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The Selfless Act of Breathing

A Novel

Transcendent Kingdom meets A Man Called Ove in this heartwarming novel about a Congolese-British Londoner who decides to go on one last adventure in the United States, determined to end his life once his savings run out.

As a charismatic teacher living in London, Michael Kabongo strives to alleviate the injustices he sees around him: for the students who long for better lives, in memory of his father’s tragic death, and to end the violent marginalization of Black men around the world.

But after a devastating loss, he decides to embark on an adventure in the land of the free—the United States of America. From Dallas to San Francisco, Michael parties with new friends, engages in fleeting romances, splurges on thrilling escapades, all with the intention of ending his life once all his savings run out.

As he makes surprising new connections and faces old prejudices in odd but exciting new settings, Michael alone must decide if his life is worth living after all...

JJ Bola is a writer, poet, and UNHCR Ambassador. He is the author of three poetry collections, a novel called No Place Like Home, and Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined. He is a Kit de Waal Scholar for the Birkbeck University MA in creative writing. As a former refugee, Bola was invited to the Davos Economic Forum 2018 and held a discussion with Cate Blanchett. He reads, speaks, gives workshops, and performs around the world. He currently resides in London, England.