The Book of Flyingby Keith Miller
In Keith Miller's debut novel, our hero is Pico, a poet and librarian who is and forbidden to pursue the girl of his dreams - for she has wings, and Pico does not. When he discovers an ancient letter in his library telling of the mythical Morning Town where the flightless may gain their wings, he sets off on a quest. It's a magical journey and coming-of-age story in which he meets a robber queen, a lonely minotaur, a cannibal, an immortal beauty, and a dream seller. Each has a story, and a lesson, for Pico-about learning to love, to persevere, and, of course, to fly. A gorgeously poetic tale of fantasy for adults, The Book of Flying is a beautiful modern fable and daring new take on the quest narrative.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Meet the Author
Keith Miller is an American who was born in Tanzania, raised in Kenya, and wrote this novel while living in southern Sudan. He now lives in Egypt, where he is a design consultant and art teacher at a center for refugees. The illustrations in The Book of Flying are his own.
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In addition to reading "mainstream" authors, I generally enjoy reading debut novels, where my expectations are limited to notes and recommendations on the book jacket. You never quite know what you're going to get, which adds to the enjoyment. I read Ursula Le Guin as a teenager and enjoyed her books, so, when I read her notes regarding this book, I decided to give it a read. I was enthralled from the very beginning. I read The Book of Flying, while on vacation, over a year ago, and have since reread it twice more; once to make sure that it was really as good as I thought, and again recently as a means of escape from the daily drudgery. The writing is so wonderfully descriptive that you feel more like a fellow traveler, than an observer. Hiking through the forest with Pico, encountering unique individuals in situations which seem fantastical in "real" life, but so plausible in this setting, eating by the campfire, enjoying lavish meals in The City in the Mountains.... While the story belongs to Pico, the journey is shared by everyone and will leave you feeling well fed, but hunger for more!
The Book of Flying tells the tale of Pico, a young librarian on a quest to gain wings--literally. Poetic and delightfully literary in style, like a delicious chocolate confection it's a book to savor and read slowly, bits a time. The chapter in which Pico meets an immortal cannibal would make a striking novella or short story, and the story of Balquo charms. I could have spent an entire novel just in the story of the mountain town, with its warm cafes and food and book vendors. There were weaker spots that had nothing to do with the writing: a bit of a stereotypical jaunt with a band of thieves led by a fierce female and a long chat with a talking rabbit that reminded me rather of Tolkien (the movies wisely left most such things out) or C.S. Lewis, and in some sections the author tends to use sentence fragments that proved distracting in a vast field of otherwise pristine writing, but the strong parts more than made up for these. All in all, a *very* promising debut by a new novelist, and highly recommended.
This is a light-hearted read with twists and turns -- this is not a Nobel Prize, but a wonderous break -- like popcorn rather than cake! Fun, poetic, a bit over the top, and reminscent of something you've read before --again, still a delight. I want to see Miller's next book.
Wingless librarian Pico is a loner who finds life worth living only in the books that he devours insatiably. He especially finds release from his mundane forlorn existence with stories of daring do and adventures of love. Alas his dream is to star in such a tale, but knows this will never pass.......................................... While strolling by the sea, Pico rescues the drowning winged Sisi. They begin seeing one another and quickly fall in love. However, one of the worst taboos that can never be broken is a relationship between winged and wingless. Despondent, Pico learns of the existence of an ancient manuscript THE BOOK OF FLYING that provides detailed instructions on how the land bound can grow wings. However, to obtain the tome, Pico must journey through the dark forest of monsters some disguised as cute and pretty, who will do anything to divert the lad from attaining his dream............................... This is an engaging fantasy with a deep message that works on most levels though at times Keith Miller becomes too flowery with his prose. The story line is delightful as the lead couple come across as Romeo and Juliet. As the hero now has a cause to live life to its fullest (one of several solid ideas fostered within the tale), he must contend with vile cretins including some that seem human in appearance, but all share in common that they feel genuine. Fans will enjoy journeying through Miller¿s Mythos that hopefully will have future treks................................ Harriet Klausner