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Aloft
     

Aloft

3.8 22
by Chang-rae Lee
 

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The New York Times–bestselling novel by the critically acclaimed author of Native Speaker and A Gesture Life.

At 59, Jerry Battle is coasting through life. His favorite pastime is flying his small plane high above Long Island. Aloft, he can escape from the troubles that plague his family, neighbors, and loved ones on the ground. But

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Aloft 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chang-rae Lee's "Aloft" serves as a poignant example for us to be human first, and be successful second. A young retiree assesses his life and legacy over the course of the novel. He realizes how his escapism and indifference to friends and family have embedded him in a series of unfortunate situations, symbolized most effectively by his love of the silent observational trips he makes while piloting his plane. Gradually, as he feels the life he wants slipping away, he throws himself into the task of re-building all his past relationships, with relative success. These lessons come subtly at times, and at others are quite blatant. All are padded by the author's voice, which emerges regularly as almost an amused third party, someone to read along with you, rather than the creator of the tale. Every word is purposeful. Every story told within the larger narrative is meaningful, reinforcing the main points or providing cathartic asides to take the pressure of the moment off for a bit. I came away from this book feeling renewed, refreshed, and wanting to make more from my life than I already have. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Phantom sounds like a Deadpool wannabe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its really good! A bit vague and hard to follow in places, but i was going fast and it was partly me. If you want an rp to join, join the sewoa rp at sewoa first res. We accept anyone and everyone. Very good! ([Blank])
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh yeah!!! Cliffie! This is great keep going!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That story is really interesting so far! I really wanted to read on to see what happened next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Life of The Phantom Prologue Phantom sat on the rooftop, gazing out across the ruined city with his "creepy" blood red eyes. Twilight had fallen across the many buildings, ruined and new, elthough the sirens, screaming, and many more disturbing sounds in the air did not cease. These days, they never stopped. Phantom remembered when things were different, much different. Agro City used to be a plave of entertainment, laughter, and peace. But that was before Razor came and ruined it all, ruling the city with an iron boot. 'Razor,' Phantom made a small, angry growling noise in his throat when he thought about that man. If anyone wanted to know why, they could just look around; Razor had ruined the city, turning peace into chaos. Phantom utterly and completely hated Razor, but not just for that one reason; there were many he could name. Razor had only one main obstacle, of which Phantom supported; the other obstacles Razor could deal with easily. That obstacle was The Phantom, an elusive assassin/thief. He stole weapons, cut off supplies, ambushed and killed many of Razor's followers, pretty much just anything to tick Razor off. Phantom smirked instantly, knowing who The Phantom was -- himself. Phantom shook his head to clear his complicated thoughts. He stood up and began to pace across the rooftop. His black assassin's uniform, black-as-night hair, and dark skin made him blend in with the growing darkness that blanketed the city. The moon cast an eerie glow over his dark form, making the metal on Phantom's weapons- including daggers that hung from his belt,the swords strapped over his back, the two hand guns strapped over his chest, and the small knives in his many hidden pockets -gleam dimly. "Well, time to work," Phantom murmured under his breath as night settled completely. He took a running leap and began to jump from rooftop to rooftop. After a while Phantom stopped to study his surroundings. He saw the building he was looking for and smiled. Phantom took a grappling hook from his belt and through it across the roof of the building. He jumped off the roof he was currently on and began to scale the new building. He reached the roof and removed the top of the air vent. Phantom crawled through stealthily, then stopped at one point, looking through the shafts. He studied the many weapons in glass displays, and frowned when he didn't see the one he wanted. 'Oh well, I'll just make do with what I have,' Phantom thought as he crawled out of the air vent and onto the roof again. He took another running leap and practically flew through the air to the nearest rooftop, continuing to move quickly but silently through the city. Soon Phantom paused again on a rooftop, spotting a large, silvery building a yard or two in front of him. 'Bingo,' He thought smugly. He moved closer, though not letting himself be spotted. Phantom removed one of his hand guns, holding it in his hnd, and looked through the glass. He still kept quite a distance away, so he wouldn't be seen by anyone there. Phantom finally saw his target -- one of Razor's head scientists. Phantom smirked, then aimed with his gun where the man stood in the building, making sure he wouldn't miss -- he couldn't afford to miss. "Razor, you made me suffer. Let's just say I'm returning the favor," He mumbled to himself, then pulled the trigger of the gun. ((Uh, so yeah, this is just an experiment...))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
Great story - if a touch full of "waxing the bat", if you will. Outside of that, it has well-constructed twists. The reader feels empathy for the family - even though it takes awhile to get there. I enjoyed that journey! Ending - well done!
Bethel Tan More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so boring I almost fell asleep at every other page. I saw it received such great reveiws that I thought the story would somehow develop to match the reviews. However, this book is all flowery descriptions and the story never develops...typical modern writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The process of transformation of Jerry Battle, the 59 years old character who is an emotionally unavailable father, lover, and son, made me cry, and laugh, sometimes at the same time. The book took me on a great journey as I quietly applied Jerry's charactertics and struggle to the few people who are important, but distant, in my life. A great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chang-Rae Lee has written an inspired novel that is eloquent in its lonely disengagement, which is what most of us experience, if we're honest, with our own heartbreaking families. I recommend this one for anyone who loved Jennifer Paddock's lyrical and similarly cathartic debut, A SECRET WORD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thoroughly enjoyed this book a great deal: his writing is always conscious, lyrical and uncanny. yet, i was disturbed by the last review on this site. first, mr. lee is NOT chinese. not all asians are chinese. and i believe that all asiasn are QUITE capable of greatness VERY well beyond the stereotypical limits you have mentioned. please. as i quote lee, control and correct your 'hegemonic colonialist' comments.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been eagerly awaiting this novel since I finished 'A Gesture Life' and Mr. Lee did not disappoint. I think Mr. Lee is a master of pace and tempo as those two things mirror the main character's life and also become characters themselves. Just like in his two previous books, Jerry Battle is a person concerned with how he is perceived except that Jerry deals with this internally, trying to keep everyone else insulated away from his potential inner turmoil. Instead, what he has done is insulate himself from the full effects of the turmoil around him and from reality. Another brilliant character study and a thoroughly satisfying read. I guess it is back to eagerly awaiting another book.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Aloft is very gripping and moving. It deals with man heading towards the dusk of his life who is still somewhat unwilling to face the emotions of his life head on. Instead, he escapes. Even when love's leave him, he doesn't face it, he escapes. Even when his daughter (who is pregnant) could die, he doesn't face it, he escapes. I felt myself praying for him to just let go, just to feel something and simply be a part of what was happening to him, instead of running away from it. I read this book very quickly as it keeps you involved nearly every step of the way. I really enjoyed this book. I gave it four stars, instead of five, however, because part of me feels like this story has been done before. The writing is orginal and there are a lot of elements about the story that are unique in themselves, but still I couldn't help but feel like 'oh, this story again' Nonetheless, it is a story worth hearing again as it helps us as individuals cope with our everyday trial and tribulations. Might I advise that you also read Lucky Monkeys In The Sky (by Michele J. Geraldi.)Similar emotions are found in that book, similar 'running' away and incapability to deal with life's difficulties. I think her book is much more original than Aloft, though, as it deals with new problems, outrageous problems, that move you beyond what you thought words possibly could. Read Monkeys first, as soon as you can, because it is something you really should just read for your betterment, and then pick up Aloft and join the BN bookclub. Should be fun to discuss.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not as good as Native Speaker, but worth reading...