The Reading Room

The Airport Novel

Your pre-flight choice of book….

abdMy winter break is approaching  which signals the inevitable agonising over choices of reading material. Travelling solo allows more time to read so I usually work on one book for pre-flight and a little over and one for the flight (thirteen hours on a plane requires a good book) Of course I could leave it to chance and pick up a book at the airport but previous experience tells me that is a risky business.

I am not a book snob, far from it, but murder mysteries set in the Vatican don’t ring my church bell, there are only so many ISIS fighters one American can kill from a foxhole in Iraq and surely all of the dilapidated farmhouses in Provence are now the preserve of rich property developers? But that doesn’t mean one should stray too far from the literary traveller’s cliché! Yesterday I joined the ranks and bought a cheap second hand paperback copy of John Le Carré’s Absolute Friends (Hodder) as my homage to the holiday read.

As someone who blows hot and cold with post Smiley Le Carré I decided that £2 constituted a minor gamble  and so this will be my choice for travelling to and sitting in, Heathrow Airport for five hours. It lacks the shiny cover, it doesn’t say ‘If you like John Le Carré you will love this’ nor does it remind you it is his latest international bestseller. Those words are deal-breakers for this reader, sell a book by all means but don’t insult us.

So Le Carré it is, I must, however, confess to a quiet groan when I read that the main character is the son of an East German Lutheran pastor. Of course he is David…

2 replies »

  1. Re-read this last week, technically well written but self-indulgent and completely lacking any credibility in the time in which he set the book.


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