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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Air that we Breathe by Kara Douglas

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Kara Douglas is a New Zealand author, and her book The Air that we Breathe is inspired by her birth father’s story of living in Wittenoom, Western Australia. She spent ten years researching this novel, which is a fictionalised account of one of Australia’s worst industrial disasters.

This is the story of an immigrant family wanting a better life for their family for it all to backfire most tragically. In 1961 Italian immigrants Abele and Maria settle into life in Western Australia, far from their friends and family. But they are doing this as they have been promised a financially secure future with Abele working in an asbestos mine. The work is backbreaking, with long hours, in the harsh and desolate outback, but they are willing to do this for their family to get ahead. But what they don’t know is there are mounting health warnings to management which are being willfully ignored, and the mine continues to operate despite it being unsafe.

Thirty years later, Abele and many of the other miners become ill, and the family begins a difficult journey to seek justice. But there are even more twists and turns, and their family is about to undergo the unthinkable.

The Air that we Breathe is a compelling novel that is even more emotionally engaging when you learn it is based on real-life events. The author has done a fabulous job of creating a believable and ordinary family. They are honest and hard-working, caring and family-orientated, caught up in a nightmare due to corporate greed. It’s an unforgettable read.

Redust Publishing, RRP $34.95

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