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The Selfless Act of Breathing

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349702063

Price: £8.99

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In this wonderfully tender novel about masculinity and mental health, about being lost and finding yourself again, Bola's vulnerable delicate writing conveys so much truth and heart about how we are now, how closed we are, how much goes unsaid and the quiet pain in our hearts
Nikesh Shukla
This book is a bold work with a broad scope, bravely tackling masculinity, hopelessness and despair with force and directness
Okechukwu Nzelu
A beautiful, absorbing read. By turns searing and quietly devastating
Irenosen Okojie
I knew from the opening, that this book was going to break my heart. The Selfless Act of Breathing left me breathless. It is beautifully tender. I was gripped right from the opening. The structure pacing, description, narration, and voice make this book a Masterclass in empathy. It is moving with tension multi layered like a symphony. The Selfless Act of Breathing is immersive and reflective; challenging what we might think mental health crisis looks like and who has them
Yvonne Battle-Felton
While this book isn't necessarily a light read, it does point to the limits of travel - a new setting doesn't erase old problems, and in some cases, it may create new ones
Independent, Best Travel Story
The Selfless Act of Breathing feels existential and urgent as a millennial Mrs. Dalloway for a Black man who must straddle two worlds, two cultures, and two timelines, deciding where--and if--he wants to live. With prose as intimate as a private diary, as lush as spoken-word poetry, JJ Bola has artfully rendered this portrait of depression at once achingly empathetic and remarkably insightful
Afia Atakora, American Historian Prize-winning author of Conjure Women
Narrated with haunting lyricism, The Selfless Act of Breathing is an intimate journey through the darkest of human impulses to the gleaming flickers of love and radical hope
Susan Abulhawa, Palestine Book Award-winning author of Against the Loveless World
Bola's insightful, intimate and lyrical work has been entrancing readers... Reminiscent of Paul Beatty and Ralph Ellison
The Bookseller
Well, wow. The writing in this book was so lyrical and beautiful... I really couldn't put this book down and finished it in two days... The last page had me on the verge of tears
NetGalley Reviewer
I loved this book - I lost my whole day reading - just couldn't bear to put it down!
NetGalley Reviewer
In a world that makes it difficult for many of us to articulate our suffering, The Selfless Act of Breathing is a necessary invitation to scream when we feel like screaming, cry when we feel like crying, and prioritize our own often-neglected needs for love. JJ Bola crafted a soul-shifting novel that will let millions know it's okay to not be okay, and that the one of the most rewarding, and healing, places we can travel is into ourselves. The unwavering courage and care that Bola demonstrates with this work is to be revered
Mateo Askaripour
It's uncompromising stuff, but injections of precipitous drama - a car-jacking in LA; a doomed love affair in New York - together with unexpected flights of lyricism keep things moving. An emotive, brave novel that ultimately holds out the prospect of salvation, without sacrificing any of its power.
Daily Mail
Arresting... Important and emotive... Powerfully raw
Michael Donkor, The Guardian
A heartfelt and searing exploration of depression . . . readers will be swept up in the sheer beauty of Bola's writing
Eastern Daily Press
Possessed by a daring turn of phrase and at times a beautifully powerful sense of personal poignancy, this novel not only speaks to the people society ignores all too often, but to the feelings and frustrations we try and repress... it is one that should be pushed into the hands of friends accompanied by the question: do you feel this too?
Big Issue
Heartfelt and searing... Devastating and insightful... Readers will be swept up in the sheer beauty of Bola's writing
The i
The Selfless Act of Breathing [is] part of a wave of novels by young men of colour exploring race, romance and mental health problems with disarming candour
The Sunday Times
Providing a spark of hope
Absolutely stunning
Elizabeth Day
Lyrical and philosophical