Read Respiro by Tim Winton Luca Briasco Online


In un paese di meravigliosa bellezza naturale vivono due ragazzi con gli occhi spalancati e le menti inquiete. Pikelet e il suo amico Loonie passano assieme le giornate, vanno a scuola e si sfidano nel fiume fangoso aggrappati alle radici sul fondo, trattenendo il respiro sott’acqua il piú a lungo possibile, finché la loro testa non è piena di stelle. Un giorno un uomo entIn un paese di meravigliosa bellezza naturale vivono due ragazzi con gli occhi spalancati e le menti inquiete. Pikelet e il suo amico Loonie passano assieme le giornate, vanno a scuola e si sfidano nel fiume fangoso aggrappati alle radici sul fondo, trattenendo il respiro sott’acqua il piú a lungo possibile, finché la loro testa non è piena di stelle. Un giorno un uomo entra nelle loro vite: ha trentasei anni ed è un ex campione di surf, una di quelle leggende che hanno attraversato il mondo e cavalcato onde in ogni baia, di fronte a promontori impossibili, in qualunque condizione climatica. Sando non ha mai smesso di inseguire e attendere sulla tavola l’onda piú alta, spingendosi lontano in luoghi pericolosi, nelle situazioni piú estreme. Tutto per quell’attimo di sospensione infinita in cui l’uomo e la natura, il volo e la forza di gravità, la vita e la morte si annullano e si esaltano al tempo stesso nella potenza sconvolgente del mare. Sando è andato a vivere in Australia con Eva, sua moglie, in una casa nei pressi dell’oceano, e qui si recano Pikelet e Loonie nell’avvincente scoperta di un nuovo mondo, affascinati dalla sfida che il mare pone al loro coraggio, al carattere, al loro stesso violento desiderio di essere giovani e di sbocciare come uomini. E Sando è un atleta brillante e un sottile manipolatore: prima favorisce un ragazzo, poi l’altro, infiammando la loro rivalità e provocando la passione per la sfida e la competizione. Come ripete Eva, a Sando piace sentirsi un guru, e la donna entrerà presto in questo triangolo di soli uomini come una presenza dal fascino irresistibile e vagamente minaccioso, anche lei segnata dalla passione per lo sport come limite assoluto....

Title : Respiro
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788854503113
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 214 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Respiro Reviews

  • Suzanne
    2019-04-05 09:49

    I have to be honest in full disclosure to state outright that my vein celebrity interest in a certain Aussie actor happened me upon this book. And I’m so glad I did. It looks like I have a lot of great reading ahead of me, as this is my first Tim Winton novel. I think I need to hang my head low on admitting this one!I listened to the audio version, narrated by a very capable and very smooth voiced Australian actor Dan Wyllie. This smoothness was the perfect pairing to the book. This particular book was a very raw and personal story of surfing culture and the resulting journey and suffering of a pair of young boys as they meet their mentor. How they are enamoured by this man that is almost God like in their young and impressionable eyes. Who is this wife that is dark and brooding, what is her story? What begins with an awe of the ocean, turns into a lifelong need for searching, searching for what is so far out of reach, but so desired, and consequences aren’t a consideration for anyone. Effects of this have lifelong ramifications as the boys push the limits on searching for that elusive wave. That elusive high.Bruce Pike ‘Pikelet’ – I loved this nick name - is our main man and we see him pushing the boundaries of his body and soul in the ocean, and a sexual happening that pushes all boundaries and leads to quite a dark but real theme. This title is just perfect, and Tim Winton had me holding mine many times. I am unable to mention so many quotes I loved here, I didn’t write them down as I listened, I wanted to but it didn’t serve any purpose in interrupting the narrative. This book is so rich and lyrical that listening to it was a perfect fit for me, the top notch narration added the next level for me and I truly do recommend this as the way to ride this one out. This book is not for everyone, there are themes to be avoided here but I was ok with it. Not everyone will be, and I’m bursting at the seams to see what they will do in the screen adaption with this dicey storyline.I’ll now keenly await to see what Simon Baker does with his production and acting. He surfs, he’s lived in the western suburbs of Sydney and on the far north coast of NSW. He’s got a rawness that I think will serve this venture very, very well.

  • Debra
    2019-04-01 06:01

    3.5 starsSet in Western Australia, Breath is about a man, Bruce who is a paramedic who is looking back on his life - specifically when he was a teenager and he and his friend, Loonie used to dare each other to do dangerous things. First their stunts take place in a river near where they live then they take to surfing. There they meet and older surfer, named Sandor who also likes taking risks. Sandor grudgingly at first takes them under his wing and soon the boys and Sandor are a trio hitting the waves. They like to push themselves, to test their limits, to take dangerous chances, to engage in unsafe behavior. Throw in Sandor's wife, Eva who has her own issues and doesn't like being left alone while her husband is out surfing.I wont say much more so as to not give away too much but can I say, I thought this book was just about boys learning to surf and pushing themselves past their limits - but it's about so much more than that. It's a coming of age tale but also it is about the choices we make and how those choices follow us throughout our lives. This book is also about taking risks, the endorphin rush of doing extreme things, making discoveries, relationships, friendship, choices, dangerous behavior and growing up.The title is quite clever as the book touches on breathing in many ways: the boys trying to hold their breath under water for 2 minutes until they see stars, Bruce's father's snoring where Bruce observes his father doesn't breath between snores, auto-erotic asphyxiation, having the air knocked out of you by a wave, etc.With the Australia vernacular and description of the waves and Ocean this is a very atmospheric book. The book is also beautifully written with vivid description of surfing and the Ocean. I can almost smell the sea air!See more of my reviews at

