BREATHLESS by Anne Swärd (Translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner).
Lo enjoys a sheltered safe childhood, but when she is six years old a fire breaks out in a field by her home, and in the aftermath he makes a new friend.
Lukas is thirteen and Lo's family are deeply suspicious of his motives for befriending such a young girl. The pair are forced to meet in secret, sleeping side by side by the lake every summer.
For her fifteenth birthday, Lukas takes Lo to the Tivoli pleasure gardens in Copenhagen. Senses dulled by dancing, drink and fairy lights, she falls early to sleep, and wakes to find their lives and friendship changed forever.
..... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Every day she sat in a deckchair on the veranda, counting the hours of sunshine, drinking iced water, dozing.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 121): Surrounded as I was by thirteen adults, I had no need to share their attention with anyone, I had a tough time trying to avoid it.
MY THOUGHTS: Thankfully it very, very rarely happens but every now and then I come across a book that is so not to my taste that I struggle to find any redeeming features - sadly Breathless is one such book.
Combining a story that lacks dialogue between the characters, a plot that erratically jumps from one period in main character and narrator Lo's life to another and a text that is oddly flat and emotionless, I found myself not only unmoved but strangely unconnected and ultimately disinterested with both the events and people that make up this novel.
An unusual coming of age tale; Breathless has what I consider all the usual elements of friendship, lost love, death, sex and a life changed forever but with somewhat one dimensional characters and a storyline that lacked impetus it still failed to hold my attention.
DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.