Why should you read this book?
I think it’s fair to say that The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles was one of the books of this Summer. But, truth to be told, when I was first introduced to this novel, long before it was published, I hadn’t seen it anywhere or even heard of it. Right when I started doing my own research about this book, I came upon an amazing praise that pointed out the Elena Ferrante’s reminiscences. I knew I had to read it. And, I knew that I would probably love it. Guess what? I did love it and it became a memorable read, one of my favorite books of 2018.
The Air You Breathe tells the story of Dores and Graça who escape a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil to follow their dream: singing. If Graça has a beautiful and strong voice, Dores reveals pain in hers. This novel travels from Brazil’s inland sugar plantations to the electric Rio de Janeiro and, finally, to the United States. The Air You Breathe is a hymn to female friendship and music.
One of the things I loved the most about this book is Peebles’ sensitivity. She builds these characters, their past, their struggles with such tenderness that you feel like you’re a part of this novel. Most important of all, the writer is always careful with her tone. It’s sensitive but not mushy or cliché. I also think this book meant so much to me because of my close ties with Brazil and my passion for the Brazilian culture, history and music.
As you can see, I became totally obsessed with this novel. Frances has a true gift, exploring deep feelings and the complexities of human relationships. The Air You Breathe is definitely an impactful depiction of Brazil and its story and people.
I’d like to thank Riverhead Books for the free copy. You can buy it here.
“I believed my loneliest days were behind me.”
Publisher: Riverhead Books (Penguin Random House)
Published on: August 2018