Closer than Breathing

Seven Tales

By R.I. Sutton


Speak to Him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet—

Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Higher Pantheism

‘It’s a strange thing, son, building your own box. Knowing it’s to be your last home—to house the bones that carried you through life. There was nights I’d sit and marvel at these old hands shaping it—these old hands making ready for the day they’d move and bend no more.’


How do you harvest forgiveness from a willow tree's heart? Can one salvage the future from a curio store? At sea, what is it that lies in the hazy space where water meets sky?  These ‘wondrous stories’ are about people at the periphery, those seeking to sustain the inner light in an incredulous world. A dying man writes to his son about love and regret as he builds his own coffin; an exile finds her way home on a mythical steed; and a young girl faces the world's end with a song. R.I. Sutton evokes the tale’s timeless cosmos, exploring our quest for transformation with a vision that is both penetrating and sublime.


This hand-made, limited-edition volume is the first of its kind to emerge in Australia: an extended work of fiction created exclusively by the writer herself, using the traditional bookmaking crafts. Featuring images engraved by artist, Kain White, this work is a unique and independent tribute to art and craftsmanship. It is typeset, letterpress printed and bound by the author’s own hands.   


These are stories of luminous epiphanies and dark apprehensions, evanescent intuitions and fugitive glimpses, stories of hope and regret, love and loss and grief, of death and renewal...These tales, often gossamer-fine, altogether escape the claustrophobia and the clamour, the ideological posturing, the cramped horizons of much contemporary fiction. They variously amaze, disturb, soothe, move and refresh us.

Harry Oldmeadow, Author of Journeys East