Firstly I wish to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on the Blog Tour for Coming Up For Air by Sarah Leipciger
‘An extraordinary, three-century braid of air and water: the way we float, the way we drown, the way we surface again against the odds.’ Francis Spufford
Three extraordinary lives intertwine across oceans and time
On the banks of the River Seine in 1899, a young woman takes her final breath before plunging into the icy water. Although she does not know it, her decision will set in motion an astonishing chain of events. It will lead to 1950s Norway, where a grieving toy-maker is on the cusp of a transformative invention, all the way to present-day Canada where a journalist, battling a terrible disease, risks everything for one last chance to live.
Taking inspiration from a remarkable true story, Coming Up for Air is a bold, richly imagined novel about the transcendent power of storytelling and the immeasurable impact of every human life. The legacy of the woman at its heart touches the lives of us all today, and this book reveals just how.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Three lives of three people that never knew each other but are still connected with a theme. The story spans a hundred years and tragically begins in 1899 as a young woman plunges into the icy water of the River Seine to take her own life. She didn’t know of course how famous her face would become. In real life, the identity of the young woman was never discovered but the author gives her a fictional life of what could have lead to her being unable to carry on. Her drowning is intimately described and will touch the hardest of hearts. Even though her mind is made up that she has no other way out her body’s primal instincts battle to keep her alive, unfortunately, her mind wins.
Even in death, there was something very special about this mysterious woman whose body for some reason had not perished or bloated before she was found. Her face was serene and captured in a death mask that artists would be drawn to and over fifty years later would become known to millions and still is even today.
The second story set in the 1950s in Norway where a toymaker lives on the riverside with his wife and young family. He loves to fish and his young son loves to go with him. When a terrible tragedy strikes it sets in motion events that will go on to save millions of lives the world over.
The third story, a third drowning, only this one is an internal defect on a chromosome that causes cystic fibrosis in a young girl that grows up to become a courageous woman. Her daily battle just to breathe as her lungs worsen, waiting desperately for a match of a pair of healthy lungs from someone that will die tragically for her to live a few good years.
Beautifully written with each page I fell deeper into this story and each of their lives, their personal struggles and the people around them that it affected. The connection between the three just made me tingle. It isn’t just the stories that make this book brilliant it is that way that every detail matters. The feel of the icy water, the emptiness left in a mother and father and the determination to fight back and know what it is really like to breath for others.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE, IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Canada, Sarah Leipciger lives in London with her three children, and teaches creative writing to prisoners. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Asham Award, the Fish Prize and the Bridport Prize. Her first novel, the critically acclaimed THE MOUNTAIN CAN WAIT, was published in 2015. COMING UP FOR AIR is her second novel.