  • Sharon
    2019-03-21 12:09

    Paramedic, Bruce Pike (Pikelet) and his partner have been called out to an emergency involving a teenager. Whilst attending to the teenager, Bruce now aged in his fifties thinks back to his own teenage years.Pikelet grew up in the 1970's in a mill town in Western Australia it is here that he becomes friends with Ivan Loon (Loonie).The pair spend their days surfing which is when they meet, Sando (Bill Sanderson) and his wife Eva. Sando takes them under his wing and teaches them more extreme surfing where they begin to live life on the edge that involves taking many risks.An enjoyable read about growing up, taking risks and everyday discoveries and much more. This is the first novel I've read by Tim Winton and it definitely won't be my last. I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

  • D. Pow
    2019-04-21 11:59

    Breath continues Tim Winton’s string of strong novels and story collections. While it isn’t quite as good as The Riders or Dirt Music or the incomparable Cloudstreet, it is a worthwhile read, full of dark impulses and sudden flashes of grace and light. Like Riders and Music, Breath deals with a middle-aged protagonist whose life has turned to ashes and bone shards, unlike those two novels the primary concern is this man’s coming of age told in retrospective.The bulk of the novel concerns Bruce(Pikelet), the narrator, and his not quite all there buddy, Loonie and their boundary transgressing apprenticeship to a guru surfer legend, Sando. The novel, like so many others of Winton’s, is set in Western Australia amidst the beaches and fishing communities there. Winton like few other living novelists captures with precision and particulars, the beauty and raw danger of the surf life(Kem Nunn is the only one who comes close) and the capacity for a young person of a certain type to be utterly transported, transformed and defined by acts of ‘useless beauty’. Winton also has an eye for the seedy, subsistence living of the fishermen and other poor folk in the small seaside villages, for the ragged poetry of their messy, paltry lives. There is a deep compassion at work here for these ‘lives of quiet desperation’ that adds depth and an undergirding of wisdom to the macho posturing the suffuses the rituals of surfing. He is a master of descriptive writing and his gruff dialogue never strikes a false note.Loonie, Sando and Pikelet enter into a dark, complicated relationship, each boy vying for Sando’s attention, each one receiving pride of place before being shunted aside. Winton gets how much approval can mean to a boy coming from an older male of some prowess and how this can be manipulated into something warped and wrong. Eventually Loonie becomes firmly ensconced as Sando’s disciple and Pikelet is forced to enact his own private rituals of manhood, which he does to varying degrees of success. He hooks up in an incredibly dark and lurid way with Sando’s American wife(here is a hint-it ties in with the title) and eventually breaks free to become his own troubled but self-sufficient man. Where Breath most resembles Winton’s recent novels is in the present time sections that allows us to see Bruce fully grown, that show both his brokenness and his capacity for healing(and being a healer). Bruce has taken his addiction to adrenaline and made a vocation of it-he’s become a competent and effective paramedic. His life is littered with broken relationships but also small instances of grace and joy. He recounts what has happened to other characters in the book in a sad, sweet coda that is empty of rancor and hate despite the multiple abuses he suffered. And that is truly Winton’s greatest gift as a novelist-recognizing that the only adults worth a holy fuck in this mad world are the ones that have had their heart broken once or twice and still move through this world with style and ‘useless beauty’ even when they’ve got more duct tape left than organ in their aching chest.

