Friday, March 9, 2018

The Flight Attendant

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: March 13th 2018 by Doubleday 
received from the publisher for an honest review 
genre: suspense, mystery, literary, contemporary fiction

Here's a confession: I love Chris Bohjalian. Okay, I love Chris Bohjalian's writing skills and writing style. I've been reading him, off and on, since Midwives. I've only missed a few titles along the way, but that's because I'm not into historical fiction that much unless it's a mystery. I really liked and/or loved these titles, though: Midwives, The Double Bind, Close Your Eyes- Hold Hands, The Night Strangers, The Sleepwalker, Secrets of Eden, Before You Know Kindness, The Buffalo Soldier, Water Witches, and The Law of Similars. I missed out on Tran-Sister Radio, The Guest Room, Skeletons at the Feast, The Light in the Ruins, and The Sandcastle Girls-- probably some of his most famous (though maybe not popular) titles over the years, not counting Midwives of course, which arguably remains his best-known novel. I own a signed copy of Water Witches, not one of my favorites by him, but I stumbled upon a table of signed copies of this title in a bookstore (when I lived in New England and he had been at a local author's event earlier).

The Flight Attendant will be among my top 5 novels by Bohjalian! It starts off with a roaring ascent, cruises along with milder altitudes of suspense while setting the scene and fleshing out the main characters, hits some turbulence mid-stream, then wham! Here comes an exciting landing at the end that should satisfy many readers.

I can see where some folks didn't like the way he drew to a close per Goodreads early reviews-- don't read them if you plan on reading this book-- they give too much away! There's no cliffhanger (it's a stand-alone) and it wraps up the plot, but whether it's too predictable or too unpredictable, who cares? It's a fun story to madly flip pages for.  More fun for me was reading a book that took place in settings I know little about from fiction: Dubai for the most part, then Italy. Also, reading about flight attendants and their crazy lifestyle was pure enjoyment for me, an infrequent flier. I never warmed up to Cassie the flight attendant, with her hard-drinking partying and blacked-out sex with her one night stands, but it didn't matter...

"She wouldn't let alcohol destroy her the way it had destroyed him. And for over a decade and a half--until Dubai-- on some level she had even believed that. Because it wasn't until Dubai that she had really become one with her father by allowing her addiction to lead her to the dead. You can repair anything but dead. You can't fix that." didn't need to support her or feel sorry for her. This is one of those stories where you don't have to root for any particular character; you just have to follow the slightly confusing plot lines until they untangle and come together at the end.
"Someday you'll hit bottom," she said. "For most people, that would have been Dubai. Not you, apparently. We'll see."

Minor spoiler below not mentioned in blurb, but mentioned in others' reviews... be warned!

My only minor quibble, which is about my enjoyment level and not the writing: I knew there was FBI in the story from the blurb, but didn't expect the inclusion of government spies and international counter-spies (something I don't usually select to read about), but luckily the other parts of the plot held me engrossed and I could enjoy even those passages just fine.  

This e-arc was provided to me through NetGalley in expectation of a fair review, and all thoughts and opinions stated above are my own.