Dear American Airlines: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

What a great concept. What an entertaining book. Bennie Ford is stuck
at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on the way to his daughter's wedding, and
begins to write an irrate letter to American Airlines. The flight is
continually delayed and the letter expands into a hilarious and poignant
memoir of his life; growing up in New Orleans with his crazy mother
Miss Willa, and his father Henryk Gniech; his marriage and its failures;
his love for his daughter; and his riotously funny descriptions of
those around him in the airport. Jonathan Miles is the cocktails
columnist for The New York Times.

— Julie


Sometimes the planes don’t fly on time.

Bennie Ford, a fifty-three-year-old failed poet turned translator, is traveling to his estranged daughter’s wedding when his flight is canceled. Stuck with thousands of fuming passengers in the purgatory of O’Hare airport, he watches the clock tick and realizes that he will miss the ceremony. Frustrated, irate, and helpless, Bennie does the only thing he can: he starts to write a letter. But what begins as a hilariously excoriating demand for a refund soon becomes a lament for a life gone awry, for years misspent, talent wasted, and happiness lost. A man both sinned against and sinning, Bennie writes in a voice that is a marvel of lacerating wit, heart-on-sleeve emotion, and wide-ranging erudition, underlined by a consistent groundnote of regret for the actions of a lifetime -- and made all the more urgent by the fading hope that if he can just make it to the wedding, he might have a chance to do something right.

A margarita blend of outrage, wicked humor, vulnerability, intelligence, and regret, Dear American Airlines gives new meaning to the term “airport novel” and announces the emergence of major new talent in American fiction.

About the Author

JONATHAN MILES's first novel, Dear American Airlines, was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. A former columnist for the New York Times, he serves as a contributing editor to magazines as diverse as Field & Stream and Details, and writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review and The Literary Review (UK). A former longtime resident of Oxford, Mississippi, he currently lives with his family in rural New Jersey.

Praise For…

"[Dear American Airlines] a heartfelt exploration of one man's psychic deterioration and the slim reed of hope to which, miraculously, he still clings...Miles has created a human being adrift, like all of us, in circumstances mostly not of his making and with no other choice but to try to muddle through."

-- David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9780547237909
ISBN-10: 0547237901
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2009
Pages: 192
Language: English

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