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The Flying Man Paperback – July 8, 2013
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.