‘The Art of Not Breathing’ – Sarah Alexander

The Art of Not Breathing


The cover for this makes perfect sense after reading the book, and I feel it evokes the sense of hope that I was left with as things are resolved.

At first, I was not sure what to expect from this story about a family left grieving after the death of one of the children.

When we first meet sixteen-year old Elsie we can sense the raw pain that her family still carry round with them. When Elsie’s twin brother, Eddie, disappeared five years previously it soon becomes clear that there is more to it than Elsie remembers.

Initially, the narrative focuses more on the impact of this event than explaining what happened. We see that Elsie’s parents are not dealing with their grief, and are completely ignoring the signs that their surviving children are also suffering. Each member of the family has secrets that they want to keep, and it was quite painful to see the way the family disintegrated.

In the course of the novel, Elsie learns to free dive and this helps give her the confidence she needs to find out the truth of what happened. A beautiful yet upsetting story, full of hope.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy of this novel, due for publication April 2016.