The Mystery of Breathing by Perri Klass
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Dr. Maggie Claymore is a leading neonatologist at a bustling Boston hospital. She works with the smallest and sickest patients: premature babies so ill that other doctors might give up on them. Maggie is fiercely devoted, despite the ethical conundrums that arise daily on the highest-tech edge of medicine -- and in spite of colleagues who feel she often risks too much. Nearly forty, happily married but childless by default, and supremely confident, Maggie knows her exact place in the world. She's the kind of woman who always makes a strong impression, for better or for worse.
Maggie's orderly life begins to unravel when she gets an anonymous note calling her ethics and reputation into question. At first she is able to ignore the increasingly virulent letters, but when her accuser goes public -- posting hate-filled warning posters around the hospital implicating her in a child's death -- Maggie finds herself mired in a personal and professional hell. With everything that she has and everything that she is thrown into doubt, Maggie must fight for herself even as she fights to keep her tiny patients breathing.
The Mystery of Breathing is not only an absorbing page-turner, but also a poignant examination of a woman struggling to maintain her hard-fought identity. Maggie's metamorphosis from fearful to indignant to self-doubting is complex and viscerally powerful. As gossip and innuendo overwhelm her workplace, Maggie's paranoia grows, and all the while lives hang in the balance.

About Perri Klass

See more books from this Author
Perri Klass is a practicing pediatrician, an acclaimed author of fiction & nonfiction, & a prizewinning journalist. She has won five O. Henry Awards for her short stories, including three of the stories in "Love & Modern Medicine". Her fiction includes two novels, "Recombinations & Other Women's Children", & a collection of short stories, "I Am Having an Adventure". She has also written two collections of essays about medicine, "A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student" & "Baby Doctor: A Pediatrician's Training". Her columns & articles have appeared in the "New York Times Magazine", the "Washington Post", the "Boston Globe", "Discover", & "Parenting". She recently won a James Beard Foundation Award for an article in "Gourmet", "The Lunch Box as Battlefield." Both Klass's fiction & her journalism have dealt with issues of medicine & society. In her medical career she practices pediatrics at Dorchester House, a neighborhood health center in Boston, & is medical director of the national literacy program Reach Out & Read, dedicated to making books & literacy promotion part of pediatric primary care. Klass lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Larry Wolff, a professor of history at Boston College, & their children.
Published February 2, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 352 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Mystery of Breathing

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Klass works a little too hard to let us know what a perfect, controlled life Maggie leads;

| Read Full Review of The Mystery of Breathing: A N...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Soon, the letters to Claymore become letters to nursing supervisors accusing Claymore of unhooking a young patient from her monitors and allowing her to die out of a belief that "children with birth defects and other problems are better off dead."

| Read Full Review of The Mystery of Breathing: A N...

Reader Rating for The Mystery of Breathing

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review