  • Shirley Marr
    2019-04-01 09:57

    Despite hailing from Western Australia myself, I have never read any of Living State Treasure Tim Winton’s work. Shocking I know. So I thought it about time… although I’m not including the dabble I had in primary school with The Bugalugs Bum Thief, which I don’t think counts... So Breath it is. I am sure that many people will tell me this is perhaps not the best point to start, that maybe I should read the popular ones Cloudstreet or Dirt Music first, but as far as I’m concerned, this book along with the other two have all won the Miles Franklin Award so it should fully stand on it’s feet. Plus I had to haul myself past two pages of critical accolades in front of the novel before I reached the first page. Maybe awards and things are politically matters… but let’s not get into that.Breath is about Bruce “Pikelet” Pike, whom when we first meet him is an old, cynical and somewhat damaged Medic who is attending the apparent suicide of a teen. Trawling through the reviews on Goodreads, it appears that a lot of people are shocked by what happens in the last quarter of this book. It makes me question this because within the fist few pages, the narrator actually STATES while looking at the boy with the strangulation marks around his neck that he knew what had happened cos that WAS NEARLY HIM. So as a reader we should expect something pretty dark to be waiting at the end of the beautiful, calm surf that we are first presented with.There is some truth to the rave reviews, I can see a master at work. Although I don't mean this entirely as a compliment. Tim Winton's introduction to the reader goes basically like this: “oh, here we are at the present day, attending a medical emergency”… “let me just move you over here and start telling you the story of my surfing boyhood”. The transition is so smooth and trustworthy, that I accepted that we were going to recede into the past and I happily read and found myself quite absorbed in Pikelet’s childhood. And at one point deep into the pages, I knew that we weren’t going to resurface to the present day, that the introduction was merely a tool to transition to the real story… but I didn’t care.Tim Winton is so surprising readable. When I think literary Booker winning writers, I hardly think of an “easy read”. But Tim Winton makes it seem easy. I am willing to accept that he is a master-storyteller, but something nags me about this novel. Rather than being “magical”, I felt that the launch of the story (as above) relied more on sleight of hand and that I was somewhat being tricked into reading further into a story. I wanted to know about the death of the young boy at the beginning, but we never went back, just deeper and deeper into Pikelet’s story about how he got involved into a dangerous well, trapezoid, involving his dangerous friend Loonie, dangerous aging-surfer Sando and Sando’s dangerous wife Eva. Don’t get me wrong. The prose is immaculate and beautiful. The characters so completely real and rounded. I found myself reading it with a lot of anticipation and I couldn’t stop myself. Even when I reached the part which turns most people off, I thought it was darkly and grossly beautiful. Everything seems natural, yet I know it must be so calculated ‘cos the adherence of the theme and the story and the plot is immaculate. It has prize-winning Surfing-and-Survival-as-Analogy-for-Life stamped all over it and those parts I love love love.Yet I can’t give it a four. It is gorgeous, but it isn’t brilliant. It is an astute examination, but at no point does it completely win me over and make me think about life in a different way or why I should be thankful that I am alive. It’s too insular, the story too localised to the key players and not broader-reaching. With a theme like “Breath” I wanna be stepping outside of my door the day after having read it and count every breath I take, obsess over the theme in the book and go WOW… I’m well, breathless. But I didn’t. It’s an incredibly strong story, incredibly written, but to me it doesn’t have that philosophical X-factor for me, sorry.Maybe I am grading this book harder than I would grade any other book, but c’mon, it’s Tim Frickin Winton! He’s the best thing to come out of WA next to…Corica Pastries’ Apple Strudel.Would I recommend this book to anyone? Probably not. Would I read more of his work? Hell yes! I am impressed. I am going to hunt down his other books and then be really pleased with myself.Tim Winton, you really are ace. Sorry I couldn’t give you a four, but can we hang out some time and you can show Green Grasshopper here how to do this thing you call writing? Thank you.PS – I give Corica Pastries’ Apple Strudel a 5 out of 5. If anyone reading this comes to Perth to visit, you must eat this.

  • 1morechapter
    2019-03-28 09:52

    Ugh. I thought this was about a teen boy surfing in Australia. I wanted it to be about a teen boy surfing in Australia. And it was, for about 150 pages, then it goes off into a weird and extreme area that I will not mention here. I feel ripped off because I enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book, but then to have to be subjected to…blech.Pikelet and Loonie are two teenage boys obsessed with surfing. They meet up with Sando, a guy in his mid 30’s who coaches them in the sport and sometimes encourages them to go a little too far with it. Sando’s wife, Eva, was an extreme skier but now has a blown knee. Consequently, she’s bitter because her husband still gets to do what he loves and because he’s not spending any time with her. Breath is about pushing everything in life to the extreme to see how far one can go.I’m giving it 2 stars because Tim Winton is a good writer and I enjoyed all but the last fourth (which totally ruined the whole thing for me.) Here’s an example of a passage I did enjoy: I will always remember my first wave that morning. The smells of paraffin wax and brine and peppy scrub. The way the swell rose beneath me like a body drawing in air. How the wave drew me forward and I sprang to my feet, skating with the wind of momentum in my ears. I leant across the wall of upstanding water and the board came with me as though it was part of my body and mind. The blur of spray. The billion shards of light. I remember the solitary watching figure on the beach and the flash of Loonie’s smile as I flew by; I was intoxicated. And though I’ve lived to be an old man with my own share of happiness for all the mess I made, I still judge every joyous moment, every victory and revelation against those few seconds of living.

