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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, starting in Southern Italy in 1982, Jo Draxler’s A Single Breath Of Air follows Caterina as she travels to find joy in her work and her unconventional sexual appetite.

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A Single Breath Of Air

Retired police officer, Jo Draxler introduces Caterina, an Italian feminist protagonist, whose sexual desires occasionally find her under the sheets with men who are not hers to enjoy. Through A Single Breath Of Air, Rina’s adventures span 20 years from 1982 to 2002, taking her from her hometown of Salerno in Southern Italy, to the London Suburbs, and then on to South Africa for a new life.

A Single Breath of Air (Vixens and Signorinas) by Jo Draxler on The Table Read Magazine
A Single Breath of Air (Vixens and Signorinas) by Jo Draxler

In 1982, young Caterina Mazzini gazes across the Tyrrhenian Sea; her spirit is stirred as she hold communion with the sea breeze. At college, her physics master, Professor Russo, teaches her about the white stork and the principles of flight, while out of school, she is taught about sex by Stefano, the boyfriend of beautiful Juliana.

When Rina leaves Italy for England, and a career in aviation, she marries an airline pilot, but it isn’t long before he strays. Her revenge is sweetly twisted, and after a return to single life, Caterina’s world pivots during a near death experience.

Now an Artisan dressmaker, Rina meets Barrett and is smitten, spending the day contemplating the intense love she feels for him. Then she seduces a stranger in her own home, and she cannot forsake her secret lover who she keeps hidden from everyone, even her best friend Emma. Rina juxtaposes the most important people in her life and makes a plan which may resolve her complex situation.

After a calamitous finale, she reflects wistfully upon her childhood in Salerno, Southern Italy, her old life in England, and the dramatic events which brought her six thousand miles from Berkshire to Johannesburg.

Ultimately a tale of deep friendships, love and a whole host of moral dilemmas, all of which Rina endeavours to resolve, A Single Breath Of Air delivers pitch-perfect escapism. It also leaves readers laughing, crying, cooking Italian food and even contemplating taking flying lessons.

Jo Draxler

A retired police officer, Jo Draxler’s occupation left him broad minded and equipped with invaluable life experiences.

I live in Northeast England with my wife and our daughter’s dog. She left home but the mutt stayed with us. I have penned travelogues for family and friends, simply because I enjoy writing.  This is my debut novel.

I had no intention of writing a book; I was too busy making tea. Then, while the ragù was simmering, I took a minute to scroll through Facebook. One post grabbed my attention: An Italian lady was trying to make a dress in her house in Johannesburg but was being distracted by her noisy parrot. Every tale needs a beginning, so I spent the rest of the afternoon writing a short story, just for something to do really. 464 pages, and one year later, I had a novel.

-Jo Draxler

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