Landing [NOOK Book]


A delightful, old-fashioned love story with a uniquely twenty-first-century twist, Landing is a romantic comedy that explores the pleasures and sorrows of long-distance relationships--the kind millions of us now maintain mostly by plane, phone, and Internet.

Síle is a stylish citizen of the new Dublin, a veteran flight attendant who’s traveled the world. Jude is a twenty-five-year-old archivist, stubbornly attached to the tiny town of Ireland, Ontario, in which she was born and ...

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A delightful, old-fashioned love story with a uniquely twenty-first-century twist, Landing is a romantic comedy that explores the pleasures and sorrows of long-distance relationships--the kind millions of us now maintain mostly by plane, phone, and Internet.

Síle is a stylish citizen of the new Dublin, a veteran flight attendant who’s traveled the world. Jude is a twenty-five-year-old archivist, stubbornly attached to the tiny town of Ireland, Ontario, in which she was born and raised. On her first plane trip, Jude’s and Síle’s worlds touch and snag at Heathrow Airport. In the course of the next year, their lives, and those of their friends and families, will be drawn into a new, shaky orbit.

This sparkling, lively story explores age-old questions: Does where you live matter more than who you live with? What would you give up for love, and would you be a fool to do so?

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Editorial Reviews

Sylvia Brownrigg
There's a line by the poet Robert Hass that might serve as an epigraph to the Irish writer Emma Donoghue's engaging new novel: "Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances." In Landing, she explores with a light, sure touch the subject of desire across distances of various kinds: generational, cultural, even spiritual—Donoghue handles the complexities of the women's relationship with ease, transcribing their good-natured banter as they try to see if they have a future together. And there are moments amid the jokes and the (infrequent) steamy nights when the melancholy of separation is dispelled, giving a hint of what a new life might look like. "Why was it, Sile wondered, that emigration sounded noble and tragic, immigration grubby and grasping?" This is just one of the many questions that unfold in this entertaining journey into what Jude calls 'the intersection of love and geography."
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In her affecting fifth novel, Donoghue (Slammerkin) explores the idea that true love can conquer all. Jude Turner is a 25-year-old androgynous Luddite who's rooted to her small Canadian town of Ireland. She's also uneasy about flying, but forces herself to board a plane when she hears that her mother, visiting family in the U.K., may be ill. On the plane she meets the older, feminine, worldly Síle O'Shaughnessy, a flight attendant who lives in the other Ireland. After exchanging contact info, the duo part and find themselves thinking of one another and writing to each other as they lead their respective lives: Jude as the curator of a tiny museum who has the occasional dalliance with her former love, Rizla; Síle in bustling Dublin, entrenched in a complacent relationship with her longtime partner, Kathleen. Jude and Síle fall in love over the course of their correspondence and try to make their relationship work despite the distance between them, nay-saying friends, jealous exes and their own nagging doubts. That Jude and Síle are so vividly opposite is the slightest bit precious, but Donoghue mitigates the boilerplate aspects of this love story with an abiding compassion for her characters. There's a lot to like here, but nothing to really love. (May)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Nervous and sexy and funny in the best romantic-comedy tradition...warmhearted, readable and entertaining."
Library Journal

The life of Jude Turner, a museum curator working in a tiny Ontario town, is well ordered but not very eventful. On an emergency trip to London, where her mother has taken ill while on vacation, Jude meets worldly Irish flight attendant Síle when the two are brought together via an odd midair mishap. Over time, they get to know each other through letters and email and begin a somewhat tenuous relationship complicated by existing relationships as well as the geographical distance between them. Irish writer and historian Donoghue (Slammerkin) excels at getting to the heart of her two main characters; the best parts of the novel involve the correspondence between the two women as their relationship deepens. Though the ending is somewhat predictable, the story succeeds as a light romance. Recommended for all public libraries.
—Caroline Mann

The Advocate
"A pleasurable escape."
From the Publisher

 "In Landing, [Donoghue] explores with a light, sure touch the subject of desire across distances of various kinds: generational, cultural, even spiritual."—The New York Times Book Review
"Her writing lacks nothing for brilliance, and her understanding of the human heart is unfailing."Chicago Tribune


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547541259
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/8/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 311,552
  • File size: 311 KB

Meet the Author

Emma Donoghue

Born in Ireland, Emma Donoghue spent many years in England and now lives in Canada. She is the author of Slammerkin as well as two other novels, a collection of short stories, and a collection of fairy tales. Her novels have been translated into eight languages.


Emma Donoghue is an award-winning Irish writer who lives in Canada. At 34, she has published six books of fiction, two works of literary history, two anthologies, and two plays.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, on 24 October 1969, Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours B.A. in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a Ph.D. (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her lover and their son.

Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Donoghue

"The youngest of eight children, I would never have been conceived if a papal bull hadn't guilt-tripped my poor mother into flushing her pills down the toilet.

"The nearest I've ever got to 'honest toil' was a chambermaiding job in Wildwood, New Jersey, at the age of 18. I got fired for my 'low bathroom standards.' "

"My lover and I have a one-year-old son called Finn, whose favorite thing is to rip books out of my hands and eat them.