  • Kim
    2019-03-26 04:17

    Tim Winton has beguiled me into loving a novel which deals with two subjects that don't interest me at all: teenage male angst and surfing as an extreme sport. The subject matter is why I didn't read the novel when it was first published and it probably would have remained forever unread had I not embarked on a Tim Winton kick after reading The Turning: Stories and his latest novel Eyrie. I listened to the audiobook edition, which was very capably narrated by Australian actor Dan Wyllie. While teenage male angst, surfing and other dangerous activities feature prominently in the novel, there's more to it than that. Winton deals with risk taking, with the desire to be extraordinary, with the fragility of the human body and mind and the urge to survive, even when the odds are against you. The breath symbolises Winton's themes in a number of ways throughout the work: holding it, playing with it, losing it, regaining it, working with it to create music, giving it to save lives. Winton's language is, as always, a perfect blend of Australian vernacular and poetry, with vivid descriptions of the natural environment, believable dialogue and characters who, while not necessarily likeable, are understandable and for whom it is impossible not to feel compassion. This is a short, beautifully crafted, powerful work.

  • ★ Jess
    2019-04-11 03:58

    I am lost for words. I have absolutely no idea what to think right now. Was the plot intriguing or painfully realistic? Was the writing lyrical or stupid? Was the ending disgusting or heartbreaking? I think that I will 'like it'. It was, after all, the most unique book Ive read in ages, probably ever. It is certainly not what I expected, though still enjoyable. The four lead characters are amazing, proving to easily be the strength of this book. Each is unique. Each is exciting and un-predictable. They are all well devloped, have detailed backstory, and heavily flawed personalities, showing that no matter our thoughts or how we know someone, nobody is really perfect. Even though I didnt particularly like any of them, and am glad I dont know them in person, I had a great time reading about Bruce and Loonie and Sando and particularly Eva. This book, thinking about it, has me breathless. (Awful pun, not intended).In answer to the questions asked at the beginning of this review, the plot was intriguing, writing was lyrical and the ending (last fifty-ish pages) was heartbreaking. Here is my favorite passage, which needs to be read by all: "More than once since then I've wondered weather the life threatening high jinks that Loonie and I and Sando and Eva got up to in the years of my adolescence were anything more than a rebellion against the monotony of drawing breath."

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-26 07:05

    I really, really loved this novel of two Australian teenage boys and their obsession with a has-been 70's surfing guru and his angry, bitter young wife. The surfing descriptions made my heart pound, and the narrative builds and breaks just like a wave, from a slow, thoughtful beginning to a tension filled climax that crashes down into a boiling, foaming conclusion. I loved what Winton had to say about the nature of obsession, of what it means to be a man, and the fragility of relationships based on mutual addiction. Winton also beautifully captures the meaning of "breath" both literally and conceptually, and how for some, the living of an "ordinary" life can feel like drowning. But he also illustrates through his conflicted characters how endlessly seeking the extraordinary can leave you gasping as well. I haven't read this amazing Aussie's other works, but you better believe I'll be browsing his backlist!

  • Sam
    2019-03-24 05:56

    I've just finished this book in one sitting ... I woke up and in an attempt to get back to sleep I picked this up ... I'll be paying for that decision today - but not regretting it for a second ...Put aside for minute that I'm probably biased - Tim Winton is a Perth boy and he's set this story in a place that feels familiar and that is well loved by this chick ... but I'm lying here in bed in the city & I can smell the beach ... my shoulders are tingling with sunburn from an age ago and my eyes and throat are actually stinging from the salt of a wave that dumped and thumped me in the distant past ... Tim has succeeded in transporting me back in time to my childhood as efficiently as the Tardis ...And what an insightful little glimpse into a stinkie boy's head this is for a girl ... for that alone I love this bookThe story - gosh ... it has that same feel as some of the classics that are real, relatable tales of journey and discovery ... the metaphor between the action of the story and the themes being explored is cleverLastly - the writing is simple and straightforward but beautiful in it's honesty ... a style I really enjoyack - 25 minutes until the alarm goes off

  • Philippe
    2019-04-15 08:52

    At the heart of this brilliant coming of age story sits the destructive conflict between pure exaltation and asphyxiating defilement. The young mind should not, cannot deal with these two extremes when they are tied to the same time, place, practice and personalities. The result can only be an utter wreckage. Winton’s prose evokes this tension between light and darkness to chilling effect. A wonderful, very disturbing novel.

