On a windy spring morning in an ancient Cretan village, Rory MacLean fell to earth. His mother had died a few months earlier and a single obsession had risen from his grief: the notion to build a feather-light flying machine. And so, on the island where Daedalus and Icarus had made mankind's maiden flight, MacLean journeyed back to beginnings, back into the Greek myths, and - with the help of his Cretan neighbours and plenty of wine - built a plane and tried to fly. 'Falling for Icarus' is at once a meditation on love, a celebration of the passion for flight and an hilarious, vivid portrait of a village. Its generous and exhilarating characters - Yioryio, the irrepressible cafe owner, dreamy, dying Aphrodite and divine Apostoli, would-be pilot and Greek god in a golden flying suit - restore MacLean's faith in life. Through them, he tells a soaring, moving story about how a dream can transform sadness. Reviews: 'The heart-warming evocation of one man's loving obsession: lyrical, funny, compassionate' - Colin Thubron; 'Touching, funny and informative… MacLean is a wonderfully deft writer' - The Sunday Telegraph; 'An intimate portrait of modern, rural, unheroic but still passionate Crete' - Sunday Times; 'Anyone who loves Crete should enjoy this book. And anyone who does not love Crete is only half alive' - William Palmer, Literary Review; 'A marvellously compelling story by any standards… destined to become a classic' - The Scotsman; 'Unbridled humour, suspense… [characters] spring from the page as if from myth' - Scotland on Sunday
Rory MacLean's eight books, including UK best-sellers 'Stalin's Nose' and 'Under the Dragon', have challenged and invigorated travel writing, and according to the late John Fowles are among works that 'marvellously explain why literature still lives'. During his research journeys, MacLean walked through the newly-opened Berlin Wall, met Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon and interviewed Pashtun elders at the Kacha Garhi refugee camp after the destruction of the World Trade Center. In a moving departure, his latest book 'Gift of Time' travels with his mother on her final journey.
His books have won awards from the Canada Council and the Arts Council of England, were shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Prize and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an active member of English PEN. He has also written and presented over 50 programmes for BBC radio and worked on movies with David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich.