LANDINGis an old-fashioned love story set in the early twenty-first century, a dark comedy about the peculiar pleasures and sorrows of keeping up long-distance relationships by plane, phone and Internet. Si;le (pronounced like Sheila), an Irishwoman with an Indian mother, is a stylish citizen of the new (expensive, stressful, pomo) Dublin. A veteran flight attendant at 40, she is getting itchy in her career as much as in her domestic life. Jude, a 25-year-old archivist, stubbornly attached to the tiny town of Ireland, Ontario, has never been on a plane before. Two worlds touch and snag at Heathrow Airport on New Year's Day, and over the course of a year, Jude's and Si;le's lives, and those of their friends and families, will be drawn into a new, shaky orbit. The local collides with the eclectic, the historical with the global.LANDING is an allusive, sparkling, dialogue-based story about some of the biggest questions: Which things about you make you you? Does where you live matter more than who you live with? What would you give up for love, and would you be an idiot to? Since the lovers are both women, it could be called a lesbian novel, but a post-closet one, which addresses its insights and jokes to the widest readership.
In her affecting fifth novel, Donoghue (Slammerkin) explores the idea that true love can conquer all. Jude Turner is a 25-year-old androgynous Luddite who's rooted to her small Canadian town of Ireland. She's also uneasy about flying, but forces herself to board a plane when she hears that her mother, visiting family in the U.K., may be ill. On the plane she meets the older, feminine, worldly SIle O'Shaughnessy, a flight attendant who lives in the other Ireland. After exchanging contact info, the duo part and find themselves thinking of one another and writing to each other as they lead their respective lives: Jude as the curator of a tiny museum who has the occasional dalliance with her former love, Rizla; SIle in bustling Dublin, entrenched in a complacent relationship with her longtime partner, Kathleen. Jude and SIle fall in love over the course of their correspondence and try to make their relationship work despite the distance between them, nay-saying friends, jealous exes and their own nagging doubts. That Jude and SIle are so vividly opposite is the slightest bit precious, but Donoghue mitigates the boilerplate aspects of this love story with an abiding compassion for her characters. There's a lot to like here, but nothing to really love. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
September 08, 2008
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