  • Philip
    2019-04-10 12:17

    Breath by Tim Winton is a deceptively complex novel wrapped in an apparently simple tale. On one level it might be a story about surfing. It isn’t. On another level, it’s a straightforward coming-of-age novel, where an adolescent lad is introduced to the tingling realities of maturity. But it is more than this. Breath might also be about small town lives, the limits of friendship, or our ability to seek gratification by selfishly exploiting circumstance. Equally, it might be about the relentless restlessness of ambition and the illusion of achievement, the elation of success alongside the disillusioning devastation of failure. Breath’s complexity, expressed through its utter simplicity of setting and construction, is immense, for it is all of these things and more besides. Breath is also vivid, brilliant, even glittering in its conjuring of pictures that communicate the landscape, or seascape, of its setting. Breath’s central character, Bruce Pike, is now in his middle age and works as a paramedic. But as an adolescent, he lived through a coming-of-age amidst the thrills, dangers and challenges of surf. He rode the waves of his youth and survived to tell the tale. And thus the novel opens with the mature Pike attending the scene of a suicide. A kid has hanged himself, taken his last breath, and denied himself all others. It’s a mess. But the experience prompts Bruce to recall his own youth and begin a detailed recollection of just a few years in his early teens.It is only late in the story that we realise how these events at the outset triggered Bruce Pike’s memories. It is only then that we realise that Bruce’s exploits in his youth, like those of his associates, are an extended metaphor relating to a constant need to push life to its limits, perhaps in order to feel more alive by flirting with death.The young Bruce Pike is nicknamed Pikelet. He doesn’t seem to be particularly strong or macho. He lives in a small place in Australia close to the sea. He becomes friendly with Ivan Loon, aptly known as Loonie, and together they develop an interest in surfing, an interest that becomes an obsession. The waves always need to e bigger, the challenge more threatening, the risk closer to the impossible. Why would we bother if it were otherwise?Loonie and Pikelet become ever more ambitious. They deliberately court danger in the form of breakers, reefs and sharks. There’s even a looming possibility of confrontation with lads from the next town. They meet Sando and Eva, an Australian bloke and an American woman with a limp. The three males soon bond and take to the water together. The apparently surly Eva stays at home. The lads meanwhile surf wherever and whenever they can. Bruce’s descriptions of their experience are electrifying, exciting and truly beautiful. The language is poetic, evocative of the exhilaration of surf.But life moves on. Just as waves break unpredictably, life can split apart and thus surprise. Pikelet’s apparently indestructible friendship with Loonie withers and breaks. There is betrayal and exclusion in the air. Eva, tired of being left alone, but probably unwilling to admit it, seeks her own gratification in a way that changes the young man’s life. But she is a wounded woman and, like the surfers, needs to feel the rush of risk. In some ways her life is too safe. An inheritance takes care of the finances, an injury determines her movement and thus denies her the adrenalin rush of danger she craves. So she invents an alternative route to risk, something that gives her the sharpness of breath that only true excitement, uncontrollable excitement, can generate. And Pikelet thus becomes part of Eva’s version of surfing a crest. He is a participant, part of the plot, a plot that then turns on itself as the metaphor of breath re-emerges. The submerged surfer learns to hold his breath, but Eva needs no sea to surf.The precise, detailed memories of adolescence then suddenly fade into decades lived apparently in summary. But as events merely flash past, the preceding extended memories remind us that perhaps each one of the subsequent, apparently dismissed events probably involved surfing as close to the edge as happened in adolescence. Perhaps we get used to the ride, and its risks, and that’s what gives us time to catch our breath, as life’s breakers cast us aside.

  • Roxann
    2019-04-01 09:53

    It makes me so sad to give this book only two stars. Winton is one of my favorite Australian writers. The first 3/4 of this book is brilliant - two young teenage boys learning to surf in Western Australia in the early 70's, pushing their limits in increasingly extreme ways in a time before extreme sports was part of the vernacular. The writing is so brilliant, so evocative and descriptive, that I wish I had tried to learn to surf. It's almost better than being there - I can see the waves, feel the pull of the surf, I'm dazzled by the shards of light as the wave crashes and breaks into pieces. The boys, nicknamed Pikelet and Loonie, are always in the water - the river, the swimming hole, the ocean - and much of their bravado has to do with holding their breath. They time one another in attempts to break the 2-minute mark, hold their breath underwater until stars pop in their head and the bank reels when they finally surface. Pikelet and Loonie eventually hook up with an older mysterious man who mentors them and encourages their daring in the surf, often in ways that are dangerous and foolhardy. Breathing becomes the metaphor for the book that eventually devolves into a story of has-been sport stars trying to recapture past thrills through pushing young devotees into rash and treacherous situations. Most disturbingly, the last part of the novel is sexually explicit and deviant. The challenge for the young protagonists is just to survive. Four stars for the first 3/4 of the novel that could have been a great teen read (or any age) with plenty of excitement, thought-provoking situations, and great writing. Zero stars for the last 1/4 that I wish I hadn't read and can't recommend to anyone.

  • Deborah Ideiosepius
    2019-03-25 07:09

    Brilliant! I loved every page of this book.We start with Bruce Pike, an older paramedic in WA, called out to a teenage adventure gone wrong. The scene brings back memories of his teenage years and we scroll back through his memories to his childhood and adolescence not far from the WA coast, in a small rural town.The scenario is simple but the storytelling is mesmerising and the writing is superb. I was totally immersed in this book even before we hit the coast and we travel along with Bruce as him and his mate become surfers under the tutelage of a local surfing legend.As always, it is Tim Winton's amazing ability to describe nature that enchants me, I love reading about the ocean, it's mood and the emotions it provokes in people. Winton's strength is his ability to describe nature, so (apparently) effortlessly that you can smell the salt air and feel the crunch of sand under you feet as you read and I loved every page of this one.Good ending too.

