Faint Breath (အသက်ရှူသံတိုးတိုးကလေး) is second novel by Nwai La (နွေလ). It depicts a moving story of a female protagonist named Thi, a writer with a few books already published and her yearning for her dead husband, Lynn. Soon after Lynn’s death, she ran away to a small town to escape from everyone and everything. She kept having dreams about Lynn and started to write the story about two of them.
Thi had a traumatised childhood as she witness her parents’s incessant fights. She was neglected and occasionally abused by them as well. Growing up, her loving grandma was her only safe haven. She had frequent nightmares of her parents’s killing each others in the dream. Thi was tormented and never thought she would have someone to love until she met Lynn. Little by little, Lynn filled up the holes in her life and became her epitome of love. But, the unsolved issues of her past entangled with her present and took her into a whirlpool of tragedy.
Akin to touch-me-not plants (mimosa pudica), Faint Breath may seem dainty by its look and name but there are invisible thorny stems interlace in it. I can feel that Thi’s character was crafted with love and empathy and Lynn’s with such charisma. Beautiful, indeed. Lucid account of Thi’s traumatic events and psychotic disorders were expressed with diligence and subtlety.
Compared to his debut novel, Ian, this book is much more compelling and coherent in storytelling. Throughout the book it is such a captivating read featuring a wide array of emotions except the ending. For my personal preference, I’d like it to end right after Thi’s narration. It’s good to have answers for some readers with Htin Kyi’s narration but to me, the sudden change of narrator at the end lost my balance a bit. Besides, the similar tone of narration in both Thi and Htin Kyi’s characters gave me some discomfort. I felt his narration was unnecessary and somewhat forcefully giving a closure to the reader. Personally, I’d like to have a trail of uncertainty with questions after reading a book. Nonetheless, it is good yarn with heartwarming narrative.