Breath is a story of risk, of learning one’s limits by challenging death. On the wild, lonely coast of Western Australia, two thrill-seeking teenage boys fall under the spell of a veteran big-wave surfer named Sando. Their mentor urges them into a regiment of danger and challenge, and the boys test themselves and each other on storm swells and over shark-haunted reefs. The boys give no thought to what they could lose, or to the demons that drive their mentor on into ever-greater danger. Venturing beyond all caution–in sports, relationships, and sex–each character approaches a point from which none of them will return undamaged.
Breath is the first Tim Winton novel I have read. I was really looking forward to reading it. After buying a few of his books second hand, I set the intention to read one of his novels this month.
The style of writing is very different and took me some time to adjust. The book centres around young Pikelet and Loonie, who are inspired by surfer, Sando. I found the plot slow, even within two hundred pages, as the majority of the novel describes the next big wave. I am not a surfer, so on one hand it was interesting to understand the passion behind the sport. On the other hand, I simply didn’t want to read this much about the sport.
As a coming-of-age novel, I felt like I was given a book that I had to read for an English class. I felt that Tim Winton’s themes within the novel are important and this book suggests that ultimately our teenage years can shape who we become and/or how we cope with situations as adults. When a minor has been wronged in such a way by an adult their lives are forever tainted.
The characters were introduced well, although I didn’t particular like them and found it hard to connect as a result.
The colloquial language and Australian slang throughout the novel was consistent, however I did not enjoy the style of writing, including the minimal use of punctuation.
Will I be reading another Tim Winton novel soon? I am not in a rush. I appreciate the story, themes and messages, but it wasn’t personally a plot that interested me greatly. This book may be enjoyed by anyone interested in surfing or who loves coming-of-age novels.