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Up in the Air Paperback – September 24, 2002
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Mocking the euphemisms of business speak is as easy as shooting fish in a designer barrel. But Kirn also takes on the corporate world's weirdly mystical and paranoid side, its rhetoric of personal empowerment and its messianic devotion to gurus. "Business is folk wisdom, cave-born, dark, Masonic, and the best consultants are outright shamans who sprinkle on the science like so much fairy dust," declares Bingham. (This doesn't stop him from working on his own book about "the transformational journey of one mind wholly at peace with its core competencies.") Meanwhile, his junket becomes progressively more surreal, complete with an evil nemesis as well as a mysteriously powerful firm called MythTech that's working behind the scenes. And what's worse, someone seems to have stolen his identity, assuming control of his credit cards and his all-important miles.
Is this model consumer being tracked as he makes his purchasing decisions, like an elk tagged by wildlife biologists? Or is he merely losing his mind? The ending answers these questions perhaps a little too neatly, but Kirn's disturbing satire packs a mighty wallop nonetheless. The writing is as sharp as a tack, punctuated by character sketches as brilliant as they are quick. Bingham and his ilk are modern nomads, dispossessed of physicality but not quite of their bodies. His simulated environment is not mimicking an actual place but replacing it--and that, to the author, is the scariest part of Airworld: "This is the place to see America, not down there, where the show is almost over." --Mary Park
Up in the Air is now a major motion picture starring George Clooney, Jason Bateman, and Anna Kendrick, and directed by Jason Reitman. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Kirn's philosophical voice is spoken through the mind of his protagonist; and Bingham, as a premise, is one interesting man. In his quest to reach one million frequent flier miles, and fulfill his job of motivational speaking and career transition counseling, he builds relationships with everyone in Air World he sees. That disconnect between what Bingham says and what Bingham thinks provides conflict and humor that other narration styles lose out on.
If you're looking for an action-backed book, look elsewhere. This novel is for those who find people more interesting than anything. Ominous conflicts, hilarious social interactions, a real portrayal of a fictitious character, all add up to a page-turning read of Up in the Air (Movie Tie-in Edition)
This book really didn't work for me as satire and it certainly didn't do a very convincing job of describing a frequent flyer's relationship to the skies... there's really no attention to the details of what it's like to fly, and as a 200,000+ mile flyer myself, I can say that I pay a lot more attention to the equipment, history, business, sights and sounds of flying than Bingham seems to (maybe that's just me) and, unlike in Bingham's world, I know you can't fly to little cities all over the West without going through a hub airport at least once.
In short, Kirn's Airworld is an arid dystopian fantasyland -- but one that didn't say much to me about either flying or life as a young man in the American West.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A stream of consciousness take on somewhat modern life ruled by our corporate-driven culture. A fast-paced, smart, and oft-times lively read, the story and writing style of the... Read morePublished 1 hour ago by A. Wells
This starts brilliantly. Halfway through, it takes a dumb turn. The movie picked up the great prose from the beginning and wove a much better overall story.Published 1 month ago by Laura A. Simms
I will admit that I went into reading this book with expectations. I had seen the movie first and thought that I would enjoy the book more. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tristan Sudduth
Interesting read. it was quite different from the movie. Some good ideas.Published 4 months ago by Chris B.
Book is more dreamy and the Vegas part seems unnecessarily protracted. Didn't expect the book to be SO different than the movie.Published 4 months ago by Alex Hao
some of the subplots really make the book drag. it's one of the few books that I've never finished. it's too bad, loved the movie.Published 6 months ago by Sean O'Neill
surprisingly dark, depressing, despondent and a tad incoherent. My bad for assuming that there would be some semblance to the popcorn movie.Published 9 months ago by Andrew Werden
It got tedious, but that is because his life was tedious. I think that was the message. I was glad to finish it.Published 10 months ago by Mary B Olea