Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Breath and Shadows (Ballantine Reader's Circle)” as Want to Read:
Breath and Shadows (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Breath and Shadows (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Rosteds carry a love of beauty and a propensity for madness in their blood, a blessing and a curse that grace and haunt each generation. "Breath and Shadows" moves among three branches of the Rosted family tree, dramatizing the obsessions and eccentricities of a cast of unforgettable characters. There is Thorkild, a dwarf consumed by grief for his only child, a soldier ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 6th 2000 by Ballantine Books (first published April 7th 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Breath and Shadows, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Breath and Shadows

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 106)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Russell Bittner
Breath and Shadows is the second of Ella Leffland’s books I’ve read (having read and reviewed Rumors of Peace just a couple of weeks ago), and I have to say that I find her command of the language — not to mention her characterization and setting — virtually without peer. If Rumors of Peace was a consummate coming-of-age story, Breath and Shadows is a consummate multi-generational family story. I frankly can’t say enough good things about either of them.


Just as I ranked Rumors of Peace righ
...more
Carol Moffat
Leffland begins her book with a quote by Sophocles, “Man is but breath and shadows.” So already we are driven into Plato’s cave. Her prologue begins with this cave image. From there this image is infused between chapters.
To begin with, cave bears, in utter darkness are settling in the millennial strata of the cave seeking sleep and safety.
And then we are introduced in the first chapter to the 3rd generation of a privileged Danish family. Leffland moves through 4 generations of this family on t
...more
Linda
This multi-layered saga of Danish family madness has keen descriptions of various cold weather landscapes, bad weather, plus a meadow and some beaches. I think these geographical pictures inform our awareness of where the characters draw their moods and inspirations. The characters are compelling but somewhat remote. Told through flashbacks and flashforwards three generations of a family are followed through happy times, sad times and grotesque times. I am glad to be introduced to this author wh ...more
Kris
kind of hated it but at the same time loved it.
Shirley
This book takes place mostly in Denmark and because I am part Scandinavian I seek out books from that area of the world most of which seem to be dark police procedurals mysteries. This book goes back several general generations in the same family showing how certain traits echo through families. The historical parts I found much more interesting than the current generation who I found rather boring.
Pat Buzby
I loved the Danish setting and references to the towns and weather and even the Evanston connection but the book itself didn't do much for me. It was just a complicated soap opera of different generations with a lot of baggage. I could have condensed the good parts and made it a short story and been done with this one.
Frances Wood
I only know of three of Ella Leffland books. She is an amazing writer, but this last book is particularly intricate. It is the story of a Danish family, skipped generations, and the thread of madness that occasionally emerges.
Dee
A brother and sister in the present attempt to find out about their ancestors who lived during the Middle Ages. A really good story. This author definitely doesn't write the same book twice. I like her style.
Maureen
You follow three generations of the same family at the same time. Didn't feel like much of a story, just their everyday life without much excitement.
Kelly
BORING!!! Three stories of generations of one family in the 1700, 1800, 1900s. Family members are bipolar/mental illness. Story goes absolutely nowhere.
Wanda Brenni
I read so many book and forget even more, seldom can remember storyline, but those that have a profound impact stay and this is one.
Amy
Oct 16, 2008 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Milena
Recommended to Amy by: garage sale
This is one of my favorite books of all time! Multi-generational saga, really moving and beautiful.
Tammy
This book gave me chills. I loved the way the author allowed you inside the minds of the characters.
Jan
A little hard to track relationships, but very vividly and beautifully written.
Caroline Fernandez
Caroline Fernandez marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Don
Don marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2014
Anna
Anna marked it as to-read
Jan 15, 2014
Diane L (Evana)
Diane L (Evana) marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2013
Britt
Britt marked it as to-read
Dec 28, 2013
Pizza
Pizza added it
Nov 20, 2013
Jo
Jo marked it as to-read
Oct 15, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Rumors of Peace The Knight, Death, and the Devil Mrs. Munck Last Courtesies and Other Stories Love Out of Season

Share This Book