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Breath

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Breath Cover

ISBN13: 9780312428396
ISBN10: 0312428391
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

We come sweeping up the tree-lined boulevard with siren and lights and when the GPS urges us to make the next left we take it so fast that all the gear slams and sways inside the vehicle. I dont say a thing. Down the dark suburban street I can see the house lit like a cruise ship.

Got it, she says before I can point it out.

Feel free to slow down.

Making you nervous, Bruce?

Something like that, I murmur.

But the fact is I feel brilliant. This is when I feel good, when the nerve-ends are singing, the gut tight with anticipation. Its been a long, slow shift and theres never been any love lost between Jodie and me. At handover I walked up on a conversation I wasnt supposed to hear. But that was hours ago. Now Im alert and tingly with dread. Bring it on.

At the call address Jodie kills the siren and wheels around to reverse up the steep drive. Shes amped, I guess, and a bit puffed up with a sense of her own competence. Not a bad kid, just green. She doesnt know it but Ive got daughters her age.

When she hits the handbrake and calls in our arrival at the job I jump out and rip the side door back to grab the resus kit. Beneath the porch steps on the dewy grass is a middle-aged bloke hugging himself in silence and I can see in a moment that although hes probably done his collarbone hes not our man. So I leave him to Jodie and go on up to announce myself in the open doorway.

In the livingroom two teenage girls hunch at opposite ends of a leather couch.

Upstairs? I ask.

One of them points without even lifting her head, and already I know that this jobs become a pack and carry. Usually they see the uniform and light up with hope, but neither of them gives me as much as a glance.

The bedroom in question isnt hard to fi nd. A little mat of vomit in the hall. Splinters of wood. I step over the broken-down door and see the mother at the bed where the boy is laid out, and as I quietly introduce myself I take it all in. The room smells of pot and urine and disinfectant and its clear that shes cut him down and dressed him and tidied everything up.

I slip in beside her and do the business but the kids been gone a while. He looks about seventeen. There are ligature marks on his neck and older bruises around them. Even while Im going through the motions she strokes the boys dark, curly hair. A nice-looking kid. Shes washed him. He smells of Pears soap and freshly laundered clothes. I ask for her name and for her sons, and she tells me that shes June and the boys name is Aaron.

Im sorry, June, I murmur, but hes passed away.

I know that.

You found him a while ago. Before you called.

She says nothing.

June, Im not the police.

Theyre already on their way.

Can I open the wardrobe? I ask as Jodie steps into the

doorway.

Id prefer that you didnt, says June.

Okay. But you know that the police will.

Do they have to?

The mother looks at me properly for the fi rst time. Shes a handsome woman in her forties with short, dark hair and arty pendant earrings, and I can imagine that an hour ago, when her lipstick and her life were still intact, shed have been erect and confident, even a little haughty.

Its their job, June.

You seem to have made some kind of . . . assumption.

June, I say, glancing up at Jodie. Lets just say Ive seen a few things in my time. Honestly, I couldnt begin to tell you.

Then youll tell me how this happened, why hes done this to himself.

Ive called for another car, says Jodie.

Yeah, good, I mutter. June, this is Jodie. Shes my partner tonight.

Go ahead and tell me why.

Because your husbands broken his collarbone, says Jodie. He broke down the door here, right?

So what do I tell them? the mother asks, ignoring Jodie altogether.

 
 
Thats really for you to decide, I say. But theres no shame in the truth. Its fairer on everybody.

The woman looks at me again. I squat in front of her beside the bed. She smooths the skirt down onto her knees.

I must be transparent, she murmurs.

I try to give her a kindly smile but my face feels stiff. Behind her I can see the usual posters on the wall: surfers, rockstars, women in provocative poses. The bookshelf above the desk has its sports trophies and souvenirs from Bali and the computer goes through a screensaver cycle of the twin towers endlessly falling. She reaches for my hand and I give it to her. She feels no warmer than her dead son.

No one will understand.

No, I say. Probably not.

Youre a father.

Yes, I am.

Car doors slam in the street below.

June, would you like a moment alone with Aaron before the

police come in?

Ive had my moment, she says, letting go my hand to pat her

hair abstractedly.

Jodie? Will you just pop down and let the police know where we are?

Jodie folds her arms petulantly but goes with a flick of her little blonde ponytail.

That girl doesnt like you.

No, not much.

So what do I do?

I cant advise you, June.

Ive got other children to consider.

Yes.

And a husband.

He will have to go to hospital, Im afraid.

Lucky him.

I get to my feet and collect my kit. She stands and brushes her skirt down and gazes back at the boy on the bed.

Is there anyone else youd like me to call?

Jodie and two cops appear at the door.

Call? says June. You can call my son back. As you can see, hes not listening to his mother.

 
Excerpted from Breath by Tim Winton. Copyright © 2008 by Tim Winton. All rights reserved.

 

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SusanL, August 3, 2009 (view all comments by SusanL)
On the wild coast of Western Australia, 2 young boys take an older surfer as their hero, and all 3 push themselves to the edge of endurance, excitement & disaster in this mature coming-of-age story. The sea itself is a character and, like the sea, this brilliant tale carries a dark undertone. Fans of Winton will be delighted.
I am a fan!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312428396
Author:
Winton, Tim
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Coming of age
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
FIC043000
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20090531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.28 x 6.57 x 0.635 in
Age Level:
Coming of Age

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Related Subjects

» Featured Titles » Miscellaneous Award Winners
» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Oceania

Breath Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Picador USA - English 9780312428396 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Venturing beyond all limits--in relationships, physical challenge, and in sexual behavior--there is a point where oblivion is the only outcome. Full of Winton's lyrical genius for conveying physical sensation, "Breath" is a rich and atmospheric coming-of-age tale.
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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