03 August 2009


superficially, the premises resemble each other. the differences are night and day.

in Flight of Passage by rinker buck, the author recounts the true story of an epic transcontinental flight made by rinker and his brother kernahan in the summer of 1966, in a rebuilt piper cub. his memoir is fascinating to the general reader as a coming-of-age story, and inspiring to pilots because the teenage brothers flew with only the most rudimentary instruments, and no radio. the style is factual and literal.

in Flying, by eric kraft, the author fashions a novel of delightful wit and depth and humor -- telling the story of a teenage boy who builds his own aerocycle (motorcycle with wings) from plans published in a fictitious magazine called Impractical Craftsman, which suspiciously resembles Popular Mechanics. it is two parallel tales -- (a) the original journey, taking place sometime during the cold war 1950s-60s, spent mostly in high-speed taxi rather than in flight, alternating with (b) a retracing of the trip by the author many years later, accompanied by his wife. the style is gleeful and ingenious. watch for the development of pataphysics, the science of imaginary solutions.

each narrative is compelling, and each writing style works. five stars.

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