A Century of Stories about Flying
Open City Books
978-1-890447-51-9 • $15.95 • Paperback • June 2009
Over the last century, air travel has evolved from a high-risk experiment involving a few visionary pioneers to an efficientand often irritatingmeans for distributing masses of people to the far reaches of the globe. During its hundred-year history, air travel has yielded writing that is, by turns, heroic, dreamy, subversive, and utterly dire. This anthology traces this trajectory from the early letters and memoirs of Orville Wright and Charles Lindbergh, to the diaries of Amelia Earhart. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s heroism gives way to the darkly magical storytelling of Roald Dahl, and the spare, elegiac prose of master stylist James Salter. More recent stories by Erica Jong, Mary Gaitskill, Thomas Beller, Alice Munro, Tobias Wolff, and David Sedaris examine an array of contemporary subjects, from the addictiveness of mile-high sex, to etiquette for cramped seating, and accounts of racial profiling post9/11. An entertaining refuge for frequent fliers, and a gateway to dreams for nighttime readers, these writings exude the primal fear and cool perspective that can only come from seeing the worldand one’s own lifefrom a great distance. Flight Patterns renders airplane travel a time capsule of modern life.