- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (24 Sept. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846683599
- ISBN-13: 978-1846683596
- Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 1 x 19.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary Paperback – 24 Sep 2009
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You'll read this book with a wry smile. I love the way he sees the airport's security staff as 'like thriller writers ... paid to imagine life as a little more eventful than it customarily manages to be'. For his part, he gives meaning to things most people would see as meaningless - a very useful talent (William Leith Evening Standard)
Funny, charming and slender enough to pack in your carry-on... (Daily Mail)
Simultaneously poignant and terribly funny ... de Botton's most imaginative work yet (Spectator)
He makes a fine fist of pondering transient life in Terminal 5. (The Times)
Shrewd, perceptive and gently ironic ... At de Botton's T5, banality and sublimity circle in a perpetual holding pattern (Boyd Tonkin Independent)
This is best read sitting in the afternoon sunlight with a glass of wine to add to the cumulative appreciation of this interesting and insightful book. (Canberra Times, Australia 2010-02-06)
Alain de Botton's amusing, small book should not be missed by people of the Third Age ... it's jolly, perceptive and human (Adelaide Review, Australia 2010-02-01)
I read Alain de Botton's A Week at the Airport with smiles of recognition, nods of approval and sighs of admiration. Most people can't wait to get away from airports. I'm very glad he stayed. (Michael Palin Guardian)
An uplifting and unique journey through the days and nights of the UK's largest airportSee all Product description
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That said, 'A Week at the Airport', for all its undeniable flaws, has enough positive facets to make it worth reading. De Botton comes up with some superb conclusions, at times, such as his well-wrought contention that though our often troubled minds and lives are something we cannot part with when we fly, there is no service at an airport for existential problems (though the idea of one existing seems both, as he implies, alien, and yet necessary). In terms of comparisons and image, there is no doubt that this is an interesting text. Depictions of Heathrow's architecture, with its nods towards optimism and positive thinking, are excellent; and his linking of his topic to authors, philosophers, artists etc., is something he does with deftness, even if the comparisons are sometimes a touch pretentious. It's hard to say whether I would recommend 'A Week at the Airport', as it is a book which will, with its lengthy abstractions and love of academic reference, certainly divide readers, but if philosophy and flight are both amongst your interests, and you know your Mark Twains from your Milan Kunderas, then this could be the perfect book for you.
I work at an International Airport- not Heathrow- but have spent a bit of time working overtime in Terminal 4.
Therefore I was expecting a inside view of the new Terminal 5, the passengers and the workers, with interesting stories.
Unfortunately, I found this book shallow and disappointing. A week is not enough time to garner a good overview of an Airport and all the characters and situations that arise.
An Airport is a twenty four hour place with the same number of inhabitants as a small city; everyone has a story to tell- sadly not explored in this book. This a waste of a good opportunity.
If you want a good read on what goes on behind the scenes at a busy International Airport- read 'Airport Babylon' or watch 'Come Fly with Me', although that is a spoof comedy programme- it is a lot truer than this book.
Sorry- I thought this book a waste of time.
I know that size isn't everything but I was just getting into the book when abruptly, it finished.
The concept was fascinating and is examined by the author almost as much as the assignment itself; an airport employs its own resident author to write text about the experience of living in an airport from a unique perspective.
I found the end result both intriguing and almost poetic in its observations and creed. As mentioned above the author does spend quite a long time the introspective element of the project and consequently himself; but the book simply comes alive in your hands with his stories of the other people who go into giving the space that is Heathrow its personality. My personal favourite is his description of the man going on holiday as a solution to all his problems, not realising that he will be bringing all his problems with him, as he himself is going on holiday not some disembodied version of himself.
I recommend this book (unsurprisingly) to be read whilst sitting in the airport itself. The text lends itself to its environment effortlessly. However, it will only kill an hour, so it's probably as well to pack another book or two, in case of the inevitable delays.
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