Wednesday, April 6, 2011

#14: Up In The Air by Walter Kirn

A man who fires people for a living is trying to hang on to his unhappy job long enough to pass one million frequent flier miles in Walter Kirn's Up in the Air.

I have always claimed to be an early adopter of Walter Kirn--and find his early work She Needed Me to be especially strong--but I somehow missed this one, along with a lot of other people.  It came out around the time of 9/11 and because of its subject matter, centered around airlines and airports and planes, seems to have slipped through the cracks.

Thanks to George Clooney and a film version the novel seems to be returning to its rightful place.  But the novel is a totally different animal than the film; less warm-hearted, and with a surprisingly unreliable narrator.

Most of the novel takes place in what Kirn calls Air World, the insulated world of the frequent flier that has its own rules and regulations.  And our flawed protagonist is constantly derailed in his attempts to cross that million-mile plateau by family issues, complicated lovers, work problems and the shadow of head-hunting firm that seems to be dogging his steps.

I found Up in the Air to by a great read, enhanced by a solid audiobook presentation by. Sean Runnette.  The book and movie are quite different beasts, but both are rewarding in their own ways.  Recommended.

I checked this out from Morrison-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana, and consumed it quickly.

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