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Out of Breath Paperback – 5 Mar 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099516160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099516163
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 894,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A sweetly corrupt exploration of the childhood fantasy of running away... Myerson is a beautiful conjurer of subtly disturbing atmospheres...haunting" (Jane Shilling Sunday Telegraph)

"A mythical rite-of-passage novel... mysterious and multi-layered" (Independent)

"Compulsively readable and richly inventive... bittersweet, authentic and loveable" (Guardian)

"Myerson is a surefooted guide along the wobbly line that separates the real from the surreal ... Myerson captures [adolescence] beautifully in Flynn's compelling voice. The opening of the novel is crisp and immediate, the prose simple and direct ...More than just a coming-of-age story, Out of Breath is a timely reminder about the importance of not growing up too quickly" (New Statesman)

"A truly original read, transcending many of the usual boundaries found in fiction" (Scotland on Sunday)

Book Description

A story told by a young girl featuring a cast of children left to make their own world.

'Myerson at her best' - The Times

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first Julie Myerson book that I have read and I really enjoyed it.

In the opening chapter it had the feel of a ghost story and although it wasn't one, it never really lost that ethereal quality. Seen through the eyes of a thirteen year old, the story was like that of a very dark fairytale, or the Famous Five gone wrong!

The characters were well rounded and very believable and again, the classic fairytale was evident in the form of the handsome hero, the naughty tinker bell and ever-ominous dark presence.

I didn't find the ending to be a let down and I wouldn't have wanted it to be any different, but it did make me go back and re-read some of it, in case I had missed something.

This book has made me keen to read to more of Julie Myerson's work and also to wish that I were thirteen again!
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By Purpleheart TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
`And then just when I thought nothing good or interesting would ever happen again, there he was.'

Runaway Alex appears in 13 year old Flynn's garden like one of the foxes that have visited the garden `in the middle of nowhere' and signals change in this coming of age novel. Flynn's parents split up as her baby sister was born and are at war with each other, her older brother Sam is in full adolescent revolt and Flynn spends her summer holiday looking after her sister Anna and feeling anxious.

Flynn and Sam end up joining Alex's band of runaways and escape the adult world and their mobile phones - the others are escaping foster homes and serious abuse. The novel mixes in fantasy as they find a fairy tale `buttery yellow' house which delivers what they need and there is a short idyll with overtones of something much more sinister. Myerson does this well, creating a compelling mood of psychological threat and Flynn is a sympathetic narrator. I was completely engaged for 285 pages and then very disappointed by the end which I also found just too trite; for example the happy ending for Dog was just a step too far. I don't want to spoil things for others so can't say more but it seemed as if she just ran out of steam.

I am a fan of Julie Myerson's writing and as always this is beautifully written, but I have taken off a star for that ending
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Format: Hardcover
This book was interesting and involving and it kept me captivated throughout - only to leave me very disapointed at the end. The characters are well drawn out and the story was well layered meaning I got involved in the characters and their story and was then just left! I think Julie Myerson fans will like it but it is not up to the standard of her previous novels.

As I said I was very disapointed with the ending. The story just stopped and the ending was contrite, way to happy and convenient.

It would be nice to hear what other people thought.
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Format: Paperback
For most of the book this is a delicate and beautifully poised piece of writing, a tale seen through the eyes of a young girl on the edge of womanhood. Various older myths and stories surface in the story - the strange and haunting house, which gives and takes hints at Hansel and Gretel, the sense of trembling on the edge of meeting the first soul-mate/sexuality like a modern, female take on Le Grand Meaulnes (horribly retitled in translation as The Lost Estate - I have only ever read it in translation, but when I first read it, the original French title, the name of the 'hero' was considered good enough!) There's also a sense of menace brooding over all, from an adult outside presence, a ghostliness that also reminded me of Turn of The Screw - that sense of unseen menace which you are never quite sure is in the mind of the central character only, or is outside reality. And the little band of wild children, particularly 'Mouse' is quite Peter Pan/Lost Boys, with Mouse as the anarchic Tinkerbell.

Myerson is brilliant at getting inside the mind and heart of the damaged and fragile child and adolescent; indeed into adolescence itself, where so many identities are warring to be born within any one individual.

From about 3/4 of the way through the book I started to pull outside its spell, and began to wonder 'how on earth can she find a satisfactory end for this' - there was such a delicate poise between 'reality' and the darkly magical that it felt as if coming down on one side or the other would feel like a huge let down. And it did. No spoiler, so you'll have to read it to find out, but to me it felt like her sure touch faltered and an ending was found which wasn't in the life of the book as a whole.
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