"I am clumsy, a late and nervous driver, and despise all sports except a little gentle dancing or yoga.

"I have never been depressed or thrown a plate, which I attribute to the cathartic effects of writing books about people whose lives are more grueling than mine.

"I am completely unobservant and couldn't tell you how many windows there are in our living room.

"I would be miserable in beige; I mostly wear red, purple, and black.

"The way to my heart is through Belgian milk chocolate.

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    1. Hometown:
      London, England and Ontario, Canada
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 24, 1969
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dublin, Ireland
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and French, University College Dublin, 1990; Ph.D. in English, University of Cambridge, 1998
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

New Year’s Eve
DISORIENTATION (from French, désorienter, to turn from the east).
(1) Loss of one’s sense of position or direction.
(2) Mental confusion.
Later on, Jude Turner would look back on December thirty-first as the last morning her life had been firm, graspable, all in one piece.
 She’d been sleeping naked and dreamless. She woke at six, as always, in the house in Ireland, Ontario, where she’d been born; she didn’t own an alarm clock. In her old robe she gave her narrow face the briefest of glances in the mirror as she splashed it with cold water, damped down her hair, reached for her black rectangular glasses. The third and eighth stairs groaned under her feet, and the stove was almost out; she wedged logs into the bed of flushed ash. She drank her coffee black from a blue mug she’d made in second grade.
 As Jude drew on her second cigarette it was beginning to get light. She watched the backyard through a portcullis of two-foot icicles: Were those fresh raccoon tracks? Soon she’d shovel the driveway, then the Petersons’ next door. The neighbour on the other side was Bub, a cryptic turkey plucker with a huge mustache. Usually her mother would be down by now, hair in curlers, but since Boxing Day, Rachel Turner had been away at her sister’s in England. The silence trickled like oil into Jude’s ears.
 She’d walk the three blocks to the museum by seven so she could get some real work done before anyone called, or dropped by to donate a mangy fur tippet, because this afternoon was the post-mortem on the feeble results of the Christmas fundraising campaign. At twenty-five, Jude—the curator—was the age of most of the board members’ grandchildren.
 The phone started up with a shrill jangle, and though she was inclined not to answer it, she did. It was the accent she recognized, more than the voice.
 “Louise! Merry Christmas. Why are you whispering?” Jude broke in on her aunt’s gabbled monologue. “Not herself, how?”
 “I just don’t think—” Louise interrupted herself in a louder voice: “I’m only on the phone, Rachel, I’ll be right in.”
 As she stubbed out her cigarette, Jude tried to picture the house in England—a town called Luton—though she’d never seen it. “Put Mom on the line, would you?”
 Instead of answering, her aunt called out, “Could you stick the kettle on?” Then, hissed into the phone, “Just a tick.”
 Waiting, Jude felt irritation bloom behind her eyes. Her aunt had always liked her gin; could she possibly be drunk at, what—she checked the grandfather clock and added five hours—11:30 in the morning?
 Louise came back on the line, in the exaggerated style of a community theatre production: “Your mother’s making tea.”
 “What’s up, is she sick?”
 “She’d never complain, and I haven’t told her I’m ringing you,” her aunt whispered, “but if you ask me, you should pop over and bring her home.”
 Pop over, as if Luton were a couple of kilometres down the road. Jude couldn’t keep her voice from cracking like a whip. “Could I please speak to my mother?”
 “The yellow pot, “ Louise shouted, “the other’s for herbal. And a couple of those Atkins gingernuts.” Then, quieter, “Jude, dear, I must go, I’ve tai chi at noon—just take my word for it, would you please, she needs her daughter—”
 The line went dead. Jude stared at the black Bakelite receiver, then dropped it back in the cradle.
 She looked up the number in the stained address book on the counter, but after four rings she got the message, in Louise’s guarded tones: “You have reached 3688492 . . .”
 “Me again, Jude,” she told the machine. “I—listen, I really don’t get what’s wrong. I’d appreciate it if Mom could call me back right away.” Rachel must be well enough to use the phone if she was walking around making tea, surely?
 Jude cooked some oatmeal, just to kill a few minutes. After two spoonfuls her appetite disappeared.
 This was ridiculous. Sixty-six, lean, and sharp, Jude’s mother never went to the doctor except for flu shots. Not a keen traveler, but a perfectly competent one. Louise was six years her elder, or was it seven? If there was something seriously wrong with Rachel—pain or fever, bleeding or a lump—surely Louise would have said? It struck Jude now that her aunt had sounded evasive, paranoid, almost. Could these be the first signs of senility?
 Jude tried the Luton number again and got the machine. This time she didn’t leave a message, because she knew she’d sound too fierce. Surely the two sisters wouldn’t have gone out a minute after making a pot of tea?
 Her stomach was a nest of snakes. Pop over, as easy as that. The Atlantic stretched out in her mind, a wide gray horror.
 It wasn’t as if she were phobic, exactly. She’d just never felt the need or inclination to get on an airplane. It was one of those things that people wrongly assumed to be compulsory, like cell phones or gym memberships. Jude had got through her first quarter century just fine without air travel. In February, for instance, when much of the population of Ontario headed like shuddering swallows to Mexico or Cuba, she preferred to go snowshoeing in the Pinery. Two years ago, to get to her cousin’s wedding in Vancouver, she’d taken a week each way and slept in the back of her Mustang. And the summer her friends from high school had been touring Europe, Jude had been up north planting trees to pay for her first motorbike. Surely it was her business if she preferred to stay on the ground?
 Your mother’s not herself. What was that supposed to mean?
 Neither of them had called back. This whole thing, Jude told herself, would no doubt turn out to be nothing more than an inconvenient and expensive fantasy of her aunt’s. But in her firm, slightly childish script that hadn’t changed since grade school, she started writing out a CLOSED DUE TO FAMILY EMERGENCY notice to tape on the door of the one-room museum.
Rizla took the afternoon off from the garage to drive her to the airport in his new orange pickup. He was in a full-length shearling coat of Ben Turner’s; Jude had found it in a dry-cleaners’ bag in the basement, years after her father had decamped to Florida, and it gave her a shiver of pleasant spite to see Rizla wear it slung over a White Snake T-shirt stained with motor oil.
 White specks spiraled into the windshield; the country roads were thickly coated with snow. Jude took a drag on the cigarette they were sharing. “So, how come when I called, it said ‘This number has been disconnected’?” “Just a temporary misunderstanding withthose dumb-asses at the phone company,” he said out of the side of his mouth.
 “Uh-huh.” After a second, she asked, “What are your payments on the truck?”
 “Isn’t she a beaut?”
 “She is, she’s a big gorgeous tangerine. What are your payments?”
 Rizla kept his eyes on the road. “Leasing’s better value in the long run.”
 “But if you can’t cover your phone bill—”
 “Shit, if you’re planning to grill me on my budget all the way to Detroit, you can ride in the back.”
 “Okay, okay.” Jude passed him the cigarette. “Why wouldn’t either of them have called me back? I left three messages,” she muttered, aware of repeating herself.
 “Maybe your mom’s got something unmentionable,” he suggested. “She is British, after all.”
 “Like what? Bloody stools?”
 “Syphilis. Pubic lice.”
 She flicked his ear, and Rizla yelped in pain. She took the cigarette back, and smoked it down to the filter.
 “I bet the old gals are just getting on each other’s tits,” he said after a minute. “My sisters used to rip each other’s hair out, literally.”
 “All your sisters?”
 “Mostly the middle ones.” Rizla came fifth in a Mohawk-Dutch family of eleven. An only child, Jude had always been fascinated by the Vandeloos.
 “But if that’s all it is, why wouldn’t she just send Mom to a hotel? Why drag me halfway ’round the world with some line about ‘She needs her daughter’?”
 “England’s hardly halfway, more like a quarter,” said Rizla, scratching his armpit with the complacent air of a guy who’d been to Bangkok. “Hey, is it really Ma Turner’s health you’re freaking out about, or having to finally get on a plane?”
 Jude lit another cigarette. “Why do you call her that?”
 “Why shouldn’t I? When she brings her little Honda in for a tune-up, she always sort of squints at me, called me ‘Richard.’”
 “It is your name.”
 He snorted at that.
 When he wrenched his black ponytail out of his collar she noticed, for the first time, some streaks of gray. “It’s mostly the flying,” she admitted. “I’m nauseous already.”
 Copyright © 2007 by Emma Donoghue

