Flight Patterns (Paperback)

A Century of Stories about Flying

By Dorothy Spears (Editor), James Salter, Mary Gaitskill

Open City Books, 9781890447519, 548pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2009

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Over the last century air travel has evolved from a high-risk experiment involving a few visionary pioneers to an efficient--and often irritating--means for distributing masses of people to the far reaches of the globe. During the hundred-year history of human air travel, it has yielded writing that is, by turns, heroic, dreamy, subversive, and utterly dire. This anthology traces this trajectory from the early letters and memoirs of Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, to the diaries of Amelia Earhart. Antoine de Saint-Exupery's heroism gives way to the darkly magical storytelling of Roald Dahl, and the spare, elegiac prose of master stylist James Salter. More recent stories by Erica Jong, Mary Gaitskill, Thomas Beller, Mike Albo, Maxine Swann, and David Sedaris examine an array of contemporary subjects, from the addictiveness of mile-high sex, to etiquette for cramped seating and accounts of racial profiling post-9/11. Flight Patterns promises an entertaining refuge for frequent fliers, and a gateway to dreams for nighttime readers. These writings exude the primal fear and cool perspective that can only come from seeing the world--and one's own life--from a great distance. Flight Patterns renders airplane travel a time capsule of modern life.