The Water-Breather

The Water-Breather

Ben Faccini

A child’s summer song of heat and grief: one loveable, sensitive young boy’s obsession with undoing the damage done.

‘I’m coming up to my ninth birthday. It’s the spring of 1978. Our kilometre dial has clocked into thousands and started its cycle over and over again…Our car must keep going, always.’

This is Jean-Pio’s childhood: crisscrossing Europe, sandwiched between his two brothers on the back seat. Travelling to his grandfather’s house deep in the French countryside, he’s on the brink of discovering a secret that will change him forever. In the midst of his chaotic, wonderful family, Jean-Pio must save himself from drowning in panic, as if learning to breathe in water…

Reviews of The Water-Breather

    • ‘A remarkable portrait of a family under pressure, rather like a photograph album: crammed with rich and vivid detail. “The Water-breather” teems with delightful incident and a number of enjoyable minor characters…An assured and moving debut.’ Gerard Woodward, Guardian
    • ‘Faccini’s clean style and lack of mawkishness make for a convincing portrayal of the workings of a child’s mind and a truthful and affecting read.’ Daily Mail
    • ‘A beautifully written, haunting meditation on innocence. An uncanny recreation of the insect-eye of childhood.’ TLS
    • ‘Intelligent, observant…Ben Faccini does an excellent job of a very difficult thing, writing from the perspective of an eight-year-old. Magical.’ Observer
    • ‘Totally original and mesmerising…Faccini is a brilliant writer and not a sentence in this wonderful book seems out of place.’ Literary Review
    • ‘A strange expedition into the border zone between love and anguish, a brilliant and poetic intermingling of memories and dreams.’ Lisa St Aubin de Teran

More from Ben Faccini