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Up in the Air Paperback – 7 Jan 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (7 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848543263
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848543263
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

George Clooney is tipped for an Oscar for his new film but the real star is the Story! Up in the Air is a tale for troubled times (The Times)

'Kirn is such a sharp writer he gives your brain paper cuts . . . This is a book that will endure' (Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review)

'Up in the Air deliciously lambastes corporate America. Mr Kirn's satire ranges deftly over our contemporary business landscape' (The Wall Street Journal)

'Clever, lacerating . . . Smartly acerbic . . . Archly devastating post-social satire' (The New York Times)

'Kirn is a virtuoso observer of Americana . . . Terrifically funny and poignant . . . Beneath its glittering, comic surface, his novel asks if, in pursuing what we think we want, we might lose ourselves completely' (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

'Bitterly funny, minutely observed and deeply cynical . . . A virtuoso feat' (Newsday)

Darkly funny, this is a razor-sharp look at the peculiar world of air travel and soulless hotel rooms (News of the World)

Book Description

A brilliantly diverting novel tied in to a major film starring George Clooney and produced by Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking)


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's something of a truism that it takes a lousy book to make a great movie. Since I thought the film of this book was one of the best I'd seen recently, my expectations were not high when ordering it, but I was curious to see an alternative (indeed, the original) view of the world portrayed in the film. Ryan Bingham makes his living by firing people, is obsessed with collecting airmiles, likes the anonymity of air travel, is semi-estranged from his family and tries to get close to an attractive fellow passenger named Alex.

Apart from those basic elements which were transferred into the film, the story takes several different turns, one of which is Ryan's hopes for a new job with a shadowy firm of consultants which he thinks is secretly monitoring his movements. Another is his suspicion that he's the victim of identity theft, but the fact that he's obliged to immediately explain (p69) what that is gives you the first clue that the book has been around for a while (it turns out that it was published in 2001). There's also the fact that Ryan has to spend some time standing in line waiting to use a payphone (remember them?), or that he needs to describe (p30) how his PDA works. Finally, it's notable that his magic airmile target is a million miles (a tenth of what it had become inflated to in the movie); of course, as he says, it's just a number - like pi - but it means a lot to him, unlike a lot of other things (and people) that should matter more than that.

This is a nicely-written book, which can be read without too much involvement on the part of the reader. At times, the style reminded me of the best aspects of Douglas Coupland, and Ryan Bingham is a memorable, interesting character. It's just that the movie is so much better.
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By Harry Stainer on 22 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
When I first finished this book I felt somewhat underwhelmed, in fact quite dissapointed. It's been just under a year since I read the book and it's stayed with me, but I can't exactly why it has stayed with me, the ending is somewhat thought provoking but that wasn't it. The only thing I can pinpoint is how immersive the book is, it really captures who Ryan Bingham is and whilst reading the book you get a good feel for what it's like to be apart of Ryan's world and for that I give it a reccomend. It's a book that you have to think about after you have read it and for many it will be worth it
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is a good read yet the film is better. If your itching for more after the film then the book does offer more - many areas not covered in the film. If you haven't seen the film then the book holds it own... it is a hard read in certain points where the direction becomes a little hard to follow almost as if you missed a page or two.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B on 18 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is highly readable and completely fantastic. I've heard this author compared to Christopher Buckley and I can see where that is coming from as Kirn has produced a very sharp satire but it also has undertones of Joshua Ferris with the cynical aspect that runs through.

Following Ryan Bingham in his ultimate goal to accumulate a million air miles we are introduced to a cynical executive whose job is basically to fire people, career transition counselling. Whilst the satire and cynicism is laid on heavily but right the way through there is a feeling that not everyone is entirely trustworthy and there is definitely something else going on here.

I saw the film last night and whilst the book is very different if you enjoyed the film you will love this as the general point of both is pretty much the same.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lexx on 21 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm reviewing this book to try and balance the incredibly lame response I'm seeing from fellow readers. This must be the first fiction book I've read, where, upon finishing, I went straight back to the beginning and started again. It seems to me that people can't make the jump from the ( admittedly great ) Clooney film to this. The book's story reveals what a play-it-safe story arc the film actually was.
This is a classic 'American' book: Packed with super-smart dialogue, characters joust for position in the slipstream of capitalism, with no regard for geography or carbon emissions. The narrator, Ryan Bingham, is basically an existential philosopher slumming it in a job he knows is ridiculous. Walter Kirn, the author, is another in a long line of prose stylists who absolutely packs his books with sharp humour, crazy abstract thoughts and hilarious corporate guru-speak. If your brain is aligned in the correct way, you'll be shaking your head at the sheer density of quotes-per-page. Outstanding.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MR T GRAINGER on 1 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
A very interesting book in it's own right but nothing like the film. In the film they have skimmed off a few of the main characters but changed the plot completely. The book is much darker. Still an absorbing read though.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BS on parade on 9 May 2011
Format: Paperback
It's really good and interesting to begin with. It shows you another world (of super frequent fliers within America) that I've never specifically considered or seen depicted elsewhere.

Unfortunately the book lost me round about the last third. The writing style became more fragmented and `artier'. I often found I wasn't fully following what was happening as it shifted from place to place without being completely clear as to what was happening. With a bit of effort I understood, or at least I got the gist, of what or where things were happening.

The book isn't plot heavy and doesn't really develop the parts with more obvious story potential, such as the romance with an event planner. I went into the book expecting it to be light on plot and heavy on the central character's travelling world and inner-life, so the lack of a conventional plot with a clear destination didn't bother me.

It was an okay, decent novel that I'm happy to have taken the time to read. It was a little disappointing overall due to the weaker last third, but it remained readable throughout. I wouldn't exactly recommend it without reservations, although I would say it is worth reading.

Due to the lack of a straightforward story I can't see how a satisfying film could be made from a faithful adaptation of the novel. I get the impression the movie version, which I've not seen, takes massive liberties with the source material. I would expect the lead character, the event planner and the world of airports and hotel rooms, as depicted in the book, to be the only things to remain unchanged. The event planner romance I'm sure would be the much expanded upon to take centre stage.

NOTE: Less than a week later I watched the film version. Click on the comment button at the bottom to read my review of the movie.
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