story turns to the adolescence of the main character and how events and people from then affected him as an adult. It's about a loner who finds excitement and fear in surfing, idolizes the wrong people and ultimately how those circumstances affect him. Well written, engaging and written with a true voice, I enjoyed this book. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
Meandering story that doesn't go anywhere in particular. ( )
  Ron18 | Feb 17, 2019 |
Superb evocation of the surf culture in Australia in the 70's, wistful and nostalgic, as Bruce Pike looks back on his adolescence in rural Western Australia, where, nicknamed Pikelet, he and his best friend Loonie graduate from childish pranks in the water to cutting their teeth in the surf. They are befriended by the enigmatic Sando, a past champion on the world circuit, who has abandoned competitive surfing to live a hippy lifestyle with his embittered American wife Eva, recovering from a bad injury which destroyed her skiing career, and pursues even greater challenges in waves that have never been surfed. He pushes to boys to challenge themselves, which suits Loonie , but makes the cautious Pikelet even more hesitant. In the end, left behind while Sando and Loonie go chasing surf in Asia, he turns to the sulking Eva, but finds his relationship with her poses as many challenges as tackling big waves. In a rather lengthy epilogue, Pike looks back on his own choices and the choices of his friends. Winton's descriptions of the sea and the surf are superb, literally breath-taking, and his capture of adolescent male angst and uncertainty equally engrossing, but somewhere along the line the book just seems to lack some emotional substance. Sando's need to drag the boys along with him is never really explained, equally Eva's sour bitterness and her fairly ruthless sexual exploitation of young Pikelet seem much deeper than just her injury and her annoyance with Sando's carefree lifestyle would indicate, but she remains a cipher whose motivations are left largely unexplored. In the end its a fairly conventional coming of age story made special by wonderful surf scenes, coloured by my own nostalgia for growing up on the beach in 70's Australia. A good book, a great read but falls a touch short of Winton's earlier works like Cloudstreet and In the Winter Dark. ( )
  drmaf | May 10, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
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For Howard Willis
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We come sweeping up the tree-lined boulevard with siren and lights and when the GPS urges us to make the next left we take it so fast that all the gear slams and sways inside the vehicle.
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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.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241015308, 0143009583

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