Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #27 – In-Flight Entertainment by Helen Simpson
In Flight Entertainment is a collection of short stories, mainly about relationships. My husband bought this for me after hearing a glowing review on NPR, which is as good a recommendation as any, I suppose. Unfortunately, sad stories about sad, self-centered, lonely, depressed, abandoned, abandoning, cheating, awful people – and environmental damage – do me no good. As I’ve said before, I read to escape. Stories about real life and all of its harsh realness just bring me down.
I had originally read one of the stories, “A Diary of an Interesting Year,” in the New Yorker. It’s very well written, in diary form, from the point of a young woman who is one of the few survivors after an apocalypse. I won’t spoil anything, but I’ll just say that the story is almost too real in its depiction of her life and the dangers she faces.
Another story, “Squirrel,” takes place during breakfast at a normal suburban breakfast – if the normal suburban breakfast involves discussions about literature, whether or not to kill a trapped squirrel, and thoughts of extra-marital affairs.
For me, I thought the language too precious, too studied, too much. Others clearly loved it (see the NPR review, NY Times, etc.). Maybe I just don’t get it, but I was not entertained.