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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014


    The Phantom sounds like a Deadpool wannabe.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    Not so great

    My mom and I both read this book and we both feel that this book was a great waste of our time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2004

    Two Hits, Now a Miss

    I liked Chang-rae Lee's first and second novels (NATIVE SPEAKER and A GESTURE LIFE) but ALOFT fails miserably to live up to their promise. The protagonist of ALOFT is Long Island resident, Jerry Battle, an Italian-American. While I applaud Lee for taking a chance in creating a character with an ethnicity totally different from his own (and it can be done and done well), in this case, it didn't work out. While A GESTURE LIFE (which portrayed the life of a displaced Korean man) was gracefully nuanced and the protagonist beautifully characterized, ALOFT is just plain awkward, clumsy and false in all respects. Jerry, who is going through a mid-life crisis, buys a small plane, not for travel or even for fun, but just because he wants to 'get out of the house.' This was laughably funny to me, despite the fact that ALOFT seems to want to be a 'dark' book and take itself so, so seriously. The huge subplot involving Jerry's daughter and her love life and medical problems wasn't interesting or even the slightest bit engaging. Instead of examining her feelings, Lee writes in a very melodramatic, soap operaish style that he seems to want us to find some meaning in. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't. Everything about ALOFT is very thinly drawn...the plot, the characters, the theme. The book actually reads more like an outline than the finished product. There was potential for interesting interaction, but Lee just never took advantage of it. The characters are as thin as is the plot. Lee identifies them only by name and ethnicity. Jerry's Italian-American, his deceased wife, Daisy, was Korean, his son, Jack and daughter, Theresa, is a Korean-Italian-American, his current girlfriend, Rita, is Puerto Rican. Rather than giving us characters with a rich and complex emotional life, Lee relies on ethnicity to do the job and, of course, it doesn't. We never really get to know the characters and truthfully, with the exception of Daisy, I really didn't want to know them. The dialogue (at least Lee wrote dialogue, too many of 'today's' authors aren't doing so) is awkward and clumsy and is used far too often for exposition. As thin and sketchy as ALOFT is, there are, surprisingly, times when it's very, very heavy-handed. These heavy-handed times occur mainly when Lee is attempting to make use of metaphor and symbol. Yes, Jerry does fly solo and we all know we all, ultimately, fly solo through life, but to use this metaphor in ALOFT was sort of like beating the reader over the head with the book. I can't relate well to fiction set in America, to fiction that embraces 'the American lifestyle' or American ideals, so maybe that was part of the problem, but I don't think so because I also know what makes a book 'good' and what makes one 'bad.' I think ALOFT is just a miserably bad book. That's not to say that Lee is a miserably bad writer. He's not. He certainly proved himself with his first two outings, especially A GESTURE LIFE. I can only recommend ALOFT to people who want something so thin to read they don't have to think, to people who aren't at all discriminating about their reading material or to those who love Lee's writing so much they want to read everything he writes, be it good or bad. I just hope Lee returns to form with his next book. Give ALOFT a pass and be happy about it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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