A Week at the Airport
By Alain De Botton
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307739674, 112pp.)
Publication Date: September 21, 2010
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From the bestselling author of The Art of Travel comes a wittily intriguing exploration of the strange "non-place" that he believes is the imaginative center of our civilization.
Given unprecedented access to one of the world’s busiest airports as a “writer-in-residence,” Alain de Botton found it to be a showcase for many of the major crosscurrents of the modern world—from our faith in technology to our destruction of nature, from our global interconnectedness to our romanticizing of the exotic. He met travelers from all over and spoke with everyone from baggage handlers to pilots to the airport chaplain. Weaving together these conversations and his own observations—of everything from the poetry of room service menus to the eerie silence in the middle of the runway at midnight—de Botton has produced an extraordinary meditation on a place that most of us never slow down enough to see clearly. Lavishly illustrated in color by renowned photographer Richard Baker, A Week at the Airport reveals the airport in all its turbulence and soullessness and—yes—even beauty.
Alain de Botton is the author of three works of fiction and eight works of nonfiction, including How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, and The Art of Travel. He lives in London, where he founded The School of Life (www.theschooloflife.com).
"Simultaneously poignant and terribly funny . . . De Botton's most imaginative work yet." —Spectator
"Funny, charming, and slender enough to pack in your carry-on." —Daily Mail
"Surprising. . . . His observations on airport life are wry and thought-provoking." —Telegraph
"Shrewd, perceptive and gently ironic." —Independent