Love in Mid Air

( 39 )

Overview

A chance encounter with a stranger on an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the community. She finds herself cutting through all the instincts that say "no" and instead lets "yes" happen. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, ...

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Love in Mid Air

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Overview

A chance encounter with a stranger on an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the community. She finds herself cutting through all the instincts that say "no" and instead lets "yes" happen. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. There are consequences for Elyse, her family, and her circle of close friends, all of whom have an investment in her life continuing as normal. But is normal what she really wants after all? In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find—and follow—her own path to happiness.

An intelligent, sexy, absorbing tale and an honest look at modern-day marriage, Love in Mid Air offers the experience of what it's like to change the course of one's own destiny when finding oneself caught in mid air.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"An intense, thoughtful novel about love and friendship, or the lack thereof, in a marriage."
People
"3 ¿ stars. Astute and engrossing, this debut is a treat."
People Magazine
"3 ¿ stars. Astute and engrossing, this debut is a treat.
author of Season of Open Water Dawn Clifton Tripp
"Funny, sexy, heartbreaking, wise. Love in Mid Air is the kind of novel you will stay up late for. I read the first page and was hooked, I couldn't put it down. It is not simply the story of a divorce, the story of an affair, the story of one woman caught between two men; it is a delicate exploration of the pull that almost every woman will feel at some point in her life for the unhindered freedom of 'something more."
Susan Wiggs
"LOVE IN MID AIR is a breath of fresh air for readers. It's a candid, often painfully funny look at modern love and friendship, with some surprising twists and turns along the way. A book to savor--and then share with your best friend."
From the Publisher
"3 ½ stars. Astute and engrossing, this debut is a treat."—People

"Sharply written and emotionally accessible. A modern take on adultery that does not shy away from the costs—and benefits—of a post-marriage life."—Kirkus

"An engaging account of a woman contemplating divorce. Though this story is one that readers may have seen before, Wright delivers fresh perspective and sympathetic characters few writers can match."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An intense, thoughtful novel about love and friendship, or the lack thereof, in a marriage."—Booklist

"LOVE IN MID AIR is a breath of fresh air for readers. It's a candid, often painfully funny look at modern love and friendship, with some surprising twists and turns along the way. A book to savor—and then share with your best friend."—Susan Wiggs, author of The Summer Hideaway

"Funny, sexy, heartbreaking, wise. Love in Mid Air is the kind of novel you will stay up late for. I read the first page and was hooked, I couldn't put it down. It is not simply the story of a divorce, the story of an affair, the story of one woman caught between two men; it is a delicate exploration of the pull that almost every woman will feel at some point in her life for the unhindered freedom of 'something more."—Dawn Clifton Tripp, author of Season of Open Water

Publishers Weekly
Wright hits it out of the park in her debut, an engaging account of a woman contemplating divorce. Despite finally getting her husband, Phil, to attend counseling sessions with her, Elyse Bearden realizes her marriage is dead in the water. Though Phil’s a doting father and a decent man, he’s also the occasional jerk who snickers at his wife in lingerie and is generally indifferent to her. Elyse already knows she’s going to leave her husband when she meets Gerry Kincaid and soon begins an affair that allows her to escape from the crushing banality of her suburban life. Serving as Elyse’s foil is her beautiful best friend, Kelly, now married to an older, wealthy man. While the idea of housewives complaining about their husbands over lunch may strike some as a conventional hen-lit trope, Wright conveys friendships and the blasé everyday with authenticity and telling detail, while passages depicting Elyse’s inner life are rife with the same wit and insight that infuse the dialogue. Though this story is one that readers may have seen many times before, Wright delivers fresh perspective and sympathetic characters few writers can match. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Elyse is a bored Southern suburban housewife. She doesn't have the time or the energy to devote to her passion for art pottery, her circle of friends from church act more like enemies most of the time, and her husband just doesn't understand her anymore—if he ever did. A brief encounter with a handsome man on a plane sends Elyse into a spiral of deceit and confusion as she embarks on an affair. As Elyse searches for more from her life, she realizes that it's time to break away from her comfortable but all-wrong life and seek a more fulfilling existence. VERDICT Debut novelist Wright's characters are realistic but not particularly appealing (it's unclear why Elyse puts up with friends who aren't very nice to her most of the time). Steamy scenes describing Elyse's sex life with both her husband and her lover are unexpected, and at times, the references to church cause the story to lean toward Christian fiction. Recommended for sophisticated readers and larger women's fiction collections.—Rebecca Vnuk, Forest Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Unhappily married woman jumps into a life-changing affair with a man she meets on a plane. With a successful dentist husband, adorable young daughter and close-knit group of female friends, Elyse, like so many heroines who have it all, could not be more miserable. She's stifled by her suburban life, and she cannot communicate with her taciturn hubby, Phil. She fortunately happens to have a creative outlet (she's a talented potter) and it is during a flight for work that she finds herself seated next to Gerry, an attractive Boston-based investment banker who, like her, has a spouse at home. The two strangers have an instant rapport, and back at home in Charlotte, N.C., she calls him. That leads to an erotically charged encounter in New York, followed by brief monthly meetings that help to convince her that marrying Phil was a mistake. But while Gerry certainly seems besotted with Elyse, he offers her no promises. Phil, unaware of her infidelity but sensing her growing unease with their life, agrees to marriage counseling, as long as they use his best friend Jeff, their minister, as mediator. Big mistake. Elyse goes along with it while mentally making plans to leave him. Meanwhile, her affluent inner circle senses something is amiss, with her best friend Kelly, herself in a less-than-ideal marriage, feeling threatened by Elyse's risky behavior. Knowing full well how her actions will impact her entire community, Elyse bides her time, until a shocking act of violence forces a decision. So will she choose her husband, her lover or neither? Sharply written and emotionally accessible, Wright's debut offers a clear-eyed taste of hope without letting anyone, especially Elyse, off the hook. Amodern take on adultery that does not shy away from the costs-and benefits-of a post-marriage life.
author of In the Middle of All This Fred Leebron
"Kim Wright's brilliant first novel is not only funny and wise, but also illuminating in surprising and fresh ways, as she shines an unforgiving and yet deceptively generous light on modern day marriage and takes us to places in it that we have never seen before. This is a wonderful read, from first page to last, for anyone who has ever been married or has ever comtemplated it."
author of Name All the Animals. Alison Smith
"From the first line I was drawn in to Wright's marvelous novel. This is a spare, intense, honest and sexy book, simmering with love, powered by the will of one woman who, despite the odds, demands that she choose her destiny."
author of The Summer Hideaway Susan Wiggs
"Love in Mid Air is a breath of fresh air for readers. It's a candid, often painfully funny look at modern love and friendship, with some surprising twists and turns along the way. A book to savor—and then share with your best friend."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446540438
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/14/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 973,132
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kim Wright has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than twenty years for many magazines including Wine Spectator, Self, Travel & Leisure, and Vogue, and has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. She is the food and wine editor for Charlotte Taste. She has written the annual Fodor's Walt Disney World with Kids for 18 years and also writes erotica. This is her first novel. Kim lives in Charlotte, NC.