  • Carolyn
    2019-04-02 04:51

    Tim Winton’s ‘Breath’ is like a long wave slowly building up, then breaking and crashing down to cause chaos in it's wake. It is the story of two adolescent surfers who are taken in tow by a veteran surfer and gradually introduced to extreme surfing and the way in which this eventually damages and shapes their future lives.Pikelet (Bruce Pike) and Loonie (Ivan Loon) are both lonely misfits in a small timber town near the coast who befriend each other one summer swimming at the river and dare each other to more and more extreme exploits. When they ride to the coast on their bikes and see the local lads surfing they know they have to give it a try. Before long they draw the attention of Sando (Bill Sanderson) a veteran surfer who takes them under his wing and encourages them to try more and more extreme surf. It’s the 70s and Sando and his American wife Eva are living a hippy lifestyle in a house set in the bush where Eva is also trying to overcome her own demons.This story is many things. It is a coming of age story for Pikelet and Loonie as they move through adolescence. It is also about the attraction of extreme sport, the addiction to the endorphin and adrenalin rush that is hard to satisfy away from the sport and it is about the dangers of idolizing those who seem adventurous and attractive to us. It also touches on how deviant sexual practices can warp a teenage boy’s sexual awakening affecting his later life and relationships. Although I grew up in WA and had several surfie friends, I have never been keen to try surfing but found myself enjoying Tim Winton’s descriptions of how to forecast when the surf would be good, how to pick the best position for catching a wave and the exhilaration to be had riding the wave.

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-04 06:15

    Breath is set in 1970s Western Australia. Pikelet and Loonie, two adolescent boys, are at first brought closer together by their love of surfing and free diving. Ultimately, it drives them apart as they compete for the approval of Sando, a daredevil veteran surfer who basks in their admiration and delights in challenging them with ever greater dangers. This is not so much a coming-of-age tale as it is a coming awake tale. Pikelet gradually comes to see the bitter reality of the people he idolizes, while also being required to accept the reality of who and what he is himself. But it's not all sadness and disappointment. Ever present is the beauty of the ocean and the release it offers. Winton's writing wakes you up to the rhythm of the water in its various moods, and the thrill of possibility that drives a surfer to tackle the next wave. If you have little or no interest in surfing, this is the best damn book you'll ever read about surfing. If you have a lot of interest in surfing, this is probably still the best damn book you'll ever read about surfing. Tim Winton's skill as a novelist has improved vastly since he wrote The Riders.

  • Shawn Mooney
    2019-04-12 10:18

    This was my first by Winton, and did I ever love the writing! In sentences that spark and burst, he tells the story of two Australian teen boys' enmeshment with an older hippie couple. I'd have thought the surfing scenes would bore me to tears: in fact, they were exquisite. The sharp turn near the end of the story was jarring, and a little disappointing. But still a rich, rewarding 4-star read. I am eager to read a lot more by him.

  • Suzie
    2019-04-11 10:14

    *Full disclosure: I am NOT a TW fan, and only read this because it is this month's choice for my book club* Didn't much like this book but I didn't dislike it enough to chuck it after my self-imposed "50 pages or it's gone" rule, hence the 2 stars. Some of the surfing description I found a bit boring and repetitive, and I really hated the "twist" which seemed to be shoved in there along with a few later comments in order to link back to the story's beginning. This book is not for me, but I managed to finish. Am still confounded as to why TW is so popular - clearly I just don't get it

  • Jaimal
    2019-04-02 11:08

    Breath is a masterfully written tale of what it means to live in extremes; and since most of us, in our own ways, do, it’s a tale about what it means to be alive.I’m ashamed to say that I only heard of Tim Winton when a blogger recently wrote that Saltwater Buddha: a surfer's quest to find Zen on the sea reminded him of Winton’s surf literature. I am now very honored to be mentioned in his company. A novelist with a voice no one could copy, Winton’s ability to be colloquial while employing phrases and vocabulary that make literary geeks froth is both entertaining and incredible. It took me 30 pages to get into Breath’s subtle flow, the off-handed remarks, the Australian slang. But the narrative picks up speed as it goes and once in I scarcely wanted to put the book down. I especially enjoyed the first half when the main character and his fearless best friend Loonie are bathing in the sheer magic of water and, as they get older, the pastime that will obsess them the rest of their lives: surfing. Winton deftly captures what it is to be a wide-eyed little grommet enamored with the water life: with pushing the limits of breath retention, with unbelievable fact that humans can ride pulses of saltwater, with learning the endless complexities of how weather affects the sea. As their mentor Sando, an extraordinary older surfer who seems most motivated by his fear of the ordinary, pushes the two teens to confront their fears in sharky and death-defying surf, you feel the magic of childhood innocence slipping sadly away. But with each wave conquered you do feel something new and mysterious gurgling to the surface, something not unlike like air bubbles that might burst prematurely at any moment. The fear that they will bust into oblivion is what keeps you hanging on Winton’s every word – even through the novel’s tougher parts.

