Tag Archives: paul la farge

Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge

Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge (unabridged audiobook read by Charles Carroll; 8.25 hrs on 7 discs): A 30-year-old man returns from what sounds a little like the Burning Man festival to learn that his grandfather has died and he missed the funeral. It’s the end of the 20th century and the internet bubble has burst. Facing dwindling employment in San Francisco, he journeys to the tiny town of Thebes, NY, to clean out his late grandfather’s house, where he spent his summers growing up. While he’s there he runs into childhood friends, reminisces about San Francisco of the mid-1990s, goes on about a strange homeless man named Swan, obsessively tries to dig up every scrap of information about the father who died before he was born, and generally lazes about. And that’s about it.

Alas, this book is pretty tremendously boring. For a while I was blaming the reader, whose repetitive cadence was awkward and unnatural, but I really think that’s only part of the problem. The bigger issue is that I simply could not sympathize with any of the characters. I don’t have daddy issues; I’ve never abandoned my family; I’m not a nymphomaniac; I think going through somebody else’s things is great fun; I don’t do drugs; I am not in a doomsday cult. In short, I did not care. I listened to the whole thing anyway, hoping that the plot would show up in the end. It didn’t.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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