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First Chapter

Love in Mid Air


By Wright, Kim

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Wright, Kim
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446540445

Fall

Chapter One

I wasn’t meant to sit beside him. It was a fluke.

It’s the last Sunday in August and I’m in Phoenix for a pottery show. I won a prize for my glazing and sold seventeen pieces, so I’m feeling good. On the morning I’m due to fly out, I go for an early hike in a canyon behind my hotel. Arizona’s deceptive. It’s cool in the morning so you climb all the way to the top of the trail, but an hour later, when the sun is fully up and you’re winding your way back down, you can feel a pulse in the dome of your head and you remember that this is the West, not the East, and out here people can die from the heat. By the time I get to the bottom I’m so dizzy that I bend my head over a drinking fountain in the hotel lobby and let the water run over the back of my neck until my vision returns to normal.

I drive to the airport, turn in my rental car, go through security, call home, eat a burrito, and drag my carry-on to the plane. There’s a man beside me in 18A, a man with a strong accent who immediately begins explaining to me that his son is stuck in 29D and he doesn’t have much English and would I mind switching seats with him? Twenty-nine D is a hell seat, near the back and in the middle of a row. I don’t want to switch. There’s burrito juice all over my shirt and my hair has dried funny from being washed in a water fountain. I’m hot and tired and all I want to do is get home. But when Tory was little I was always asking strangers to help me in airplanes and most of them were nice about it. So I say sure, shove my magazine into my bag, and go trudging to the back of the plane.

The kid in question turns out to be about thirty years old. I try to explain that we’re switching seats by showing him my boarding pass and pointing to his and saying, “Papa, Papa,” but his dad wasn’t lying. He doesn’t speak a word of English. Everyone in the vicinity of the twenty-ninth row of the aircraft gets into the act and for some bizarre reason the flight attendant begins speaking French. We’re almost ready to pull back from the gate when he finally stands up and heads toward Papa in the front of the plane. I crawl over the guy in 29C and drop into my seat, thinking this is one of those times that you regret trying to do the right thing, only I’m wrong. This is one of those times that karma turns around faster than a boomerang.

The man sitting beside me in 29E says, “That was a nice thing to do.”

He’s tall, so tall that he is turned slightly in his seat, his knees just on the edge of my space. I ask him why he was in Arizona and he says he was on a climb. He’s an investment banker, he climbs mountains on weekends. He doesn’t like to fly.

He turns slightly more toward me in the seat and I turn slightly more toward him. I tell him it seems strange that a person who can climb mountains is afraid to fly, and he shakes his head. It’s a matter of control, he says, and he tells me about the scariest thing that’s ever happened to him on a climb. Years ago, when he’d just begun the sport, he’d found himself linked to a guy who didn’t fix the clips right and something broke loose and both of them slid. There’s nothing worse, he says, than to be halfway up the face of the mountain, past the turnback point, and all of a sudden to realize you can’t count on the other person. I ask him what the turnback point is and he says there’s a place you get to in every climb where it’s as dangerous to retreat as it is to advance. I nod. It seems I should have known this.

