A fictitious account of Amelia Earhart's last flight, with flashbacks to her childhood and difficult marriage. Amelia and her raffish, drunken navigator, Noonan, crash-land on a desert island. They fight, touch madness and finally fall in love, before taking off again on only half a tank of petrol.A fictitious account of Amelia Earhart's last flight, with flashbacks to her childhood and difficult marriage. Amelia and her raffish, drunken navigator, Noonan, crash-land on a desert island. They fight, touch madness and finally fall in love, before taking off again on only half a tank of petrol.Read Less
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Amelia Earhart is arguably one of the best known aviatrix of the twenty century. Earhart set many records most notable being the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her death has fuelled as many conspiracy theories as those that surround 9/11.
On June 1937, during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, lost radio contact, ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
Jane Mendelsohn?s novel is a fictionalised account of what happened to Amelia Earhart after she lost contact with Howland Island, her destination, and the navy.
Mendelsohn?s novel is at once a story of a driven, unhappy possibly reckless woman who does not feel alive unless she is flying. The author weaves fact and fiction, the present and the past using first and third person narrative. First person narrative is used as Earhart?s own personal point of view while third person narrative is utilised to portray Earhart?s life. This moving to and fro, in and out of time and space allows the author to blend, like some exotic biographer?s cocktail, layer upon layer of fact and fiction, present and the past, real or imagined until the reader feels drunk from bibliophilic pleasure.
But there is no hangover or altitude sickness as a consequence of imbibing this particular cocktail. Instead one feels the need to continue drinking the book without stopping for breath or coffee.
The novel is written in the style of a diary with short, usually one paragraph long, entries.
?Back then, a plane was called a ship. There were still cabins and a sense of voyaging. There was a reverence for flight because it was so dangerous. People lost themselves. There was no safety.?
This diary style way of writing gives the novel a sense of urgency. One feels that Amelia Earhart is writing down her thoughts before either she dies, possibly by her own hand, or before she forgets. In the author?s hands Amelia has something of a death wish. The aviatrix is trying to make sense of the world she lives in and the decisions she made. She enjoys the celebrity that has come with her exploits but feels guilty at doing so. She regrets her marriage to the publisher George Putnam but understands that were it not for him she would not have had the success she achieved.
?He?s the husband who made her famous, who devoted himself to her, even when she hated him, even when he hated her back. She needs him so that she can fly, so that she can escape from him, so that she can escape from the very people who worship her.?
At only 146 pages in length the book is short but very sweet. Jane Mendelsohn has taken the ?goddess of flight?, as she was described by the press, and brought her down to earth by encasing her feet in clay. But, though the author has endowed Amelia Earhart with flaws, insecurities and an occasional hint of self loathing, Amelia Earhart still remains a heroine.
Opening Line - "THE SKY IS FLESH."
Memorable Line - "Love is so transparent that if you are unprepared for it you will see right through it and not notice it."
Number of Pages - 146
Sex Scenes - Yes, but not explicit.
Profanity - None
Genre - Fiction/ Drama
Publishers Weekly, 1996-03-18 Past and present, fact and fiction, first-person and third blend into a life of the celebrated aviatrix-both before and after her famed disappearance in 1937, at age 39-that unfolds with the surreal precision of a dream and that marks first novelist Mendelsohn as a writer to watch. "The sky is flesh," begins the first of the scores of discrete vignettes and reflections that make up the narrative, an apt start to a story drenched in sensuality and the pursuit of it. The Earhart limned here is materialistic, glory-seeking, sexually hungry, outrageously self-absorbed and utterly charismatic. Telling her tale with ruthless honesty in both her own voice and that of the self she sees "from far away... ghostly, aerial," she speaks of her days as America's sweetheart, as the wife of publisher G.P. Putnam. Diverting from the historical record, she also speaks of the years after she and her navigator, Frederick J. Noonan, "a drunk," crash-land on a South Sea island that they name "Heaven, as a kind of joke," but that becomes a decent approximation as the years slip by and the castaways discover happiness in nature and in each other's arms. When rescue seems eminent, Earhart and Noonan take to the air one last time, and crash one last time, perhaps into eternity but in any case into an existence defined by not by control but by "abandonment"-a message in keeping with the story's theme but in fact an ironic one for a novel as calculatedly lovely and moving as this one. (Apr.)
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