One Breath from Drowning tracks the foundering relationship between Ryan Jensen, a lapsed Mormon from Utah and heretofore closeted aspiring actor, and Sam Carter, a cocky party- and surf-loving Australian realtor whose family connections and wealth have buffered him from the most severe consequences of his impulsive nature and poor decision-making. Their genuine yet tumultuous love is strained by their tendencies for self-deception and avoidance, their secrets and their baggage, and the ways their past choices haunt their present.
The two men find moments of joy and humor together in Sydney, but arrests, infidelities, and addictions force them to finally face the issues holding them back. Though it initially presents as a love story, One Breath from Drowning is a tale of spiritual bildungsroman told in parallel. Ryan and Sam’s conflict and love ultimately push each of them to evolve, their transformation not the result of reckless acts of escape but the product of the fitful and difficult work of grappling with their complex realities.
About the Author
Kent Quaney is an author, essayist, and educator whose work has appeared in Literally Stories, Chelsea Station, riverSedge, and Polari, among others. He is an assistant professor of English at Auburn University Montgomery.
“One Breath from Drowning enjoys a distinguished place in a thriving movement in literature—the social novel, in the great tradition of Forster’s Howards End and Trollope’s The Way We Live Now. It’s a compelling and enjoyable story about Ryan and Sam, but also a story about all of us.”—Brian Bouldrey, author of The Boom Economy
“Captivating. . . . In the course of characters’ conversations, rich descriptions of Sydney’s history, culture, and diverse neighborhoods are shared, including observations about gentrification. Such scene setting backdrops Sam and Ryan’s intriguing tale of love and self-growth, which is heartwarming and vibrant as they confront religion, economic struggles, visa worries, and family drama and addiction, all of which threaten to impede their search for acceptance. The novel One Breath from Drowning is unflinching in its depiction of a modern romance whose obstacles are both fresh and familiar.”—Foreword Reviews