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Vlucht ➪ [Ebook] ➥ Vlucht By Chang-rae Lee ➵ – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk The New York Times bestselling novel by the critically acclaimed author of Native Speaker and A Gesture LifeAt , Jerry Battle is coasting through life His favorite pastime is flying his small plane hi The New York Times bestselling novel by the critically acclaimed author of Native Speaker and A Gesture LifeAt , Jerry Battle is coasting through life His favorite pastime is flying his small plane high above Long Island Aloft, he can escape from the troubles that plague his family, neighbors, and loved ones on the ground But he can t stay in the air forever Only months before his th birthday, a culmination of family crises finally pull Jerry down from his emotionally distant courseJerry learns that his family s stability is in jeopardy His father, Hank, is growing increasingly unhappy in his assisted living facility His son, Jack, has taken over the family landscaping business but is running it into bankruptcy His daughter, Theresa, has become pregnant and has been diagnosed with cancer His longtime girlfriend, Rita, who helped raise his children, has now moved in with another man And Jerry still has unanswered questions that he must face regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of his late wifeSince the day his wife died, Jerry has turned avoiding conflict into an art form the perfect expression being his solitary flights from which he can look down on a world that appears serene and unscathed From his comfortable distance, he can t see the messy details, let alone begin to confront them But Jerry is learning that in avoiding conflict, he is also avoiding contact with the people he loves most.


About the Author: Chang-rae Lee

Chang Rae Lee born July , is a first generation Korean American novelistLee was born in Korea in He emigrated to the United States with his family when he was years old He was raised in Westchester, New York but attended Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire He received his BA in English from Yale University and MFA in Writing from the University of Oregon He worked as a Wall Street financial analyst for a year before turning to writing full timeHe teaches writing at Princeton University, and currently serves as the director of Princeton s Program in Creative Writing.



10 thoughts on “Vlucht

  1. Stephanie Stephanie says:

    Feb 2009 book club selection.This book was very challenging for me to get through because I can t stand long sentences It s really tough to remember what s going on if you didn t read this in one sitting, and it s tough to read this in one sitting because I didn t feel like anything drove the storyline There s not so much a story as it is a glimpse in a period of a time in a 59 year old s life I suppose it s about family But it reads like a journal with many topical detours that may have had Feb 2009 book club selection.This book was very challenging for me to get through because I can t stand long sentences It s really tough to remember what s going on if you didn t read this in one sitting, and it s tough to read this in one sitting because I didn t feel like anything drove the storyline There s not so much a story as it is a glimpse in a period of a time in a 59 year old s life I suppose it s about family But it reads like a journal with many topical detours that may have had a purpose, but because they were so verbose, it wasn t appealing to me Definitely raises interesting issues of race consciousness On the whole, I d pass


  2. Book Concierge Book Concierge says:

    Audiobook performed by Don Leslie From the book jacket Aloft offers a reexamination of the American dream from the inside out, through the voice of Jerry Battle, a suburban middle aged man who has lived his entire life on Long Island, New York Battle s favorite diversion is to fly his small plane solo slipping away for quick flights over the Island, Jerry has been disappearing for years Then a family crisis occurs, and Jerry finds he must face his disengagement in his relationships My React Audiobook performed by Don Leslie From the book jacket Aloft offers a reexamination of the American dream from the inside out, through the voice of Jerry Battle, a suburban middle aged man who has lived his entire life on Long Island, New York Battle s favorite diversion is to fly his small plane solo slipping away for quick flights over the Island, Jerry has been disappearing for years Then a family crisis occurs, and Jerry finds he must face his disengagement in his relationships My Reactions Jerry Battle is the narrator of this character driven novel It is his unavailability emotionally and physically that colors all the relationships he has He reflects on his deceased wife, Daisy, who is apparently bi polar, and her death, but seems really not to understand or want to face what really happened His long term live in girlfriend has left him, though she is still a part of his family circle since she basically raised his children and they love her He cannot seem to admit to himself, orimportantly to Rita how much he misses her, or how culpable he was in destroying their relationship He prides himself on how well he has handled his wife s death, raised their children alone, and managed the family business, but he seems completely unaware of what is really going on At times he behaves like a teenager getting into ridiculous contest to prove to his ex girlfriend, her current fianc , and or to himself that he is really THE ALPHA MALE And then he s perplexed by his own son s need to prove the same with a bigger house, fancier cars, etc My reactions to Jerry were as puzzling as his own reactions to what s going on around him I was angry, confused, frustrated, ready to give up, wanted to go on, and ultimately loved him and his family I ll definitely try another of Lee s novels.Don Leslie did a fine job performing the audio version His inflection seemed to perfectly portray Jerry s emotional distance, and tardy awakening


