Sharp, engaging contemporary fiction from Governor General's Award winner Kate Pullinger, author of The Mistress of Nothing
A man falls from the sky and against all odds lands himself a new life.
Spring 2010. Harriet works in local radio in London, England. When a volcano explodes in Iceland and airspace shuts down over Europe stranding most of her colleagues abroad, she seizes the opportunity to change her working life. At the same time, Yacub, a migrant worker from Pakistan, is stranded in a labour camp in Dubai, an Emily, a young tv researcher, loses her father to a sudden heart attack. Michael, stuck in New York, travels to Toronto to stay with an old flame. And Jack, a teenager liberated from normal life by the absence of airplanes, takes an unexpected risk and finds himself in trouble.
Two years later, these lives collide dramatically when Yacub falls out of the landing gear of the airplane on which he is a stowaway and onto Harriet's car in a supermarket car park. Yacub's arrival in the lives of Harriet, Jack, Michael, and Emily catapults these characters into a series of life-changing events.
Based on a newspaper article Pullinger first read more than a decade ago, when the body of an airplane stowaway landed in a southwest London supermarket car park, Landing Gear explores what would happen if the stowaway survived, unscathed. From the ash cloud airspace shutdown in 2010, through 2012, and onto 2014, the novel is about the complex texture of modern life--airplanes, the internet, migrant labour, and the loneliness of the nuclear family.
KATE PULLINGER was born in Canada, and moved to London in 1982 where she currently lives. In 2009, her novel The Mistress of Nothing won the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, one of Canada's most prestigious literary prizes. Her prize-winning digital fiction projects Inanimate Alice and Flight Paths: A Networked Novel, on which Landing Gear is based, have reached audiences around the world. She collaborated with Jane Campion on the novelization of The Piano, and has written for film, television and radio. She is currently a professor of creative writing and digital media at Bath Spa University. Visit her at www.katepullinger.com. The author lives in London, England.
Winner of the 2014 Anne Green Award
“Kate Pullinger’s Landing Gear is a layered story about how we connect to one another but, ultimately, it’s a tale about what happens when secrets start to unravel. The B.C.-born author researched true stories of airplane stowaways to craft a novel that seamlessly connects characters in the British suburbs to the labour camps of Dubai.”
“Landing Gear is a sprawling story about the frenetic quality of contemporary life. It addresses teen drug culture, middle-age ennui, the challenges of globalization, and the changing role of the media, exploring the intersection of modern technology and the modern family. . . . There is an unexpected lightness to the narration, a quality that can be attributed to Pullinger’s sharp and precise prose. The book is constructed in short chapters with strong narrative momentum and tension, a strategy to capture today’s distracted reader. A fitting follow-up to its award-winning predecessor, Landing Gear is a beautiful and profound story about finding love, peace, and meaning in a too-busy world.”
—Quill & Quire (starred review)
“Buoyant and engaging.... Beautifully crafted.”
“In an utterly modern, spare novel, author Kate Pullinger gives readers an accurate, insightful glimpse at the world today.”
“Innovative, enthralling, kinetic, and often subversively funny. Alongside Landing Gear’s stowaway, Yacub, we free-fall and rip a hole right through modern society’s illusions of any shared comfort zone. I loved the headlong rush, the imperiled tenderness.”
—Kathleen Winter, author of Annabel
“Strap yourself in and get in a comfortable position. Once you start Landing Gear, you won't be able to put it down. Pullinger takes you on turbulent and exhilarating ride through modern family relationships, our cultural divide and the unexpected things that come crashing into our lives.”
—Brian Francis, author of Natural Order
"Landing Gear is a wonderful novel, a novel of secrets—it is a novel of many other things besides, but this is what held me to the narrative: secrets, each carefully and cleverly revealed, all abetting a propulsive storyline that offers up startling revelations to the very end. This is the work of a writer at the top of her game, and I absolutely loved it."
—Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City
“A volcano, an airplane, an immediate, long-ago fall. From an extraordinary premise – the disconnections of our airborne world – Kate Pullinger weaves together fragments of four lives, unfolding in disparate corners of the world, lives that intersect finally in small-town England. A portrait of a modern nuclear family – explosive, searing, and the basic unit of life – Landing Gear is truly a novel for our brave new world.”
—Merilyn Simonds, author of A New Leaf
"Kate Pullinger’s exquisite writing draws us into a world in which characters negotiate between the probable and the all-but-impossible. 'How can they survive this?' we ask ourselves, and then it hits us: we all do."
—Wayne Grady, author of Emancipation Day
“Pullinger’s is a well crafted and arresting chronicle, one sure to spark reader interest. It is a story about the politics of connection, about how odd coincidence and chance collision can affect the ‘flight paths’ of the unprepared. In this novel, a small, fragmented family may become a larger family, and may be able to mend.”
—The London Free Press