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The Flying Man Paperback – July 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (July 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755383400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755383405
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,175,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'One thing will always stand out when it matters: the author's voice. And Farooki has one to be proud of' Independent on Sunday 'Farooki manages the emotional minefield with humour and compassion' The Times 'One of the brightest young British authors to have emerged in recent years' Bella 'Ms Farooki creates the strong suspicion that she could tell a story about any type of people' New York Times

About the Author

Roopa Farooki was born in Lahore in Pakistan and brought up in London. She graduated from New College, Oxford and worked in advertising before turning to write fiction. Roopa now lives in south-east England and south-west France with her husband, twin baby girls and two sons. Bitter Sweets, her first novel, was nominated for the Orange Award for New Writers 2007. Roopa's novels have been published internationally and translated into a dozen languages.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ripple on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"The Flying Man" opens with the now elderly Maqil Karam writing a letter in his budget hotel in the South of France and facing death. His story takes in many locations, from his native Punjab, to New York, Cairo, London, Paris and Hong Kong. In each location, Maqil adopts a different name, including Mike Cram, Mehmet Kahn, Miguel Caram and Mikhail Lee. Often he acquires a different wife as well, Carine, Samira and Bernadette, although he doesn't go to the bother of divorcing them, he just simply walks away. He is a chancer and a gambler, avoiding attachment, responsibility and commitment throughout his life.

Ultimately, "The Flying Man" is an often wryly amusing and moving assessment of a realisation that a life has been wasted. However, it takes a long time to take off. I found the first third of the book frustratingly resistant to enjoy. Partly this is because the early events in his life are dealt with in a fairly brief fashion and we jump to the next stage of his identity without ever really getting to know him or the situation. Partly too, though, although we are told that he is charming which enables him to get away with people forgiving his actions, this never really comes across. For the first hundred or so pages he comes over merely as unforgivably self-centred. There are few literary figures I enjoy more than a damaged rogue, but I never connected with Maqil (or whichever character he is at that moment) in that way.

This changes when he arrives in London with his second wife, Samira, who is the love of his life. We both get more detail and time with him at this point in his life and he manages to stay in one place long enough to father twins with Samira. It is Samira and the twins' reaction to him that becomes most interesting and convincing.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that holds a mirror to oneself, or more accurately, what what may have been minus the gravity of Life, Everyday and Manners. Very smartly written, very nicely set up the author does not fall for the usual props which end up having the plot overwhelm the real story - which has been my experience for too often in recent readings. Kudos to Ms Farooqi. It is not often one comes up with a gem like this and stays faithful (unlike the protagonist - the irrepressible Mr.Maqeel and his meandering life) to the very end.
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Format: Hardcover
The Flying Man was not a story that caught the attention from the first page and held it throughout but it is one of those books which is almost a slow burn in that it draws the reader in as it progresses. The style in which it is written means that there is a time gap between chapters and we find Maqil, or whatever name he is adopting at that time, in a new setting, normally in a new country and alone, having cast off and left behind friends and enemies alike. Apart from the first chapter where we meet him near the end of his life, the time line is sequential.

Maquil is a strange character. He was born in Pakistan and the strong societal pressures there were to conform to norms and live his life in the same way as his parents, uncles, grandparents etc. However, from an early age Maqil was nothing if not a nonconformist and, as soon as he is able, he leaves for the United States. He never seems to have any interest in a career as such, preferring to risk his luck at the gambling tables or on whatever appealing scam comes his way. Most of us thrive on our connections with family and friends, but he seems to regard these as almost accessories to be discarded at his convenience, almost like a piece of ones wardrobe which has outlived its usefulness. A particularly interesting aspect is the attitude of the women in his life, particularly Samira. None of them are blind to his various character flaws or have unrealistic expectations of him, but despite this and perhaps surprisingly, none of them end up despising him.

The style of writing is compelling and this is the sort of book which one could well imagine being in the running for literary prizes. Rather unexpectedly it is written in the present tense, but although this delivery initially seems awkward, the reader soon gets accustomed to it. Ultimately I enjoyed this story, and it is certainly worth persevering with as it takes a little while to get hooked.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lincs Reader on March 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
I've really enjoyed books by this author in the past and was looking forward to reading this one too, the blurb on the back sounds great and it's had some good reviews.

However, I really did struggle to finish the story, I found it very slow and couldn't concentrate on the long and rambling tale of woe that seemed be unfurling on the pages.

A real shame, but it won't stop me from trying more from this author.
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