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Breath




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About The Author

Tim WintonTim Winton

The preeminent Australian novelist of his generation, TIM WINTON is the author of the bestselling Cloudstreet, The Riders, and Dirt Music, among many other books. He lives in Western Australia.

photo: © Denise Fitch

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Reading Group Gold

1. The story of Pikelet’s experiences with Sando and Loonie are framed by scenes from his

life as an older man. How would you describe his attitude towards the young man he was back

then, and toward the choices he made?

2. Is Sando a good influence on the boys? Does help them in any way? Do you think he has their

best interests at heart?

3. Pikelet and Loonie come together as friends over their shared fascination with risk. How do

they ultimately experience surfing differently? What is it about them that leads their paths to

diverge over the course of the story?

4. What is Eva’s attitude toward Sando’s relationship with the boys? What feelings does it bring

up about her own situation and her own history?

5. What do you think draws Pikelet and Eva together? What does each of them get from their

relationship? Do you think Pikelet bears some responsibility for what happens between them?

6. Look the scene where Sando, Loonie and Pikelet go to surf the Nautilus (p. 144-147). Why do

you think Pikelet chooses not to surf that day? How does his refusal affect the course of his

relationship with Sando and Loonie?

7. Several times in the story characters mention a resistance to being an “ordinary person,” and

many of the risks they take are motivated by a desire to stand outside ordinary life. Is this a

healthy impulse? Have you experienced it, or known people who have? How do people you

know handle it?

8. Later in the book we learn that Pikelet spent some time in an institution. What do you think

happened in his mind to get him there? How did the surfing and the relationship with Eva affect

him later in life?

9. Near the end of the story Pikelet sees footage of an aerial skier falling, howling in agony, and

it reminds him of himself, a “slow-motion replay of how my mind had worked for too long”(p.

214). What do you think he recognizes in the skier and himself?

10. Do you think Pikelet and Loonie learn something of value from the risks they take? Are they

better off for having endured the fear and surfed with Sando? Is it necessary to take these kinds

of risks in order to feel alive?

11. Why do you think it’s so important for the narrator to show his daughters that he surfs, that

he “also does something completely pointless and beautiful”? What kind of relationship do you

think he has with them?

12. How do the two boys’ relationships with their parents contribute to their behavior as

teenagers? Is surfing and their bond with Sando somehow a reaction against the place they came

from?

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