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.