He asks me if I’m married and I say yes, nine years. “Nine,” he says slowly, as if the number in itself has a kind of power. “Nine is sort of in the middle.” I don’t feel like I’m in the middle of my marriage—but I don’t feel like I’m at the beginning or the end of it either. I find marriage immeasurable, oceanic. The man in 29C has put on headphones. We have our vodka and pretzels by now.

“It’s such a funny sport,” he says. It takes me a minute to realize what he’s talking about. “Each time I summit I think the same thing, that we shouldn’t have come here, that human beings have no business being in the sky. Every time I think, ‘This will be my last climb,’ but then I get home and in a couple of weeks I want to do it again.”

“I guess once you start, it’s hard to stop,” I say. I’ve never met anyone who used the word “summit” as a verb. But he has shut his eyes and leaned back in his seat, as if just telling the story has exhausted him.

I pull the Redbook magazine from my bag and the cover says “48 Things to Do to a Man in Bed.” I bought the magazine just for this article. Defying all logic, there is still a part of me that thinks I can save my marriage through sex. Gerry—his name is Gerry—opens his eyes and begins to read over my shoulder. His minute-long nap seems to have revitalized him because he suggests that we go through the list and each write down three things we’d like to try. Wouldn’t it be something if they were the same three things?

I strongly suspect they will be the same three things. He’s married too, of course, married to someone he met in the drop-add line his freshman year at UMass. At one point they’d been together so long that they just looked at each other and said, “Why not?” Two boys and then a girl, and the daughter especially, she’s the love of his life, he says—but his wife, that’s a whole other issue. He has pressed his thigh against mine, opened his legs as if I am a weight he must push away in order to make himself stronger.

“Marriage is difficult,” I tell him. “It’s the only thing in my whole life I’ve ever failed at.”

I’ve never said this to anyone, never used the word “failed,” but it rolls off my tongue like a fact. Maybe this is the way you should always confess things—just like this, in mid air, and to a total stranger. I wait for him to convince me that it isn’t true. God knows if I tried to say this back home, a hundred people would rush in to correct me before the words were even out of my mouth. They would say it’s just the vodka talking, or the altitude. Or maybe my desire to intrigue this man by saying something dramatic, anything that will keep him turned toward me in his seat. Any marriage can be salvaged, my friends would tell me—especially a clean, well-ordered little one like mine. No, of course I haven’t failed. We’re just going through a rough spot.

But this man doesn’t correct me. He is smiling as he screws the top off his second bottle of vodka. His hands are very beautiful. I need for a man to have beautiful hands, hands you can imagine slipping down you at once, hands that can make you feel a little breathless even as they go through the most mundane of tasks, even as they rip open a package of pretzels or reach up to redirect the flow of air.

“The list?” he says, pointing toward the magazine.

“Do you have paper?”

He digs something out of his pocket. “You can type it into my BlackBerry.”

“I’m supposed to type three things I want to do in bed into your BlackBerry? Are you going to delete it?”

He smiles. “Eventually.”

The flight goes fast. When the pilot comes on to say we are beginning our descent into Dallas it startles me so much that it’s like I’d forgotten we were even on a plane. “Can I hold your hand?” Gerry asks me. This is the part he hates, the landing. This is the part where you are statistically most likely to crash, and he explains that this is true for climbers too, that most are killed on the way down. He smiles again as he tells me this, flashing strong white teeth. I have visions of them ripping flesh from bone. Good hands and good teeth. He’s a type, of course. He’s a player. He’s the kind of man who meets women at 30,000 feet and persuades them to type sexual fantasies into his BlackBerry, but for some reason I don’t care. He asks me how long I’ll be laid over in Dallas.

Almost two hours. He thinks maybe we should have a drink. There’s definitely time for a drink. At least a drink. He says he’s a little lightheaded too, the result of the climb. It’s been so strange, such an intense day. He changed planes at the last minute, and maybe he needs something to press him back into himself. This is probably all quite meaningless. He’s probably the sort of man who does this all the time. People meet in planes and do it all the time, huddled under thin airline blankets or in those cheap hotels that offer shuttle service from the terminals. An in-flight flirtation, nothing special, and I shouldn’t even be talking to him. I have not had sex with any man other than my husband in nine years.

“I suppose we could have a drink,” I say.

“Here comes the dangerous part,” he says, and he reaches out to hold my hand.

We land without dying. He helps me retrieve my bag from the bin above row 18. We walk down the tunnel and find a departure board. The time at the bottom flashes 5:22.

“That can’t be right,” says Gerry.

We were supposed to land at 3:45. We were supposed to have a two-hour layover in Dallas. I look at my watch but I’m still on Phoenix time and when I find Charlotte on the departure board I see that my flight is scheduled to leave in fourteen minutes. “What time is it?” Gerry asks the guy standing beside us, who got off our flight and presumably is privy to no more information than we are. He looks at us with a kind of pity and says, “Five twenty-three,” and then adds, “We circled fucking forever.”

I am leaving out of Gate 42 and this is Gate 7. Gerry lives in Boston. He is leaving out of Gate 37 in twenty minutes. “Come on,” he says. “We’re going to have to hurry.” It seems easier to follow him than to think, so I do. Follow him, that is, away from the departure board and down the long corridor that leads to the higher numbers. We put our bags over our shoulders and begin to run, run full out until we get to the moving sidewalk and hop aboard. My chest hurts and I feel sick.

