Coming Up for Air
Sarah Leipciger

Book cover image

Narrated By: Elliot Cowan, Deborah McBride, Claudia Jessie

Duration: 10 hours and 6 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Three extraordinary lives 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 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.

© Sarah Leipciger 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020


Modern & contemporary fiction, Classic fiction, Historical fiction, Narrative theme: Love & relationships, Narrative theme: Sense of place, Narrative theme: Interior life, Narrative theme: Death, grief, loss

Listen to a sample

A stunning, stirring story told with exceptional skill and rare beauty.


Sarah Leipciger captures the nature of solitude and stillness in a way that no other writer does. THE MOUNTAIN CAN WAIT was a wonder. COMING UP FOR AIR expands her range even further, exploring that eerie shoreline where land and ocean meet, where breathing becomes drowning, and life teeters on the very edge.

Mark Haddon

Vivid, evocative, moving. I loved it

Claire Fuller

Here is a novel that dares to cross the boundaries of time, the elements, life and death, and does so with the twists and hooks and magic of a consummate story teller.

Rachel Joyce

An extraordinary, three-century braid of air and water: the way we float, the way we drown, the way we surface again against the odds.