"[A] glorious, glittery saga of friendship and loss.... I read The Air You Breathe in two nights. (One might say I inhaled it.)." (NPR)
"Echoes of Elena Ferrante resound in this sumptuous saga." (O, The Oprah Magazine)
"Enveloping...Peebles understands the shifting currents of female friendship, and she writes so vividly about samba that you close the book certain its heroine's voices must exist beyond the page." (People)
The story of an intense female friendship fueled by affection, envy and pride - and each woman's fear that she would be nothing without the other.
Some friendships, like romance, have the feeling of fate.
Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music. One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and, for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes - and haunt their memories.
Traveling from Brazil's inland sugar plantations to the rowdy streets of Rio de Janeiro's famous Lapa neighborhood, from Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the irresistible drumbeat of home, The Air You Breathe unfurls a moving portrait of a lifelong friendship - its unparalleled rewards and lasting losses - and considers what we owe to the relationships that shape our lives.
"[A] glorious, glittery saga of friendship and loss.... Along the way [the two main characters] acquire...total interconnectedness, the likes of which I last found in Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend.... I read The Air You Breathe in two nights. (One might say I inhaled it.).... The Air You Breathe is genuinely exciting to watch." (NPR)
"Gorgeous.... Peebles captures the complexity of these two women forever linked by their early bonds, and she vivifies their colorful times and the nuances in their relationship as it evolves over the decades." (The National Book Review)
“Peebles presents a captivating...portrait of friendship...[the book’s] reflections on love, music, envy, and loyalty ache with feeling, and a hint of mystery surrounding the central relationship’s dissolution will keep readers intrigued until the end.” (Publishers Weekly)