“We’re being cheated,” Gerry says. “We could just forget our flights and find a hotel. This is Dallas. Nobody knows us. We could say we missed our connection.” We are walking fast on the sidewalk, cutting right and left around couples and old people, blowing past them like they were obstacles on a video screen, until we come up behind a woman with a baby stroller and we have to stop.

He glances at me. “I’ve offended you.”

“No,” I say. “I’m thinking.” We might run like this and miss our planes anyway. If we stopped running right now it would be one of those lies that isn’t much of a lie, and they’re my favorite kind. He’s quite right, this is Dallas. Nobody here knows us. He is sliding his hand up and down my spine and I lean into him a little, feel the sharp angle of his hipbone cutting into my waist. The moving sidewalk carries us past Gate 16 and the clock there says 5:27. There’s a very good chance we won’t make it.

“I just have to be back for a meeting on Monday,” he says.

“Monday’s tomorrow.”

He frowns, like maybe I’m wrong.

The moving sidewalk ends, spilling us in front of Gate 22. I see a cart that sells bottled water, but there isn’t time. I put my bag over my right shoulder, he puts his over his left, and we join hands and start running again. The airport is interminable, it’s like a dream, and he looks over to me at some point and says, “It’ll be all right.” What? What will be all right? I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirrored wall as we pass. My shirt is stained with burrito juice and my hair has dried really strangely and I start to tell him that usually I don’t look this bad. Which isn’t exactly the truth. I often look this bad but I guess what I want to tell him is that I am capable of looking much better. I am watching him for a sign that he does this all the time, for surely he is the sort of man who does this all the time. He’s strong and tall, with the kind of teeth that are designed to rip flesh from bone, and just then—the clock says 5:32—he pulls me to the side and I go with him, unquestioning, into the Traveler’s Chapel where he drops his bag, puts his hands on my shoulders, and kisses me.

It’s one of those kisses that gives you the feeling that you’re falling, that the elevator floor has dropped out from under you, and when I finally break away I see a mural of Jesus, a sort of Hispanic Jesus looking all flat and distorted, with long thin hands reaching out to hold a 747. His eyes are sorrowful but sympathetic. Here, in the Traveler’s Chapel of the Dallas airport, apparently he has seen it all.

“I need your card,” Gerry says. “Your business card.”

“Okay,” I say. The blood has rushed to my face and my ears are ringing. Gerry and I are practically screaming at each other, as if we are climbers high on a mountain, as if we have to yell to be heard over the sound of the whipping wind. “But you can’t call me. I’m married.”

“I know,” he says. “I’m rich.”

“You’re rich?”

“I make a lot of money, that’s all I mean. I don’t know why I make a lot of money, I don’t really understand why they pay me what they pay me, but it could make things easier.” He glances over at Jesus.

What does he mean, it could make things easier? For the first time I am wary. He’s like an actor suddenly gone off script and I don’t know what to say. He has been so smooth up to this point, so smooth that I could imagine he would slide right off me when we parted, never leaving a mark. I have already been practicing the story I will tell Kelly on the phone tomorrow, imagining how she will laugh at the cliché of it all. Elyse drinking two vodka doubles and getting herself picked up on a plane. (“That’s a vodka quadruple,” Kelly will say. “Exactly what did you think was going to happen?”) Elyse making out in an airport chapel. (“With some Tex-Mex Jesus watching you the whole time.”) Elyse walking toward her plane while the man walks away in another direction, toward another plane that will carry him to a different town and a different life. (“It’s just one of those things,” she will tell me, as I sit on my kitchen countertop with the phone pressed to my ear and my legs swinging. “Nothing really happened so there’s no point in feeling guilty.”) Kelly is the only one who knew me when we were both young and pretty, when we were impulsive and the world seemed full of men, and we would find ourselves sometimes transported by sex, picked up and carried into situations that, in the muddle of memory, seem a bit like movie scenes. She is the only one who would understand that I am relieved to find a sliver of this girl still inside me. Relieved to find that, although older and more suspicious and heavy with marriage, under the right circumstances I can still be picked up and carried. That I remember how to kiss a man who doesn’t seem to have a last name.

But now, suddenly, this man standing before me isn’t acting like a player. He’s awkward and embarrassed and real. He is determined to make me understand something, something that I suspect will not fit well into the story I’ve planned to tell Kelly. I raise my fingers to his mouth to stop the words, but it has been a long time since I have been in a situation like this and perhaps the lines have changed. If a mistake is being made here, it is undoubtedly mine.

He pushes my hand aside, squeezing it for a moment to soften the rebuff. “No,” he says. “I need you to hear this. My first car was a fucking AMC Pacer, do you even remember those? They blew up if somebody ran into you. I spent a whole summer sleeping in a tent on my friend’s grandmother’s back porch because a bunch of us were going to move to New Orleans and start a blues band but we couldn’t half play and we were stoned all the time and you know how it is with the blues… I used to eat those ramen noodles, do you know what I’m talking about, those kind that were like four packages for a dollar? I didn’t think I was going to turn out to be some rich asshole banker flying all over the place. Today was probably the first time I’ve sat in coach in five years, can you believe that? I fucked up and missed my earlier flight, I wasn’t even supposed to be on that plane. Do you understand what I’m telling you? I wasn’t even supposed to be on that plane and the money isn’t who I am. It’s just, you know, energy, a kind of raw energy, and it could make things easier. That’s all I’m trying to tell you, that it could make things easier.” He exhales sharply. “Are you mad at me?”

