Saturday, 3 May 2014

Landing Gear by Kate Pullinger

I went to Dubai from my home in Pakistan because I heard I could earn good money.

This novel has been timely released  - just after that incident when the kid travelling to Hawaii, I think it was, in the landing gear of a plane.

This opening sentence and paragraph, however, is not very remarkable. What follows is a little more interesting, discussing why this person decided to go abroad to work. At the end of this short one-page opening we learn that ...[it] was not as simple as I thought it would be. Which is a way of using words to replace an ellipsis, which I so desperately want to add at the end.

The chapters are short, the first three are all one page but chapter 4 or whatever it is, is a poem and I jerk my head away. I vowed after high school never to read poetry again (unless it's Rilke) and am annoyed at being tricked into some. I thought I was picking up a novel. I scan through the pages to see how many other poems are here: Not many, but there are more. I prefer my prose like my vodka, neat. I'm sure there are tons of people who would disagree with me and are lining up to buy this one, though.

First thing said:

"Am I dead?"

This is an interesting beginning for dialogue and moves plot forward. It comes at the end of chapter 5 or section 5, which I discover is a prologue as after that begins Part 1:

Later, much later, after it was too late and Harriet had too much time to dwell on it, she realized that it was all the fault of the planes.

Except it was the fault of the volcanoes. This is really preambling exposition, something that is learned and later forgotten after taking some random writing course.

Verdict: Pass 

I will give this a pass, as the narrative in the prologue is short and interesting, filled with conflict as the character gets into the landing gear of an airplane. Despite the poem, the writing is good and should hook.

Rudy Globird

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