Ryan Bingham's job as a Career Transition Counselor-he fires people-has kept him airborne for years. Although he has come to despise his line of work, he has come to love the culture of what he calls "Airworld," finding contentment within pressurized cabins, anonymous hotel rooms, and a wardrobe of wrinkle-free slacks. With a letter of resignation sitting on his boss's desk, and the hope of a job with a mysterious consulting firm, Ryan Bingham is agonizingly close to his ultimate goal, his Holy Grail: one million frequent flier miles. But before he achieves this long-desired freedom, conditions begin to deteriorate. With perception, wit, and wisdom, Up in the Air combines brilliant social observation with an acute sense of the psychic costs of our rootless existence, and confirms Walter Kirn as one of the most savvy chroniclers of American life. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Poorly Written, Hard to follow
Posted February 12, 2010 by Michael , Roswell, GAIf you enjoy poorly written novels without a clear plot, then this is the book for you. I am glad I read the book before seeing this at the movies. But then maybe the movie has a plot.
2 . So-So Reading
Posted December 31, 2009 by Miles , South Orange CountyThis ebook was one of the first downloaded onto my Sony Reader. The story itself was entertaining and funny in some spots, but sometimes the story appeared to be a running mix of scattered thoughts. Saw the movie afterwards, and quite honestly I enjoyed the screenwriter's artistic license version compared to the actual book itself.
September 24, 2002
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Excerpt from Up in the Air by Walter Kirn
to know me you have to fly with me. Sit down. I'm the aisle, you're the window -- trapped. You crack your paperback, last spring's big legal thriller, convinced that what you want is solitude, though I know otherwise: you need to talk. The jaunty male flight attendant brings our drinks: a two percent milk with one ice cube for me, a Wild Turkey for you. It's wet outside, the runways streaked and dark. Late afternoon. The first-class cabin fills with other businessmen who switch on their laptops and call up lengthy spreadsheets or use the last few moments before takeoff to punch in cell-phone calls to wives and clients. Their voices are bright but shallow, no diaphragms, their sentences kept short to save on tolls, and when they hang up they face the windows, sigh, and reset their watches from Central time to Mountain. For some of them this means a longer day, for others it means eating supper before they're hungry. One fellow lowers his plastic window shade and wedges his head between two skimpy pillows, while another unlatches his briefcase, looks inside, then shuts his eyes and rubs his jaw, exhausted.
Your own work is done, though, temporarily. All week you've been out hustling, courting hot prospects in franchised seafood bars and steering a rented Intrepid along strange streets that didn't match the markings in your atlas. You gave it your all, and for once your all was good enough to placate a boss who fears for his own job. You've stashed your tie in your briefcase, freed your collar, and slackened your belt a notch or two. To breathe. Just breathing can be such a luxury sometimes.
"Is that the one about the tax-fraud murders I'm hearing his plots aren't what they used to be."
You stall before answering, trying to discourage me. To you, I'm a type. A motormouth. A pest. You're still getting over that last guy, LA to Portland, whose grandson was just admitted to Stanford Law. A brilliant kid, and a fine young athlete, too, he started his own business as a teen computerizing local diaper services -- though what probably clinched his acceptance was his charity work; the kid has a soft spot for homeless immigrants, which pretty much describes all of us out west, though some are worse off than others. We're the lucky ones.