I shake my head. He kisses me again. This time he breaks away first and I am left hanging and abandoned in the space between his chin and his shoulder, my eyes still closed and my mouth still open. “A card,” he says into my hair. “I need your card.”

I am trying very hard not to faint. I flatten my back against the stucco wall and open my eyes. Gerry is adjusting his pants, looking away from me as he arranges things, his face as flushed as a teenage boy’s. I am digging in my purse and my hand is finding ink pens, breath mints, Tampax, everything but the business card that could propel this madness into the future tense.

“I’m shaking,” I tell him as he presses something into my hand, and then we are running again, out the chapel door and through the airport to Gate 37. People are lined up waiting to enter the tunnel.

“I’ll go with you to your gate,” he says. “If you’ve missed your flight, I’ll miss mine.” I look at the monitor behind the desk. My flight was supposed to have left two minutes ago. There is nothing I can do about the situation one way or another and this thought thrills me. We are walking now. Five numbers down to my gate and the sign says CHARLOTTE and there are no people except for one woman in a US Airways uniform. “Are you still boarding?” I ask her and I am amazed at the neutrality of my voice. She asks me my name and I realize this is the first time that Gerry has heard it. She looks down at the monitor and says, “They haven’t pulled back. I can get you on.”

Somewhere in the high thin air between Phoenix and Dallas we took turns reading the Redbook article about what a woman can do to a man in bed and Gerry picked three things from the list. The only one that I can remember now is that he said he likes for women to show that they want it. Jump the guy. Take charge of the situation. All men like that. I know he wants me to be the alpha female, the un-wife, the person you meet in strange cities who is cool and aggressive and uncomplicated and self-assured, and so, right on cue, I burst into tears. Gerry kisses me again, only I am so weak that I can hardly move my mouth. I slide off his tongue like a climber with bad equipment.

I break away and follow the US Airways lady down the tunnel. I don’t look back. As we walk I sniffle and she pats my arm and says, “Airport goodbyes can be very hard.” I have never been the last person on a plane before. Everyone looks at me as I bump my way down the aisle to the only empty seat. A nice-looking older lady is beside me and I want to tell her everything but the overhead is full and it takes my last ounce of strength to shove my carry-on under the seat in front of me. Gerry’s crumpled business card is in my hand. I never found a card so he can’t call me. I can only call him and this is no good. If I call him first he will always know that I walked in free and clear, that I’m willing to have an affair, that I don’t care that he’s married and I’m married, that I chose it, that I wanted it, that I knew what I was getting into before I picked up that phone and made that call.

As we pull away from the gate I am calm, or rather I am in that strange state where you’re so upset that you behave as if you were calm. I close my eyes and try to picture a flat thin Jesus holding up my plane. Gerry doesn’t like landings, but I don’t like takeoff. I don’t like the feeling of being pushed back in my seat. This is the point where I pray things like, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” or maybe it’s “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” Neither one makes a lot of sense but I’ll say anything on a runway. I’d speak Hebrew or Arabic or Swahili if I knew them, anything to hedge my bets. But today I am too exhausted to bargain with God. Hell, we all have to go sometime.

I open my eyes and look around. The nice lady beside me has bent her head forward and her lips are moving. Good. Let her pray for all of us. The odds are if God chooses to spare her, I’ll live too, through sheer proximity. I look down at the card in my hand and practice saying his name aloud. I’m not sure what has just happened to me. I don’t know what it means. I press my palms against my trembling thighs and listen to the engines beneath me gain strength. Strength enough to thrust us into the sky where we have no business being, but where we go sometimes, nonetheless.



Continues...

Excerpted from Love in Mid Air by Wright, Kim Copyright © 2010 by Wright, Kim. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    TRUE LIFE MORE THAN A FAIRY TALE!

    Elyse felt trapped in a marriage that everyone else considered successful and happy. She isn't one who just jumps into something without thinking, however, she meets a man on an airplane and this one single conversation has changed her forever. Gerry convinces Elyse that her marriage has gone stale and has always been stale. Elyse and Kelly are true blue friends who depend on each other for the ultimate understanding and devotion. The struggle with the search for fulfillment and happiness is more true to life than a fairy tale, which is my choice of a good read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A DYNAMITE DEBUT - HEARTBREAKING, TRUE, FUNNY

    Top of the charts for this debut novel! Kim Wright has crafted a funny, true, heartbreaking look at modern marriage. Is leaving wedlock a route to happiness or must one stay? In LOVE IN MID AIR we read, " In real life, women stay. Women stay better than they do anything else."

    Elyse Bearden is at the airport on her way home from a Phoenix pottery show. She's feeling good because she won a prize and sold several pieces. She's probably not looking her best as she has burrito juice on her shirt and her hair is awry because she washed it in a drinking fountain. But, apparently she looks really, really good to Gerry, an investment banker, who is seated next to her on the plane. In a matter of minutes they're sharing confidences. After landing he pulls her into a Traveler's Chapel of the Dallas airport and kisses her - "one of those kisses that gives you the feeling that you're falling, that the elevator floor has dropped out from under you..."

