Breath is set in 1970s Western Australia. Pikelet and Loonie, two adolescent boys, are at first brought closer together by their love of surfing and free diving. Ultimately, it drives them apart as they compete for the approval of Sando, a daredevil veteran surfer who basks in their admiration and delights in challenging them with ever greater dangers. This is not so much a coming-of-age tale as it is a coming awake tale. Pikelet gradually comes to see the bitter reality of the people he idolizes, while also being required to accept the reality of who and what he is himself. But it's not all sadness and disappointment. Ever present is the beauty of the ocean and the release it offers. Winton's writing wakes you up to the rhythm of the water in its various moods, and the thrill of possibility that drives a surfer to tackle the next wave. If you have little or no interest in surfing, this is the best damn book you'll ever read about surfing. If you have a lot of interest in surfing, this is probably still the best damn book you'll ever read about surfing. Tim Winton's skill as a novelist has improved vastly since he wrote The Riders.