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  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407093451
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208


Powerful second novel from the Whitbread-winning author of Patrick's Alphabet.

In a country recovering from a brutal and divisive civil war, a young boy, Jamie, is knocked off his bike and dies in a city street. His father agrees to allow one of Jamie's lungs to be removed and flown over the border for a transplant.
As the night unfolds and the plane travels across the war-ravaged country, we see the drama from three different perspectives: The father, grieving for the son he perhaps never knew well enough; the lung's recipient, an old man fighting for breath; and in the turbulent sky between them, the young pilot who is closest to Jamie - or at least to his breath, his spirit, his voice.

  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407093451
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

About the author

Michael Symmons Roberts

Michael Symmons Roberts was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1963. He has published six collections of poetry and received a number of accolades including the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Award and the Whitbread Poetry Prize. As a librettist, his work has been performed in concert halls and opera houses around the world. An award-winning broadcaster and dramatist, he has published two novels, and is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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Praise for Breath

A bleakly powerful ending with a moving, finely contrived element of hope


Beautifully spare, poetic prose...haunting book


A thoughtful reminder of the wounds of conflict, and the depths of its scars... a clever, innovative, unusual book which is both timeless and timely


A well-paced narrative with carefully crafted twists...intensely visual descriptions... Inventive in its form and often profound in its poetry, Symmonds Roberts' gripping story is a meditation on the difficulty of forgiveness in wartime

Sunday Telegraph

Symmons Roberts is already a poet of note, and this...is discernibly a poet's book. Short and introspective, it stays in the mind and echoes

The Times

Magically spun out. An entrancing yet disturbing book

Sunday Express

An absorbing fable of the here-and-now


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