  • Richard
    2019-04-01 05:15

    Took me a while to get into this but it was worth persevering with. The first half has way too much only about surfing for my taste. The second half was more easy to relate to and much better.

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-03-23 10:12

    Tim Winton has long been one of my favorite authors, and he hasn't let me down yet. His novel Breath won the 2009 Miles Franklin award, beating out its competition: Wanting by Richard Flanagan, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (both of which I've read) Ice by Louis Nowra (which I own but haven't yet read), and The Pages by Murray Bail. In Breath he explores a number of topics, none the least of which is the choice between whether it is better to live an "ordinary" life or to walk on the wild side and live on the edge of danger, both of which may have repercussions. As the novel opens, a paramedic and his partner are called out to a house only to find that a teenager has hanged himself. The partner thinks it's suicide, but the paramedic knows from things left behind in the boy's room that this is much more than meets the eye. There's the smell of pot hanging in the air; the faded bruises on the boy's neck are a background to fresh ligature marks. The paramedic has seen all of this before, earlier in his own life. Thus begins Bruce Pike's narrative of his teen years in Sawyer, a small mill town in Western Australia, a place where "people seemed settled -- rusted on, in fact. They liked to be ordinary. They were uncomfortable with ambition and avoided any kind of unpredictability or risk". Nicknamed Pikelet, he was the only child of two "ordinary" parents with "codgers' interests," emigrants from England who are, like the town he lives in, "fixed and drab." Bruce meets Ivan Loon (Loonie), son of the local pub owner, who is more outgoing and has more of a risk-taking type of personality, even though there is a deeper sense of vulnerability somewhere inside him. From the moment they met, they became both friends and rivals, diving down into the river holding their respective breaths, each trying to outdo the other. From that day on, says Bruce, "it was the beginning of something." Things begin to ratchet into higher gear when the two boys eventually cross paths with Bill Sanderson (Sando), an internationally-known champion surfer in his mid-thirties and Eva, Sando's wife. Sando is an odd character -- an aging hippie who smokes dope, reads Castaneda and does Zen meditation, yet has a hard time being comfortable with simply sitting still. As their hero worship grows for Sando, he takes them out on surfing excursions that challenge them to and sometimes beyond their limits, each expedition more difficult and dangerous than the last. They become addicted to and intoxicated with the thrill and the danger, and Bruce notes at one point that "years before people started speaking about extreme sports, we spurned the word extreme as unworthy." As a result of being caught up in the adrenaline rush of hanging with Sando, he begins to pull further away from his ordinary life, but eventually finds himself having to come to terms with the consequences of this new lifestyle, as does Loonie. Bruce realizes that in surfing, men do something "beautiful," and that in fooling with death, there is an "outlaw feeling of doing something graceful, as if dancing on water was the best and bravest thing a man could do." But therein lies the dilemma: caught between the beauty of it all and the destructive forces that can bear down and take them out in an instant, each boy ends up having to ultimately make choices for himself that will have some major consequences, some of which are devastating. Bruce's narrative asks some tough questions. For example, how far might someone be willing to go to give meaning to his or her life? At what point do you need to put the brakes on and impose some kind of limits? What has to happen before you can stop and take a breath now and then instead of constantly being at the point where you are having to gasp for air?Breath is a good read, written in a simple style that manages to also be very descriptive without going into too much unnecessary detail. Bruce's recollections are very controlled, but Winton's characters deliver an eloquent range of emotions that for the most part make them seem real and alive. And you don't have to be a surfer or even like surfing to become caught up in the scenes in the ocean. These are written so vividly that you'll find yourself picturing the scenes in your head, and like Bruce and Loonie, find yourself caught between the beauty of feeling so alive and the hidden dangers of nature and the constant craving rush junkies need for bigger and better thrills during the lulls. Highly recommended, especially for people who like quality fiction, and those who enjoy fiction from Australia.

  • Ken
    2019-04-21 11:14

    Setting: the rugged coastline of western Australia and the beautiful (shark-infested) waters off of it.Characters: Pikelet (14-yr-old protagonist, sensible, conservative, wide-eyed and taking it all in)Loonie (Pikelet's dangerous sidekick, the type of "friend" who leads you to two places more often than not: Dangerous and Forbidden)Sando (36-year-old Laird Hamilton-type, surfing legend who still surfs and hangs out for "a living"; guru and mentor to the boys)Eva (Sando's younger American wife who stews while her husband constantly leaves her to exhort these boys to greater, more dangerous surfing spots)Plot: The boys run into Sando on one of their early surfing forays and he decides to mentor them into the holy pantheon of surf dudes. As the stakes rise (higher surf and bigger sharks), Loonie gets more and more, well, loony. The boys grow jealous fighting for the master's attention and tutelage, and Eva grows jealous over time she's losing with her husband. Weird Twist: Sando leads the more dangerous pupil (Loonie) to more dangerous venues (Indonesia). Bitter, lonely, and feeling left behind, Pikelet and Eva -- who dislike each other -- find interestingly-dark ways to "use" each other (not so much gnarly as Freudian)Strengths: Descriptions of the western Oz coast and seas and of the characters. In fact, the characterization is stellar, especially of Pikelet.Weaknesses: Sharp turn in plot deep into the novel... surfing purists may be disappointed. Also, the book might be considered gender-specific: that is, of greater interest to men than women (though I speak in generalities and realize nothing is as simple as all that).Bottom line: Won't forget it for awhile. My first Winton. I'll give him another go, for sure. Almost mythic landscape and the sense of loss is eerily-palpable by the end.