    This is how it began, an affair that would cause Elyse to reevaluate her present life and what she wants for the future. She lives with her husband, Phil, and young daughter, Tory, in a comfortable North Carolina community. Elyse has a host of friends, primarily Kelly, the wealthy one in their book club. She and Kelly have been close for years. At home again after that earth moving kiss Elyse is absorbed in the minutia of her daily life - cookies for the church sale, baseball practice for Tory, outings with their friends, finding time for making her pots and marketing them. However, her overriding feeling is one of discontent; she is unsettled, unhappy. Phil is remote, distant, seemingly unable to understand who she is. Needless to say their sex life is less than satisfactory for her; it is a perfunctory ritual. And, she cannot forget Gerry who though also married is just a phone call away - she dials his number.

    That is a decision that not only alters Elyse's life but also the lives of her friends as they reexamine their own personal relationships. Each is on the brink of 40 - what will the future hold? Could they, should they make changes?

    Kim Wright has penned a witty, wise, and wonderful story of love in all its ramifications. Her observations are newly minted, shedding light in formerly dusty corners. LOVE IN MID AIR is a dynamite debut!

    - Gail Cooke

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2010

    I'm Hooked!

    First off, a bit about me. I'm easily bored, i have a short attention span, and I'm not much of a book reader. Despite that, I'm absolutely hooked on Love in Mid Air. It's fun, down-to-earth, thought-provoking, and maybe most impressively, I feel like it's relevant to me. Kim found a way to get me feeling this great connection to the characters, the relationships, and the conflicts. Great work, can't wait to get back to it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2010

    Terrific story about all the things women normally don't talk about

    Love in Mid Air tells the story of a woman stuck in a stale marriage. Elyse is a character many women will identify with as she and her friends struggle to make sense of the challenges that come at midlife. An excellent and serious read, with moments of sharp humor as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Very hard book to get into.

    LOVE in MID AIR is full of a woman's story, and nothing else. There is barely any dialogue, and following the characters was a challenge in itself. I wish this amazing love scene with Jerry lasted more then 3 pages, and more then 4 words said to each other. It was painfully hard to finish this book, and to be honest, i wish i never started.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Literary Grand Slam

    If this debut work is any indication, she is looking at a successful career as a writer because this book is a literary grand slam.

    From the first page, I was hooked. Hooked on Ms. Wright's writing style, hooked on the story and hooked on the characters. I literally snuck reading in whenever I could, so anxious was I to find out what was going on in Elyse's world, putting off sleep and household chores to read.

    Elyse was a complex character. On the one hand, I liked her and felt for her predicament. On the other, she is nothing like me and I sometimes wanted to beat my head on the wall in frustration. Ms. Wright did a smart thing in making Elyse's husband Phil a likable, decent man, a good father and good provider but a man she simply did not, and could not, love.

    Elyse's girlfriends, members of her book club, were a wonderfully varied bunch, each one an individual in her own way, from best friend Kelly, to the "perfect" pastor's wife Nancy, to recently divorced and recently outcast Lynn, to sweet and somewhat left in the shadows Belinda. So vivid were these characters I could actually visualize them and hear them talking as I read the book. Ms. Wright has proven herself to have an excellent ear for dialogue and none of the conversations in Love in Mid Air sound scripted or pretentious. You could be listening to your own girlfriends while thumbing through these pages.

    While the seemingly obvious love interest in the book would be Gerry - - the man who convinces Elyse that her marriage has gone stale, or always been stale - - I felt that the real love story in the book was the friendship between Elyse and Kelly. These two were friends that truly loved each other, that depended on each other through thick and thin. They had a real understanding of each other that neither woman shared with any other person in the book. It was a welcome diversion to have two such devoted people, with their individual flaws, who weren't a romantic couple.

    Despite the subject matter of Love in Mid Air (because adultery would hardly be a fun subject), I thoroughly enjoyed the book. In fact, I didn't realize until I had finished the book that the story was relatively sad - - a woman who felt trapped in a marriage that everyone else considered successful and happy, and a husband who believes everything to be fine and can't grasp the seriousness of his marital situation.

    For the more conservative readers, this book may be a bit too much to handle. There is the obvious adultery, and there is a smattering of sexual situations and strong language. This is definitely not a book for kids. Love in Mid Air is, however, a perfect read for a book club as there are so many debatable discussions and issues that would spark conversation for hours.

    I would highly recommend Love in Mid Air to anyone looking for a read that will get your mental juices flowing and really make you think. Is any affair forgiveable? Is Elyse a bad person? Is Gerry?

    Love in Mid Air isn't your typical love triangle story - - it sets the classic love story on its ear. Elyse may not be an easy character to root for in some cases and the same could be true for Phil, for Gerry or for any of the characters in the book. But it's a story that will have you quickly turning pages, staying up into the night to finish it and it will remain with you after you turn the last page. While I found the ending debateably happy, I was satisfied with

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    Elyse meets a man on an airplane and this one single act has changed her forever. She isn't the type of person who does the outrageous, spur of the moment, true love things like most hopeless romantics do. Now, here's the kicker, Elyse is married. She wants to trade her whole boring life for something more. This change in Elyse now has her friends wondering if life has more to offer them as well.

