Holding Her Breath
“A joy to read. ... Emotional, clever, and humorous, Holding Her Breath will engross readers with its academic atmosphere and family drama.” — Booklist
A moving and “whip smart” (Sunday Telegraph) debut novel, following a former competitive swimmer and granddaughter of a famous Irish poet as she comes of age in the shadow of her family’s tragic past, perfect for fans of Sally Rooney, Lily King’s Writers & Lovers, and Elif Batuman’s The Idiot.
Recommended by Glamour * The Millions * Literary Hub * PopSugar
When Beth Crowe starts university, she is haunted by the ghost of her potential as a competitive swimmer. With her Olympic dreams shattered after a breakdown, she is suddenly free to create a fresh identity for herself outside of swimming. Striking up a friendship with her English major roommate, Beth soon finds herself among a literary crowd of people who adore the poetry of her grandfather, Benjamin Crowe, who died tragically before she was born. Beth’s mother and grandmother rarely talk about what happened to Benjamin, and Beth is unsettled to find that her classmates may know more about her own family history than she does.
As the year goes on, Beth embarks on a secret relationship with an older postdoctoral researcher—and on a quest to discover the truth about Benjamin and his widow, her beloved grandmother Lydia. The quest brings her into an archive that no scholar has ever seen, and to a person who knows things about her family that nobody else knows.
Holding Her Breath is a razor-sharp, moving, and seriously entertaining novel about complicated love stories, ambition, and grief—and a young woman coming fully into her powers.