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Jerry Battle, 59-year-old widower and father of two, retired from the family business--the unmistakably earthbound Battle Brothers Brick and Mortar--buys a small airplane because "From up here, a half mile above the Earth, everything looks perfect to me." All is not well below. Jerry knows it, saying
...the recurring fantasy of my life... is one of perfect continuous travel, this unending hop from one point to another, the pleasures found not in the singular marvels of any destination but in the constancy of serial arrivals and departures, and the comforting companion knowledge that youll never quite get intimate enough for any trouble to start brewing.
His view from aloft saves him from the gritty reality of the detritus of life--and from life itself.
This high-flyer must come to earth, however, when he finds that his daughter is newly pregnant, diagnosed with cancer, and refusing treatment; his son, who is running the company, has piled up enough debt that bankruptcy is imminent; and his father has gone missing from his assisted living facility. Jerry can no longer say, with impunity, "Jerry Battle hereby declines the Real." Lee takes us on great side trips into the pleasures of food and recreational sex; his wife Daisy's death; his longtime lover Rita's almost endless patience, weaving long, Miltonic sentences that start in one place and end up miles away--flights of fancy--trailing clouds of insight and poignancy. With Aloft Lee just keeps getting better. --Valerie Ryan
Chang-rae Lee finds a common place within a diverse family of Italian, Asian American and Puertico Rican, and takes us there as if that was the natural evolution all along.Published 12 months ago by Na Qu
I picked up Chang-rae Lee's Aloft after reading one of his newer books and hearing that his older books were even better. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Joseph Landes
Don't read this book if your interest is only in aviation. Lee is not writing a book about flying. Lee's pilot protagonist is more Aloof than Aloft, but don't let this discourage... Read morePublished 20 months ago by RiffRaffAK
THE MAIN CHARACTER IS A MAN THAT HAS NOT COME TO TERMS WITH HIMSELF, HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS SIGNIFICANT OTHER AND LIFE ITSELF. Read morePublished on October 13, 2012 by audrey s hagedorn
On reading this novel I was constantly reminded of the lyrics from Pink Floyd's 'Learning to Fly' - marvellous words that perfectly capture the magic of flying, aloft from the... Read morePublished on October 4, 2012 by Kiwiflora
I expected to enjoy Aloft more than I did, based on my read of Chang Rae Lee's Native Speaker (which was a wonderful). Read morePublished on October 23, 2011 by J. Kim
I found this book very hard to get into and read. It had potential - and then the author wasted so much time with (for me) insignificant details. Read morePublished on November 14, 2010 by Kathi
I was surprised at how much I liked this book, and how absorbed I became in it. It was chosen by a book club that I'm in, and I didn't expect to love it so much. Read morePublished on September 27, 2010 by Elizabeth Barry
At the center of "Aloft" is Jerry Battle, the remote yet concerned Italian American patriarch of an "ethnically jumbled bunch. Read morePublished on July 31, 2010 by D. Cloyce Smith