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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Table of Contents

New Year’s Eve 1
Travel Sickness 7
Sic Transit 15
What When Where How Why 28
Genii Loci 33
Old Habits 44
Foreign Correspondents 54
Virtually Nothing 66
Family Feeling 75
Human Habitation 83
Purge 90
Consequences 105
Home Base 111
Peak Time 139
That Which Moves, That Which Changes 168
Songs of Absence 193
Here and Now 200
Geography Lessons 222
Heavy Weather 236
Flying Visit 250
Spring Forward, Fall Back 255
Living History 262
Going the Distance 276
Provenance 303
Place Markers 312
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Completely satisfying

    I had only read "Room", and I wasn't sure what to expect, but this story took me on a charming journey with wonderful mixes of cultures and conversations. I've lived my own long distance love story and can say the author totally captured the nuanced trajectory of love and angst. The characters and interactions will mingle with your own thoughts and make you smile.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    Good but not her best

    Fell in love with the author after room and slamerkin. Could have done without this one. The characters were okay but I found their relationship hard to one who has had along distance relationship.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Touching and true

    "HOOD" captured mu attention and so did this nook. Emma Donoghue is a brilliant and authentic writer. There were certainly scenes and sentences in this book that made me shiver. I bravo to Ms. D! Give this book a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2007

    Good, but doesn't stand up to her other work

    I really enjoy Emma Donaghue's writing, especially 'Hood.' 'Landing' is a nice story, told well and funny at many points. However, it didn't grab me like I thought it would. Still, it's a solid, romantic read.

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