Something Like Breathing cover
Angela Readman

Something Like Breathing

It’s the 1950s, and Lorrie is unimpressed when her family moves to the remote Scottish island where her grandad runs a whisky distillery. She befriends Sylvie, the shy girl next door: ‘The slightest smile from Sylvie was a fluffy elephant at the fair. It had to be won with a clear aim,’ writes Lorrie. Yet fun-loving Lorrie isn’t sure Sylvie’s is the friendship she wants to win. As the adults around them struggle to keep their lives on an even keel, the two young women are drawn into a series of events that leave the small town wondering who exactly Sylvie is and what strange gift she is hiding.

Readman’s feel for emotional nuance and flair for mixing strangeness with poignant detail make this long-awaited debut novel one to savour.

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EBook: £5

More Info

Print status: Available
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 15 January 2019
ISBN: 9781911508304
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508311
Availability: World
Number of pages: 256


Sophie Ratcliffe

‘Angela Readman, a poet and award- winning short-story writer, is exceptionally good both at capturing voices and at rendering the shades of love and envy that can surround a friendship. [...] Readman tells a story of the violence that can exist in a family or a town, how difference and proximity are understood and respected, and how one self might try to capture another. Gentle and provocative by turns, Something Like Breathing asks good questions about the ways we might feel for someone, without consuming them.’

Marion Rankine
Brixton Review of Books

'Something Like Breathing does many things very well. Readman's prose is lithe and sparkling, glinting like the sea around the girls' island home. She skilfully evokes the minutiae of daily life , the subtly changing landscapes of human relationships , the strength and fragility of teenaged friendship, and the various small violences enacted on individuals - particularly  women - though the vigorous policing of social norms.. But it is Readman's exploration of the politics of difference, of strangeness, that propels the novel to its bittersweet finish,, which, like first kisses and last ones, lingers long after its final touch.'

Katharine Coldiron
The Guardian

Something Like Breathing is an auspicious work from a writer unusually skilled with language and subtext. It’s a sad, serious, beautiful novel worth diving into head first.’

Katharine Coldiron
The Guardian

Something Like Breathing is an auspicious work from a writer unusually skilled with language and subtext. It’s a sad, serious, beautiful novel worth diving into head first.’

Sarah Gilmartin
Irish Times

'From the wilderness of the setting to seminal moments in the girls’ friendship, Readman captures her subjects with ease and clarity. Something Like Breathing is a charming debut whose young voices beguile from the beginning and impart their lessons with a light touch along the way.'

Francesca Carington
Daily Telegraph

'Readman's strength lies... in capturing that teenage state of in-betweenness'

Star Tribune

‘Beautifully bittersweet, this first novel is a rich evocation of youth and a joyous celebration of individuality.’

Carmen Marcus

‘This is a significant book that belongs to and will endure this time of change for women, it is a love story about the way women love one another...This is a book made with a scalpel: precise cuts, made by a skilled hand, for the sake of healing.’

Lucy Scholes
Financial Times

‘Readman weaves a fascinating and decidedly original fairytale.’

Kirkus Reviews

‘Readman's narrative has an essential deadpan charm, dotted with striking, sideways observations. The story lends itself to multiple layers of interpretation and metaphor—the limits of friendship; mythmaking; the unavoidable exploration of self. An offbeat, enigmatic parable of otherness and attachment, with a style to match.’

Foreword Reviews

'This painstakingly rendered, gorgeous novel is pervaded by a sense of tense mystery . . . a skilled and beautiful portrait of a wonderful gift masked as darkness.'

Sarah Hilary on Angela Readman

‘Sparky, shining writing that zings from the page. Subversive, funny and incisive. A real talent.’

Max Liu on Angela Readman
The Independent

‘Readman writes with precision. Her stories emit suppressed yearning and she makes poignant comments about loneliness, identity, survival. Angela Carter is an obvious influence but fans of Donald Barthelme and Charles Baudelaire will cherish the emergence of a moral absurdist for our times.’

Toby Lichtig on Angela Readman
Sunday Telegraph

‘Angela Readman’s prose exhibits two complimentary styles: fabulation is rendered deadpan, while wonderfully inventive similes are used to describe the everyday. Borges, Kafka and Angela Carter will all be reference points, but there is something joyfully distinctive about Readman’s voice.’

Toby Litt on Angela Readman

‘Angela Readman’s stories are fantastic, delightful gifts.’