  • Connie
    2019-04-10 09:12

    In this coming-of-age book, two lonely boys challenge each other to push the limits along the coast of Western Australia. It starts with contests holding their breath underwater, then progresses to surfing. Sando, an expert surfer, acts as their mentor as they conquer more difficult waves. The adrenalin just pours out of the pages as the young surfers take bigger risks for the high sensation of riding a perfect wave. "When you make it, when you're still alive and standin' at the end, you get this tingly electric rush. You feel alive, completely awake and in your body. Man, it's like you've felt the hand of God." An injured skier is also featured in the book. When she can no longer do her extreme skiing, she finds an even more dangerous way to get the intense excitement she craves."Breath" was narrated by Pikelet, one of the two boys who is now a middle-aged man looking back to his teens. The teen years were a time to learn about challenges, sex, and friendships which can take new directions. Pikelet is now working as a paramedic, a job that also gets the adrenalin moving. In addition to a good story, the book had wonderful settings--the old mill town of Sawyer and the rugged Australian coast with the waves crashing in.

  • Danny
    2019-03-27 06:57

    What a feeling it is to add new vernacular to the reader's toolbox because of a gifted writer like Tim Winton. Forgive the bad pun, but Winton can really breathe succorous gulps of breath into the lungs of English. His characters are diving from normalcy through extreme sport and a wealth of sensual information. Pikelet, our narrator, restores honour to melancholic reminiscences by describing for readers the adrenaline infused pleasures of his adolescence spent swimming, surfing, shagging, and clawing at identity. There are many layers of experience for any reader: the sensory experience of a physical challenge, the surprising emotional content of malformed relationships, and the invitation and clear-voiced gravity of danger barking out through the page.

  • Trevor
    2019-03-30 04:02

    Absolutely loved this book.This coming of age story is wonderfully written, but is about so much more than that. It's about living life to the full, not being afraid, taking risks and above all finding out who you are as a person.The background of surfing and the sea is not one that I am overly familiar with, but the descriptions that Tim Winton brings to them, makes them alive and real - you can hear and feel the surf and waves; and when the boys get caught in the rip you live the danger and fear with them.The story has a great pace, and kept me coming back to read more.I loved it.

  • Terri Jacobson
    2019-03-24 08:55

    This coming of age story is about 2 young men on the west coast of Australia who fall in with an older man who was once a world-renowned surfer. The book tells their story as they slowly become friends and begin to surf in increasingly dangerous waters. It is a test of endurance and manhood, and the boys grow up very quickly. On the surface, this doesn't sound like a book I would be interested in. However, this book blew me away. The prose is musical, the descriptions delightful, and the underlying serious theme is well-explored. I fell in love with Tim Winton's writing, and will be looking out for his other works.

  • Carmela Masi
    2019-04-09 05:50

    The opening chapter of this book, the introduction to the main character, pointless. The story whilst interesting wrapped up too quickly and felt rushed.

  • Jenny
    2019-04-15 08:05

    "As a youth you do sense that life renders you powerless by dragging you back to it, breath upon breath in an endless capitulation to biological routine, and that the human will to control is as much about asserting power over your own body as exercising it on others."'Coming-of-age' novel, surfer novel - yes all that, but also a thoughtful, melancholic meditation on breath, on fear and on the silent surrender to life's imperfections.I've read somewhere that most of Winton's characters share an epic attraction towards death which for some is resolved in an exhausted acceptance of life and love. That's putting it perfectly I think.Highly recommended.

  • Marcella
    2019-03-22 09:53

    Tim Winton can do no wrong.Dirt Music was the first of his books that I read, and I loved it.Breath, his latest is amazing. A coming of age novel featuring a teenage boy in Australia, his desire to fit in, to be himself, to challenge his limits, all wrapped up in the most vivid descriptions of surfing I've ever read. Absolutely fantastic.Just saw the movie version at TIFF Gorgeous And so am rereading the book now in celebration

  • Moses Kilolo
    2019-04-12 04:55

    Like everything else I have seen of Tim Winton, this book is pure reading joy. The story holds and challenges the mind... of two barely adolescent boys that really wish to know what its like to be at the extremity of things... More than just readable, its prose and passages string together something of a beautiful song. where in the end both boys and their mentors are affected forever, as must all things extreme.