  3. Mara Mara says:

    I guess the point of this book is that it s kind of apathetic and just sort of drifts along with no particular direction Which is all well and good, except that it doesn t make for a very good read It s sort of boring and annoying In this book, all the characters are flat, and rather unlikeable Due to the first person narrator, we don t even get much of a sense of the other characters they re just sort of background noise to the non story being told The effect is that we never really feel I guess the point of this book is that it s kind of apathetic and just sort of drifts along with no particular direction Which is all well and good, except that it doesn t make for a very good read It s sort of boring and annoying In this book, all the characters are flat, and rather unlikeable Due to the first person narrator, we don t even get much of a sense of the other characters they re just sort of background noise to the non story being told The effect is that we never really feel connected to the story, and don t really care about any of the characters Also, our first person narrator has an extreme tendency to ramble in run on sentences As a literary technique, I don t mind this too much, but when the character himself is boring, any little quirk in his voice becomes grating


  4. Rose Rose says:

    Like eating a bowl of whipped cream, bland and fluffy, though well crafted and containing a suitable number of tragic life events Reads somewhat like an homage to Richard Ford.


  5. Rev. Nyarkoleptek Rev. Nyarkoleptek says:

    I never thought I d suggest that an author dumb it down, but here I am Aloft is not a poorly written novel the exact opposite, actually you can tell Chang rae Lee s really making use of his educational background But that craftmanship is the reason that I didn t buy the narrator s voice Maybe I just don t travel in the right circles, but Jerry the lead character and narrator spoke too eloquently to be believable He s a blue collar working stiff Why s his internal dialog sounding l I never thought I d suggest that an author dumb it down, but here I am Aloft is not a poorly written novel the exact opposite, actually you can tell Chang rae Lee s really making use of his educational background But that craftmanship is the reason that I didn t buy the narrator s voice Maybe I just don t travel in the right circles, but Jerry the lead character and narrator spoke too eloquently to be believable He s a blue collar working stiff Why s his internal dialog sounding like a Princeton English professor Well, the book was written by a Princeton English professor That s why And from what I read which admittedly wasn t much , there s nothing to indicate that Jerry s silent eloquence bubbles up from hidden depths No one says to him, hey, Jer, I never had no idea ya had such a, y know, penetratin worl view Guess hangin around them college bimbos rubbed off, huh Hey, let s find us some broads and go to town If Lee had decided to write in third person narration, I might have really enjoyed this book Instead, onto the Abandoned shelf it goes