    I love it when a woman's eyes are opened and she learns that it's time to start living her life her way and forget what everyone else wants. (It strikes close to home.) I absolutely adore Elyse and I hope to read more about her in the future. Two thumbs up!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    Strong first book

    A strong first book from Kim Wright, I can't wait to read more from her! A very good choice for book clubs as it is centered around the women of a book club and their relationships with their husbands, children, and each other.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    Loved Mid Air

    What a read! Couldn't put it down. Want to dive into it all over again. There's not a married woman in this world who couldn't relate to Elyse's dilemma. I'm thinking of 4 friends who will receive this book as a gift from me because they need to read it, too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    Bw

    XDXD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Deputy an co deputy den

    A large den built into a stone

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This is by far the best book I've read in a long time. For a mai

    This is by far the best book I've read in a long time. For a main character, Elyse is highly flawed and yet I think many women could identify with her even if they would not be reckless enough to physically follow through on their innermost thoughts and desires. Elyse cares about the people she will hurt, but not enough to stop. It was very difficult to put this book down, knowing full well that with every step she took, she was running head on into disaster. In the long run, however, her husband needed a more conventional wife, and though she caused a lot of pain, she was also the one to set him free. Everyone talks about men who have affairs or who consider leaving their wives--few consider that women often have those same thoughts. I'd be interested in seeing more from this author.

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not Bad

    Reviewed By~Deborah
    Review Copy Provided By~SheKnows Book Club

    Warnings: adult subject matter

    Review: From the first page, I was hooked on Ms. Wright's writing style, on the story and on the characters. Love in Mid Air isn't your typical love triangle story.

    Elyse is a complex character. On the one hand, I liked her and felt for her situation on the other hand I could not relate to her at all, she is nothing like anyone I have ever known. Elyse may not be an easy character to root for in most cases but the same could be said for Phil, or Gerry or for any of the other characters in the book.

    Elyse Bearden is the unfulfilled wife of a successful North Carolina dentist with an adorable daughter and a nice disposable income that allows her to pursue her “art” throwing pots. On a trip back from Phoenix, she switches her seat as a favor to another passenger and sits next to Gerry, a successful Boston businessman who proceeds to talk, then to flirt, and then to play tonsil hockey in an airport chapel during a flight change. Elyse is unhappy with her life and has a husband who neglects her. She eventually falls into bed with Gerry and the rest of the story is taken up with her once monthly trips to hook up with him in locations around the country while she becomes kinkier in their relationship in an attempt to keep her passion alive then proceeds to tell herself that everything will be fine if she is only looking for happiness without hurting anyone else.

    Ms. Wright did a smart thing in making Elyse's husband Phil a likable, decent man, a good father and good provider but a man she simply did not love. Gerry as a character doesn't work for me; I don’t find their relationship believable. He just doesn’t seem to fit into the plot he seems someone that Elyse could easily have replaced with something battery operated that doesn't involve adultery. The ending itself is not very believable and seems totally out of character for Phil.

    Elyse's girlfriends, members of her book club, were a varied bunch, each one an individual in her own way, from best friend Kelly, to the "perfect" pastor's wife Nancy, to recently divorced Lynn, to sweet Belinda. While the obvious love interest in the book is Gerry - - I felt that the really best story in the book was the close friendship between Elyse and BFF Kelly. These two were friends that truly loved each other, that depended on each other stuck together through thick and thin. They had a real understanding of each other that neither woman shared with any other person in the book. It was a very welcome diversion.

    Despite the subject matter of Love in Mid Air (because adultery is hardly a fun subject), I enjoyed the book. The story was relatively sad - - a woman who felt trapped in a marriage that everyone else considered successful and happy, and a husband who believes everything to be fine and can't grasp the dismal situation his marriage is in.

    For the more conservative readers, this book may be a bit too much to handle. There is the obvious adultery, and there are a few sexual situations and strong language. Love in Mid Air is, however, a perfect read for a book club as there are so many debatable issues that would spark conversation for hours. Is any adultery forgivable? Is Elyse a bad person? Is Gerry? Is Phil? Why would Phil not question Elyse flying around every month? Why would her best friend be so enabling of her behavior? Why join a church if you don't really b

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    Not Likely, not likeable

    I should have known better than to pick up a book like this. A protagonist who reached her social and emotional peak as a high school cheerleader, Elyse never pauses to think that she may play a part in her unhappiness. Perhaps Elyse will show some capacity to grow since she proclaims herself an "intellectual." After the first several references to "me and Kelly" and the shouting of memorized lines from classic literature that theory is blown.

    I could not find any redeeming value in the struggles of Elyse and her "friends." It's not that the struggle isn't familiar, it's the characters' unwillingness to examine anything in their lives that I found unappealing.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    Highly Recommend!

    Great read! Can't wait for her next book to come out!

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    WOMEN'S FICTION SET IN MODERN DAY!

