I picked up ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ up on a whim. It was at the bottom of a book trade and swap box at a hostel, covered in a thick layer of bodice ripping romances and dust. To be honest I rarely read short story anthologies; it’ll be even rarer that I would consider laying out some moola for one. Yet I loved this book so much I continued to carry it, despite risking herniating a disc from hulling around a ridiculously heavy backpack. The characters are so vividly flawed and fragile I just couldn’t them sit idle, dusty and unloved. Greedy I suppose; I promise to lend* it out I swear.There are nine short stories, ranging in setting from a vineyard in Italy to a local swimming pool to San Francisco. None of the stories are particularly uplifting. In fact the stories are so bleak they leave a thin film melancholy over you, that sits there even days after finishing the book. Despite the sober stories, I couldn’t help but jump from one to the next.
* ‘lend’ being the operative word