  6. Ron Charles Ron Charles says:

    It s early yet, and the fall season will certainly bring some wonderful novels, but it seems safe to say that Aloft will be one of the best books of the year Given the beauty of Chang rae Lee s previous work, this isn t too surprising In 1999, A Gesture Life appeared on many best of the year lists including ours Before that, his first novel, Native Speaker 1995 , won several of those second tier prizes that sometimes signal a great talent has entered the library.Although the Korean It s early yet, and the fall season will certainly bring some wonderful novels, but it seems safe to say that Aloft will be one of the best books of the year Given the beauty of Chang rae Lee s previous work, this isn t too surprising In 1999, A Gesture Life appeared on many best of the year lists including ours Before that, his first novel, Native Speaker 1995 , won several of those second tier prizes that sometimes signal a great talent has entered the library.Although the Korean born author has written specifically about the Asian American experience, Lee s audience has always been diverse, responding to his universal themes of dislocation and identity With Aloft, he moves even further from the outlines of his own cultural heritage, presenting a narrator who s Italian American, a retired landscaper in an affluent suburb on Long Island.But issues of race are still here everywhere, in fact The narrator, Jerry Battle born Battaglia , notes everyone s ethnic and racial classification with the ironic self consciousness of a white man who knows it s not kosher to note such things any.He was married to a Korean woman who died 20 years ago his Puerto Rican girlfriend has recently left him his daughter is engaged to an Asian American writer he works part time with a young Hispanic man at a travel agency In other words, Jerry is like most Americans, pretending to be colorblind in the most colorful country on earth.Up in the sky, though, flying his little plane, he can t see anyone s face It s a box seat for a man who finds it easiest to appreciate people particularly family when gazing down on them from a fetching, ever mitigating distance of 3,000 feet.The novel opens with Jerry s Godlike pronouncement Everything looks perfect to me, and for the next 350 pages, he talks on and on to us in a voice that s maddeningly self absorbed, wonderfully witty, constantly conflicted, often wise, and ultimately redeemed.For many years, equipped with a wide range of people shedding skills, Jerry has worked to secure the kind of isolation he s enjoying, but now living alone, cut off politely from his children and his father, he finds that the cup of absolute freedom has a bitter aftertaste.He s not entirely sure why his girlfriend of 20 years walked out on him, but he suspects it may have something to do with keeping her a girlfriend for 20 years His irascible, oversexed father is unhappily imprisoned in an expensive assisted living facility, where Jerry has to visit only when the guilt becomes acute His son has taken over the family landscaping business and turned it into a money machine that makes Jerry proud even while he worries how this rush of prosperity is ruining him And his daughter has a PhD in critical theory, which means that his hegemonic male privilege is the subject of her constant, dismissive analysis.He backs away from moments of intimacy, even while craving them, complaining to us confidentially that those closest to you seem to clam up at every chance of genuine kinship How much neater, anyhow, to travel the world, sampling unencumbering moments of intimacy, leaping to aid all manner of strangers and tourists and other wide eyed foreigners Jerry thinks he d be happy to keep soaring above all the messy and irreconcilable complications of family relationships relying on what his daughter calls his preternatural lazy heartedness But despite his best efforts, what he refers to as the Real keeps calling him back down to earth.First, there s his son s new opulence, all the flourishes of suburban royalty from teak cabinetry to nickel plated faucets, wonderfully satirized by Jerry, who suspects the business won t support such excess for long But of course, he can t bring himself to ask how it s going too personal , and he knows or wants to believe that his offer to help would be declined anyway.More troubling, his daughter announces that she s pregnant and diagnosed with cancer Furious about her decision to delay medical treatment until the baby arrives, he nevertheless knows that she won t listen to him even if he could summon up the equanimity to speak calmly before his frustration and her pride blew them back into silence.His affections, though well muzzled, refuse to stay quiet, even after a lifetime of avoiding in depth and nuanced discussions In one of several very funny scenes, he tracks down his girlfriend at the mansion of her fabulously wealthy new boyfriend and proposes When she scoffs at him You have no clue what you re saying or what it might mean he wagers his plane in a tennis match with her lover.But Aloft is not really a book of scenes or events, as funny, moving, or tragic as those are Lee s genius is this confidential voice, full of cultural analysis, ironic asides, sexual candor, and unconscious revelations, laced along through one breathless paragraph after another in improbably extended sentences, perpetually buoyed by wit and insight He s perfectly captured the conflicted confidence of a man who knows he can be a jerk but hopes that knowing that might win him some consolation.Strung between his father, who taught him how effective it can be to say grindingly little at the very moment you ought to say a lot, and his children, who can t imagine how much he needs and loves them, Jerry must finally learn how to speak from the heart to move beyond the patriarchal Post it Notes before his family collapses in a series of financial and physical disasters.This feels like Rabbit country, of course, the anxieties of a suburban man so masterfully tended by John Updike in those four devastating novels But Lee is after something altogetherhopeful here, though no less sophisticated the anti Rabbit, at least an antidote to Rabbitism.Jerry runs from his responsibilities with no less vigor than Harry Angstrom, and he s grown just as rich, but when he comes finally to rest, it s not in death or the clouds, but in the deep satisfaction of embracing his family with all those annoyances and entangling affections he thought he wanted to flee.http www.csmonitor.com 2004 0309 p1


