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In-Flight Entertainment [Kindle Edition]

Helen Simpson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

Poignant, funny and perceptive, Helen Simpson's fifth collection of short stories deals with the full stretch, from birth to death and everything in between. A young woman's diary records a blackly farcical escape attempt involving flamenco, murder and wild picnics; two students fall in love then almost talk themselves out of it in an argument about the end of the world; a heartfelt anti-cancer spell is cast in the desire to protect a friend.

Moving effortlessly between tragedy and comedy, from the politics of wanderlust to domestic extremism, this is an intoxicating collection from a master of the genre.

Product Description


"It's all packed with Simpson's deadpan wit - she is one of the most sharply funny writers in England today" (Times Literary Supplement)

"When it comes to contemporary maestros of the short-story form, Helen Simpson is up there with Alice Munro... If they had any sense the 10:10 carbon-reduction campaign would distribute this book for free, such is its power" (Lucy Atkins The Sunday Times)

"The best short story writer now working in English" (Financial Times)

"In-Flight Entertainment is quite delectable, confirming her as the queen of the comic short story" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Helen Simpson can weave more thought and feeling into a thousand words than some achieve in as many pages" (Intelligent Life)

Book Description

'A masterful contemporary exponent of the genre. Simpson now deserves to be compared with Flannery O'Connor and Alice Munro' - Observer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 270 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (6 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,779 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She is so good! 10 Jun. 2011
This a return to form for Helen Simpson - not that any of her books of short stories are anything short of wonderful - but this spoke to me the way "Hey Yeh Right, Get a Life" did, when I had small children. Pefect short story writing, such an fantastic art form in her hands. Not a word overused, each sentence so thought provoking. Incredible to feel so immersed in the characters lives within a few phrases. I'll remember these little stories for a long time. PS Night Thoughts, published in Granta 115 makes it worth the purchase price alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simpson is ready for take-off. 29 May 2012
By Jimbo
In-flight entertainment is a collection of short stories by Helen Simpson, regularly held up as one of the best British writer of short stories at present, and it is not hard to see why. This slim volume contains fifteen stories, loosely based around the theme of climate change. So, the title story sees an irritated passenger on a plane insisting to a scientist that flying does not have an impact upon the environment, Ahead of the Pack sees a pitch for funding for carbon footprint reduction, and Diary of an Interesting Year witnesses the aftermath of the climate change tipping point in 2040. Whilst inherently political, she pulls these stories off in a thought-provoking way and without being at all hectoring.

But there are also engaging stories about more mundane matters - whether it is considering how best to dispose of a trapped squirrel, the most efficient way to dump a girlfriend or coping with a new hearing aid. There is a rich vein of wry humour running through these stories which are beautifully crafted. She managed to provide just enough detail to properly sketch out her characters, and there is not a wasted word amongst these stories

This the first book by Simpson that I have read, and I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of her output.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Varied and enjoyable collection of stories 5 Sept. 2014
A varied and enjoyable shirt story collection capturing well many foibles of human behaviour. In this volume the focus is on well to do and often middle aged people (though not exclusively - there are a couple about young people) with affluent lifestyles (lots of air miles if you are an academic), second homes, and perhaps second partners tucked away at work.

Several stories touch on climate change - as the unreflective meet true believers or as Simpson imagines a dystopian future. My personal feeling was that some of these stories were more successful, imaginativly, than others. Clearly there are many possible views on what the future could be like. If you read and believe Danny Dorling's book 10 Billion, you won't believe that quite the horrors await that some of these stories assume... But it is good to see a short story writer taking this on.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Deftness, skill and proselytising 6 Sept. 2013
By Peter D
I have read a couple of Helen Simpson short story collections previously, and enjoyed and admired their precision, gentle humour and sharp observation. 'In-Flight Entertainment' has these qualities too, but they are all a bit supplanted by a more urgent proselytising on the subject of climate change, global degradation and the end of humanity. This is the overt theme of several of the stories. Their effect was to make me nervous, while at the same time admiring Simpson's deftness and skill in the short story form.
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