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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Landing Gear

I heard Kate Pullinger's CBC interview and was intrigued by the premise of her new book, Landing Gear. Yacub, a Pakistani man stows away on a plane after escaping from a labour camp in Dubai. He tumbles from the plane’s landing gear as it prepares to land at Heathrow and falls onto the roof of a parked car surviving the impact.
The book tells the stories of Yacub, Harriet, a U.K. radio announcer, Michael, Harriet's workaholic husband, their son, Jack whose life is mainly lived online and Emily, whose beloved adoptive father has died.
It is Harriet's car on which Yacub lands when she is on one of her daily trips to the supermarket. Since she lost her job in broadcasting she does little but shop for food, cook and serve it. She doesn't trust her own perceptions and thinks she might be imagining things when Yacub lands on her car. She takes him home, sets him up in an unused room and tells him to lie low. Jack and Michael discover him, of course, and he soon becomes part of their family. He has not only landed on her car he has landed in their lives.
For some time Harriet and Emily have been circling around one another on Facebook and Emily has been following Harriet on her bicycle and recording video of her. What is the nature of their relationship?
The book touches on many modern life concerns: third world poverty, internet connections substituting for real relationships, the 80-hour work week, youth alienation, family secrets. There are five stories being told and the threads are all brought together in an ending that strains credibility but Pullinger's deft, low-key writing makes it somehow believable.

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