  7. Becca Becca says:

    I bought Aloft for two reasons first of all, it was on the bargain book table at Booksmith But,importantly, it is by Chang Rae Lee A few years ago, I read another book of his for my contemporary novel class, Native Speaker For me, Native Speaker was one of those books that seemed like it was written just for me It s easily one of my favorite books of all time I didn t enjoy Aloft as much, but like Native Speaker, it tackles the themes of race and family and how those both factor in t I bought Aloft for two reasons first of all, it was on the bargain book table at Booksmith But,importantly, it is by Chang Rae Lee A few years ago, I read another book of his for my contemporary novel class, Native Speaker For me, Native Speaker was one of those books that seemed like it was written just for me It s easily one of my favorite books of all time I didn t enjoy Aloft as much, but like Native Speaker, it tackles the themes of race and family and how those both factor in to identity Also like Native Speaker, it is very well written.I think the reason that I like Lee s books so much is that they are about life situations that are entirely different from my own and yet are completely relatable Native Speaker, in particular, focuses on race and assimilation, but it is framed in such a way that it s not just about how being Korean American affects the main character, but how we are all shaped by our families and our language and our geographic roots I also appreciate that the characters, despite some extraordinary traits the protagonist of Native Speaker, for example, is a spy , are pretty normal They are no better or worse than the rest of us They have strengths, sure, but they aren t saints Similarly, they have weaknesses, but they aren t rapists or murderers The characters are just like people that any one of us might know.In particular, both Native Speaker and Aloft strike a personal chord with me because I know that so much of who I am is because of my family, for better or for worse In fact, I m probably a lot like Theresa in Aloft As a teenager, she deliberately distances herself from her family and tries to be the opposite of what her father is hey, don t we all to some extent And yet, because of that she is probably evendefined by her family than her brother, Jack, even if the definition is the opposite, if that makes sense She comes around in the end, though, and is ultimately the glue that brings her family closer together than ever Okay, so I m not so conceited as to think I ll be the glue that brings my family together, but I have come to appreciate my family a lot in my twenties.So, I really enjoyed Aloft, but nothing like the way I did Native Speaker I also think the latter might appeal to a broader audience, so I highly recommend it and only recommend Aloft for people who have agreed with some of my other book reviews on this blog


