Monday, January 30, 2017

Flight of Dreams

Book 10 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from January 23 - January 29

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Summary (via the book jacket)
On the evening of May 3, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems, the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart, a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world's largest airship, an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany, and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed.
Flight of Dreams is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe, and before them is looming disaster. But, for the moment, they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.
Brilliantly exploring one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century, Flight of Dreams is that rare novel with spellbinding plotting that keeps you guessing until the last page and breathtaking emotional intensity that stays with you long after.

My Opinion
Before reading this book I had the reaction that I'm sure many people would.  The Hindenburg is one of those things that everyone's heard of but who could honestly say more than 1 or 2 facts about it?

After reading this book I have the same reaction.  The author really put the "fiction" in "historical fiction".  The names of the passengers are the same (as well as who lived or died; if they lived in real life, they lived in the book) and the flight is the same but all the conversations and events during the flight are imagined.  Which is okay but not what I expected.  This turned out to be a story that just happened to take place on the Hindenburg.  As a story, there was so much going on and so many problems that I wanted to read it quickly and find the resolution because it was making me uncomfortable.

I'm now inspired to find out more about the Hindenburg, but probably from the non-fiction section.  And I would like to visit the website referenced in the author's notes,

A Few Quotes from the Book
"[Max] knows that in nine days, when his time comes to sit in that chair and give testimony, he will not tell them the truth. Instead he will look over Schroeder's shoulder at a point on the far wall and tell the lie he has already decided upon. It is the only way to protect Emilie. And the others. Max Zabel will swear before God and this committee that it was an uneventful flight."

"This is a world of numbers and precision, a world where you do one thing and there is a specific, predictable outcome. And it is in this moment of deep concentration that he is struck by a thought: it is a pity that he cannot chart the human heart."

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