In-Flight Entertainment (Large Print Book)
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Audio Download, Unabridged
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"It's all packed with Simpson's deadpan wit - she is one of the most sharply funny writers in England today"
'A masterful contemporary exponent of the genre. Simpson now deserves to be compared with Flannery O'Connor and Alice Munro' - Observer --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The title story concerns a socratic dialogue between two men in the first class section of plane. One is a global warming denier, the other a believer and moreoever a scientist who contributed to the studies into global warming. What follows are some dire warnings about whats to come: mass death, the loss of every facet of our priveleged existence, society breaking down into martial law, every man for themselves until the planet is unable to sustain human life on the surface anymore. It stays with you more for its surety in its doomsday portents and the vivid way Simpson describes it, and also because you hope it never comes to pass.
Similar stories follow in the book: "Ahead of the Pack" satirises corporate culture meshing with global warming warnings; "The Tipping Point" features a man unable to sustain his relationship with a woman who is obsessed with bringing peoples' attentions to the urgency of global warming; "Geography Boy" is similar, contrasting medieval visions of the end of the world as depicted in Revelation. "Diary of an Interesting Year" is maybe the best story here. It takes place in 2040 and is told in diary snippets by a woman living in Simpson's dire future. She fights for survival and all the action takes place in between the entries.Read more ›
The stories reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Galapagos in that most of them are set in the future, the near-enough to be uncomfortable future at that. I’m like most of my friends and family, we consume things we don’t need – and recent events in Syria warn that we may be just on the edge of a complacency that may kill us all. The reality is that we are not preserving our planet, we are consuming all it provides and asking for more. Some of us think this is nonsense. More and more of us are coming to see that life moves on and if we don’t move with it, we will be left behind.
The subject in question is global warming and what we might be able to do about it. Little pin-pricks of sentences stand out. “I know, I know, there are still people who say it isn’t really happening but they are like my weight-loss clients who say ‘It’s glandular’ or ‘I’ve got big bones. What they’re really saying is ‘I’m not ready to change.’
These stories are wise beyond their age. They are also very human, very acute. We must take note or we may not have a future to waste. “Oh reason not the need,” as Shakespeare said.
A couple of fantasy moments could have been explored in more depth, mainly "The Festival of the Immortals", but even with the shade of Shakespeare somehow lurking in the wings of a literary festival, the story itself is humdrum and lacks conflict, resolution, and, frankly, a point.
Fortunately, I DON'T think this represents the entirety of the short story genre, I think that genre is much wider than this, and while a certain tendency towards vignettes seems to have found favour with the literary critics, it does very little to appeal to this reader.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full disclosure: I do not read many short stories. But this is a nice collection - very contemporary, I read them after coming across Helen Simpson for the first time in a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Zamboni
Some good stories in here but nothing particularly spectacular. None of them stayed with me or made a significant impact. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Shannon
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... Read morePublished on 5 Sept. 2014 by William Jordan
I have read a couple of Helen Simpson short story collections previously, and enjoyed and admired their precision, gentle humour and sharp observation. Read morePublished on 6 Sept. 2013 by Peter D
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... Read morePublished on 29 May 2012 by Jimbo