Customer Reviews for

Dear American Airlines: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    The magic of Jonathan Mile┬┐s pen

    This is an astonishing novel. It is funny, witty, acerbic, mesmerizing, hilarious, hypnotic, dazzling, sad, and at times heart-breaking and very touching, all at once! How did Jonathan Miles accomplish this feat? Through the flight of his imagination and the magic of his pen, I suppose. Written in lively, abrasive, masculine, snappy, and yet strangely affecting prose, this book will delight, provoke, entertain and sadden the reader. Benjamin Ford, the protagonist of this novel, is flying from New York to Los Angeles to attend his daughter Stella¿s wedding. But in transit, at the O¿Hare airport, his connecting flight is suddenly cancelled, stranding him. He begins to worry that he will be late for the wedding. While waiting for more than eight hours at the air port ¿ and smoking seventeen cigarettes - for the next flight, he starts writing a letter of complaint to the American Airlines, demanding a refund of $392.68, the price of the round trip airfare. This letter of complaint grows in length, and matures into a funny, witty, mesmerizing novel. Benjamin, middle-aged, is a poet and writer he translates Polish novels into English. While writing the letter of complaint, he ponders about his failed marriages, his misdirected and ruined life, the time he wasted drinking heavily, his estranged daughter, his bed-ridden mother and the cramped apartment he shares with her. He also dwells on Walenty Mozelewski, the protagonist of the novel ¿The Free State of Trieste,¿ which he has been translating from Polish. Walenty has lost a leg to mortar shell in a war, and so he is physically crippled. Benjamin is crippled too. He is emotionally crippled, a victim mostly of self-inflicted wounds. Jonathan Mile's prose is mesmerizing: ¿In that eightish-hour period I've smoked seventeen cigarettes which wouldn't be notable save for the fact that the dandy Hudson News outlets here don't stock my brand so I'll soon be forced to switch to another, and while that shouldn't upset me it does. In fact, it enrages me. Here's my life in dangly tatters and I can't even enjoy this merest of my pleasures. Several hours ago a kid in a Cubs windbreaker bummed one of mine and I swear if I spy him again I'll smash him like a Timex. Cough it up, you turd. But then all this talk of smoking is giving me the familiar itch, so if you'll excuse me for a moment I'm off to the sidewalk, as required by law, to scratch it.¿ It is very rare to come across a first novel as charming and impressive as this. Jonathan Miles is an astonishing writer.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

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    Posted April 24, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2008

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