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  • Location: Paris, Norway,Canada

Coming up for Air

Coming up for Air

Why a Booktrail?

1899 onwards: Three extraordinary lives intertwine across oceans and time.


  • ISBN: B07V26PPTQ
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

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.

Travel Guide

Travel from Paris to Norway and Canada in the search for a death mask

This is a novel inspired by a very interesting true story – how the model which  ius used in CPR came to be…but it’s so much more than that.

The novel takes us on a journey to Paris at the end of the 19th century, Norway during the 1950s-60s and Canada from the 1980s to the present day

Our narrator is  L’Inconnue de la Seine. She drowns in the river of the same name at the start of the book and it’s her face that was used to create the model for CPR training. This is known as the Resusci Anne. Apparently it’s the most kissed face of all time!

Three very different settings but connected by humanity and the fact that we are all connected in someway even if at opposite ends of the world.

Paris is the main setting and where the story starts. The city is well evoked and you can feel the essence of the old city imbued with its history as you follow the characters and the tragedy which unfolds.

Norway – we visit Karmøy island and the town of Åkrehamn, the land of magic and toys. Finally it’s a visit to Canada and the town of Pembroke in the Ottawa Valley where a journalist battling a terrible disease, drowning in her own lungs, risks everything for one last chance to live.

There’s also a brief visit to Scotland:

”The Highlands is a melancholic place. The mountains are almost always hidden in mist and the tongues of blue that lick the sky are watery and fleeting, but there is a ballad to the landscape that exists in everything. In the wind, you can hear battle. The bog that sucks keenly at your boots has memory.”



BookTrail Boarding Pass: Coming up for Air

Destination/location: Norway, Paris, Canada   Author/guide: Sarah Leipeiger Departure Time: 1899 onwards

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