  8. Erin Erin says:

    What a beautiful book Aloft is the story of Jerry Battle, an almost sixty partial retiree who, by his own admission, floats above the problems of life through denial and self centeredness Chang rae Lee doesn t make Jerry despicable, just pitiable, although there are moments in Jerry s stream of consciousness narration where he reveals sharp observational powers These moments only serve to highlight his general laziness, though The reader comes to know that Jerry could do a lot better by his What a beautiful book Aloft is the story of Jerry Battle, an almost sixty partial retiree who, by his own admission, floats above the problems of life through denial and self centeredness Chang rae Lee doesn t make Jerry despicable, just pitiable, although there are moments in Jerry s stream of consciousness narration where he reveals sharp observational powers These moments only serve to highlight his general laziness, though The reader comes to know that Jerry could do a lot better by his family and friends if he just felt like it, but it often seems to Jerry like too much work.Like A Gesture Life, Aloft deals with suburban American life, growing older in a culture ashamed of death, mental illness in a time when it was badly misunderstood not that it is greatly understood now , and the almost gentle racism that pervades a certain segment of middle aged white Americans, the kind that doesn t lend itself to hate speech or violence but to a subtle and pervasive separation My favorite part of the book is how Lee slowly reveals Jerry to be an unreliable narrator Jerry is mostly irony free, but he has his moments of humor and anger I could see him making excuses for his bad behavior while simultaneously chastising himself for said behavior The entire story is told from his point of view, but somehow the other characters are just as well illuminated as he is Chang rae Lee is probably one of America s great contemporary writers, and reading his work is pure pleasure


  9. Chris Chris says:

    This is a family drama which usually means a chick lit type of book However, make no mistake this is a guy s book Evenspecifically, it is a middle aged guy s book I doubt that I would have found much to interest me if I read this at 20, but at 50 it resonated as closely as stories told at a family reunion and at times I felt like an uncle grabbed me and said Don t laugh, have you thought we could be talking about you Jerry Battle would be unlikable if he weren t so honest That i This is a family drama which usually means a chick lit type of book However, make no mistake this is a guy s book Evenspecifically, it is a middle aged guy s book I doubt that I would have found much to interest me if I read this at 20, but at 50 it resonated as closely as stories told at a family reunion and at times I felt like an uncle grabbed me and said Don t laugh, have you thought we could be talking about you Jerry Battle would be unlikable if he weren t so honest That is probably also why this book works As self centered as they come, he is also a keen observer of human nature particularly his own Jerry has to constantly remind himself of how he SHOULD feel or act at a certain time and take himself to task for falling short Using the imagery of flight we take a seat next to Jerry as he, in his annoyingly detached way, describes the events of his life and those of his family Always from a safe emotional distance in the clouds From above one can survey the devastated terrain and accurately assess the damage, but does not get one s feet dirty.That is until both metaphorically and physically he is taken on a white knuckled ride out of those clouds and onto the ground And into the real Where his presence makes the pain unavoidable and and where he can finally take his place among the people in his life Brilliant book At times hilarious and heart breaking I read slowly and found myself stopping and re reading countless times to enjoy the beauty of a phrase or to ponder the truth of what Lee is telling us


  10. Yulia Yulia says:

    I ll always read what Lee writes, but I m baffled by the critical praise this book received His narrator is a retired landscaper who s Italian American, but I just never bought that Lee was comfortable in this skin He alternates between overwriting aggressively long sentences and using slang and tough guy talk that just never seems plausible, as if the narrator has to remind himself of his role but continues to fall out of character Some sentences were so tangled by their ambition, I d find m I ll always read what Lee writes, but I m baffled by the critical praise this book received His narrator is a retired landscaper who s Italian American, but I just never bought that Lee was comfortable in this skin He alternates between overwriting aggressively long sentences and using slang and tough guy talk that just never seems plausible, as if the narrator has to remind himself of his role but continues to fall out of character Some sentences were so tangled by their ambition, I d find myself unable to get past them they were so intractable It s not that I couldn t believe a landscaper could philosophize for pages about human potential, but that the man seemed to be torn between two voices that never quite met Regardless of his narrator s background, Lee can get caught up in his love for particular words like angle v and accrue and I couldn t help wondering if there was a 12 step program for getting over such a specific idiolect addiction ah, an editor Thankfully, he manages to make everything come together in that last tenth of the book and we understand what he s been building up to, like a puzzle that suddenly reveals itself or perhaps that s my convincing myself it was worth the struggle , but it ultimately can t fully erase my memory of all the awkward passages that preceded it 2.5 stars


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