Coming Up for Air

By (author) Sarah Leipciger
Categories: Fiction: general and literary, Fiction and Related items
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Paperback : 9781487006501, 320 pages, March 2020


A lyrical, powerful, and richly textured novel about three lives that intertwine across oceans and time.

On the banks of the River Seine in 1899, a young woman takes her final breath before plunging into the icy water. Although she does not know it, her decision will set in motion an astonishing chain of events. It will lead to 1950s Norway, where a grieving toy-maker is on the cusp of a transformative invention, all the way to present-day Ottawa Valley in Canada, where a journalist, battling a terrible disease, risks everything for one last chance to live.

Taking inspiration from a remarkable true story, Coming Up for Air is a bold, richly imagined novel about the transcendent power of storytelling and the immeasurable impact of every human life. The legacy of the woman at its heart touches the lives of us all today, and this book reveals just how.


Leipciger is a masterful and brilliant storyteller who writes beautiful, concise, and clear descriptions . . . [Coming Up for Air] is a fascinating and enthralling must-read.

- Booklist

Coming Up for Air is effervescent and audacious — a novel in which kicking for the surface, no matter how desperate the odds, is always worthwhile.

- Foreword Reviews

Leipciger’s prose is rich and stirring.

- Quill & Quire