    LOVE IN MID AIR by Kim Wright is a Women's Fiction set in modern day Charlotte, NC. This is Mrs. Wright's first novel. It is well written with details and depth. It has twists, turns, friendship, marriage, self realization, love, infidality, sex and freedom. The characters are easy to follow. Elyse, meets a guy(Gerry) on a flight from Phoenix on her way home. Her marriage of eight years has become stall and she wants out. They embark on an affair,Gerry, who is also marriedfinds Elyse desirable, funny, sexy, cute and all the things her husband sames to have forgotten. Elyse takes a leap of faith and decides to find happiness and follow her own path. Her friends in a book club begins to question their own decisions above love, marriage,sex and their freedom. Although, this story is well written, the characters are interesting I did not care for the story line of "modern day marriage" because I personnally believe marriage is still institution. This book was received for review from the author and details can be found at Grand Central Publishing and My Book Addiction and More.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Easy, fun, sexy read!

    If your married, every been married and would enjoy reading about a woman who is not in love with her husband, has an affair, lives in a small-town community, this is the book for you. A great plane book, beach book or just a good story that's easy to read.

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  • Posted June 1, 2010

    Universal themes

    There is something both liberating and frightening about this book. It is very well-written, with exceptional plot and character development, and the subject matter is anything but trite. The reason this book was a difficult read for me is that I could see people I know in its shadows. In fact, I have been the person who has, on several occasions, watched someone she cares for make it through the destruction of a loveless marriage. I have seen firsthand the consequences of affairs and betrayal; of two people falling out of love; of the mild madness that settles upon overwhelmed, overworked, undervalued women. The fact that Elyse and her band of friends are middle class suburbanites brings this story even closer to home, since this is my circle of friends. We laugh, we cry; we complain about our husbands and our kids, but we never come right out and say that we feel claustrophobic in our lives. I think every mom, working outside the home or not, has felt the panicky suffocation of too much to do, too few hours in the day, and not enough of whatever it is that makes us more than "just a mom," or "just a wife." As women, we give ourselves over to our families, beginning with our husbands, trying to fit into a mold of what we think they need, and continuing with our children, destroying our bodies to give them life. We put ourselves last in every aspect of life, and over time, our relationships can fray. While this isn't necessarily the central theme in the book, Wright's ability to piant this into the background of the story creates depth and empathy in the story. What this story does is move beyond the overwhelming life of a mom, into the rarely visited, but no less prolific, life of a dissatisfied wife. Interestingly enough, Elyse doesn't mind being a mom - she doesn't use her daughter as a pawn or excuse, and she doesn't complain about the responsibility. I love that both Elyse and her husband, Phil, are such good and devoted parents; it brings balance, and tells the reader that the problem does, in fact, lie in their dysfunction as a couple. Wright uses Gerry as the vehicle, the spark that lights the fire under Elyse, spurring her to move beyond simply existing. I like that Wright leaves the ending so open; that Elyse has no illusions or delusions of the nature of her relationship with Gerry, and that she is content with this as it is. I also like the fact that Elyse does not move directly from one dysfunctional relationship into another - too often, I've seen real-life examples of this co-dependency, and its consequesnces. Namely, people simply end up with the same type of person, in the same type of life, with the same type of problems that they left. Instead, Wright implies that Elyse is evolving into a new person; that she is stretching and growing, and hopefully, improving. The friendships between the four women is also true-to-life, from what I've seen of people in the world. For the most part, the relationship between the four as a whole is somewhat superficial. In pairs, however, the friendship is deep and meaningful - each individual has a "BFF" with whom she has bonded, and with whom she shares and relies upon more than she does the group as a whole. I think Wright truly understands the nature of women - we are strong and somewhat self-reliant, but we all need that one friend who is there for us, regardless. Very well-written story!

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    Loved it

    I was searching for a book to escape inside for a few days and this fit the mould perfectly. It is well written and not cliched as books of this genre often are.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    BEAUTIFUL DEBUT NOVEL!

    Marriage is complicated. And Kim Wright writes about it beautifully in her debut novel LOVE IN MID AIR. Elyse Bearden's marriage is already in trouble when she meets a handsome stranger on her flight home from Arizona. Her husband, a doting father to their young daughter but inattentive husband, has been communicating with her via post-it not for far too long and seems content with having sex in the kiss-less "X" position once a week. So it's not surprising when she starts a torrid affair with the man she met in row 29 to try to recapture the excitement she feels is sorely missing from her marriage and her life in general.

    As some of her closest friends begin to realize that their seemingly harmless weekly banter about unhappy marriages has gone to a whole new level for Elyse, it stirs up emotions in each one of them that they'd rather not deal with. Because it's one thing to be unhappy, but it's a whole other thing to actually do something about it. Wright does a beautiful job questioning whether a marriage can only be successful if both parties embrace mediocrity and asks what truly defines happiness-and do parents even have a right to try to find it?

    While the premise of LOVE IN MID AIR may sound familiar, what makes it so compelling is Wright's subtle yet intense writing, which may make the reader both uncomfortable and intrigued at the same time. Wright navigates Elyse's everyday life and relationships with her church book club with such authenticity that you'll be thinking about these characters long after you've finished. A must read for any wife or mother, Wright's genius commentary is not to be missed.

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