Visible Empire

Visible Empire

by Hannah Pittard


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An epic novel—based on true events—of love, grief, race, and wealth, charting a single sweltering summer in Atlanta that left no one unchanged

On a humid summer day, the phones begin to ring: disaster has struck. Chateau de Sully, a Boeing 707 chartered to ferry home more than one hundred of Atlanta’s most prominent citizens from a European jaunt, crashed in Paris shortly after takeoff. It is the second-deadliest disaster in the history of aviation. Overnight, the city of Atlanta changes.

Left behind are children, spouses, lovers, and friends faced with renegotiating their lives. Robert, a newspaper editor, must decide if he can reconnect with his beloved but estranged wife, whose swindler parents have left her penniless. Nineteen-year-old Piedmont Dobbs, recently denied admission to an integrated school, senses a moment of uncertain opportunity. And Mayor Ivan Allen is tasked with the job of moving Atlanta forward—the hedonism of the 60s and the urgency of the Civil Rights movement at his city’s doorstep.

Visible Empire is the story of a husband and wife who can’t begin to understand each other until chaos drives them to clarity. It’s a story of the promise and hope that remain in the wake of crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328588791
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 276,896
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

HANNAH PITTARD was born in Atlanta. She is the author of four novels, including Listen to Me and The Fates Will Find Their Way. She is a professor of English at the University of Kentucky, where she directs the MFA program in creative writing.

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Visible Empire 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a fan of books that have different chapters for different characters.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
A plane crash leaves in its wake a host of people struggling to make sense of the tragedy. Visible Empire is a novel based on true events. In 1962 an Air France flight carrying Atlanta’s elite, crashed shortly after takeoff and left an entire community struggling to process the loss of so many well-known people from the art world. The book opens with the crash itself. The reader is briefly introduced to some of the passengers before the plane plunges back to the runway only to become a horribly burned and twisted mass of steel. And then, the story really starts. Everyone left behind has a story of course. A man’s mistress was killed on the plane while his wife at home is about to deliver their first child. A young man, denied admission to an integrated school finds himself driving two white men, in the middle of the night when racial tension is so high. Others, just keep repeating the events of the day never really to come to any conclusion or peace as to what has happened to their community. Visible Empire started off strong but then petered out about half way through. These characters did not interest me enough for me to want to know more about them, or to care what happened to them once the initial shock of the crash wore off. I think for me, the lack of empathy on my end greatly affected my overall impression of the book.