We gave it a B+
Andrea Barrett (Ship Fever) again fuses history and science in her new novel, about tuberculosis patients seeking treatment in the fictional Adirondack town of Tamarack Lake. The year is 1916, and the U.S. is on the verge of entering the Great War. But for these isolated patients — many of them Eastern European immigrants — the relatively small dramas that occur within this remote community deliver the greater impact. Though The Air We Breathe takes a while to get going, Barrett eloquently blends scientific elements like TB and chemistry with her diverse characters’ hopes and heartbreaks to bring the book to crackling life.