Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This month, I turned to Mr. Internet for inspiration. While updating bibliographies at work, I came across this post on the Art of Manliness blog -- 100 Must Read Books: The Essential Man's Library. There are lots of pictures of mustachioed men splashed across the blog, and nothing says manly like a nice, waxed handlebar mustache, right? I knew I could trust the compilers of this list to lead me to some great books you guys might love. There are some great titles on the list, but the one that caught my eye was Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Saint-Exupéry might be best remembered as the author of Le Petit Prince, but he was also a pioneer of aviation and wrote a couple well-loved and well-regarded books about the early days of aviation. He disappeared somewhere over the Mediterranean in 1944 and is presumed to have died on that flight.

Night Flight is the story of three flights, from Patagonia, Paraguay and Chile, all headed to Buenos Aires to drop off mail for the overnight plane to Europe. The action of the story covers one night. Night flights were a new service because it was incredibly dangerous to fly at night, even in the best weather. And on the night this story takes place, a storm is coming. Not all of the flights are going to make it to Buenos Aires safely. Adventure, danger, tragedy -- Night Flight is the perfect story.
This book was quite the page turner. I had to read it in two sittings because I had to know who made it in alive. I kept picturing George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, in costume from The Perfect Storm, as a couple of the pilots, even though they were far too old to play the roles. Something about the air of doom that surrounds their characters fits the book, though. And I'm really surprised this book hasn't been made into a movie yet. It's perfect for a summer blockbuster. I'm going to stick with Clooney and Wahlberg as pilots because I am out of touch with the newest crop of hunky twenty-somethings in Hollywood. Suggestions are welcome. I'm happy to peruse the entertainment magazines -- all in the name of research of course.

My grandfather was a pilot at the same time, so I grew up listening to stories of his exploits, but even still, I had no idea just how dangerous the early days of flight were and how physical flying a plane was. No digital co-pilots and black boxes. If you like this story, as I did, and want to learn more about the early days of flight, also as I do, I recommend checking out Saint-Exupéry's memoir Wind, Sand and Stars. I've started it a couple times but have gotten distracted with school work, but what I've read, I've loved.

cross posted at my reading blog: Library Lass (Adventures in Reading)

1 comment :

Colleen said...

This book had a HUGE influence on me (and my own book). Saint-Ex was an amazing writer it was such a loss that he died during the war.