- 21 Jun 21
Holding Her Breath is out now.
Competitive swimming, a poet's suicide, affairs, threesomes and grief are unlikely ingredients for a compelling coming-of-age story – but with Holding Her Breath, Eimear Ryan has cooked up just that, consciously challenging every trope and trend in her path.
Beth Crowe is a first-year psychology student in a Dublin university, learning about herself as a friend, a lover and a student athlete. But it's her connection to her family, and in particular her grandfather, Benjamin Crowe – a renowned poet who died by suicide decades before – that truly determines the course of her journey.
Benjamin, or at least his legacy, is an omnipresent force propelling the novel's entire sequence of events, including Beth's high-risk relationship with an older academic. Yet, Holding Her Breath is ultimately a story celebrating women, as forces of strength, support and resilience.
Effortlessly weaving together a gripping, multi-layered plot, while maintaining a profoundly tender touch, Ryan has marked herself as a captivatingly original voice in Irish literature.