Tim Winton

Breath [Farrar, Straus and Giroux]

Books Reviews Tim Winton
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Tim Winton

Gripping surf story

The adventure of surfing gets a big ride in Tim Winton’s latest literary feat.

Told retrospectively through the eyes of Australian paramedic Bruce Pikelet, Breath is a novel that perfectly mimics its setting—Winton structures the book with brooding swells of action that underline the tension between Pikelet and his wave-riding companions.

Told with the heaviness that comes when confessing secrets of the past, Pikelet recalls his adolescent surfing days. Along with his thrill-seeking friend Loonie, he had become an enamored disciple of an old pro boarder named Sando.

Together, the three sought the extreme, riding waves in shallow, reefed waters and in coves that were the confirmed territory of great whites. The dynamic between Wynton’s characters is just as menacing and uncharted as the waters they tread. The three are not true friends. It’s worth the read to figure out why.