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Monday, March 28, 2011

Fearless


Max Klein has serious problems when it comes to flying.  Like pretty much everything else in his life, Max sees flying as just another disaster waiting to happen.  But, remarkably, when he finds himself in a passenger jet that is almost certainly going to crash, Max is one of the calmest people on the whole plane.  He is the guy who takes the time to comfort a young boy who is traveling alone, assuring the boy that everyone will be alright despite sincerely believing they would all soon be dead.  Then, improbable as it is, the pilot makes a miracle landing without killing everyone and Max becomes a folk hero.  Suddenly, the man who was terrified to fly feels invincible.

Carla Fransisca, on the other hand, boarded the plane with her young son figuring that this was going to be just another plane ride.  Now, because she was unable to save her son, Carla is crushed by the realization that she failed in the most important job of her life.  She blames herself for the toddler’s death and seems perfectly willing to live the rest of her life in seclusion.  `

Fearless begins with an airplane crash, one so vividly described by Rafael Yglesias that readers with even a tinge of the fear of flying will find themselves cringing at what the passengers are enduring.  The book looks at how people react to almost dying, how it changes the way they see the world and how they plan to spend the rest of their lives.  Living on “bonus time” is, it seems, a blessing for some, but a burden for those overcome by survivor’s guilt.

When, in the aftermath of the crash, Max finally meets Carla, he feels compelled to help her through the grief of losing her only child.  As their spouses watch helplessly from the sidelines, Max and Carla must decide who they will be for the rest of their lives.  This 1993 novel, part comedy and part tragedy, is both entertaining and thought provoking as it forces the reader to consider how he might react to his own near miss.

Rated at: 4.0

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)
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