» » Aloft

Download Aloft epub

by Chang-rae Lee

New York Times bestseller Aloft follows the life of a suburban, white, middle-class man during a time of family crisis. Jerry's favorite diversion is to take his small plane and fly solo over Long Island. When his daughter and her fiancé arrive from Oregon to announce their marriage plans Theresa's dangerous pregnancy, he thinks back over his life and begins to face his disengagement with it and with his relationships with others: with his deceased wife, the circumstances of whose death has never fully admitted to; with his former girlfriend, whom he still longs for; with his pregnant daughter, who refuses to address the cancer that is killing her; with his son, who is losing the family business; and with his father, who is in a nursing home. Aloft is a quiet yet intense study of family, the American dream, and the American character.
Download Aloft epub
ISBN: 156511888X
ISBN13: 978-1565118881
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Literary
Author: Chang-rae Lee
Language: English
Publisher: Highbridge Audio; Unabridged,Unabridged edition (March 8, 2004)
ePUB size: 1239 kb
FB2 size: 1433 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 489
Other Formats: lit mobi azw mbr

I picked up Chang-rae Lee's Aloft after reading one of his newer books and hearing that his older books were even better. I was not disappointed as Aloft is a well-written account of a fractured but interesting Italian-American family struggling to stay connected in an increasingly complicated world. The book is not a fast-moving one; so don't expect a massive page-turner. But if you stick with it, you will enjoy Lee's exquisite writing style and deep description of the interesting characters found in Aloft.

The story is about the Battle family as told by Jerry Battle. Jerry is basically retired and spends his time in Long Island, NY flying his single engine plane and ruminating on the vicissitudes of life. His first wife died many years ago and his Hispanic-American long-time girlfriend Rita moved out and is now living with his former nerdy lawyer classmate and his Ferrari collection. Jerry's son Jack is running the family landscaping business (into the ground literally) and his daughter Theresa is pregnant and about to be married to one Asia-American name Peter who is basically an out of work writer. Jerry misses Rita and tries to win her back in a series of ways including one that is fairly comical (I'll let you read all about that). Theresa's health is failing. And to top it of, Jerry's father--Pop--is ensconced in a nursing home while bellowing out his views on life and the women surrounding him in the home.

Quite a good book that explores a variety of cultures melding together into a loosely affiliated family. I highly recommend it for fans of Chang-rae Lee as well as anyone who wants a good but not very fast read.
Unlike Lee’s two previous novels centered around an Asian male, Aloft follows one white, 59 year-old Jerry Battle. But like Lee’s two previous novels, Aloft illuminates the alienating alienness of an inherent, emotionally evasive personality; Jerry Battle quietly abhors conflict so that intimacy is almost an impossibility. Perhaps that is why Lee starts the novel with the exuberant relief Jerry feels with Donnie, his personal propeller, tens to hundreds of thousands of feet away from the nearest warm bodied being.

cf. sooholee.wordpress
I was surprised at how much I liked this book, and how absorbed I became in it. It was chosen by a book club that I'm in, and I didn't expect to love it so much.

What was it that was so affecting about it? I think it was the cynical, hard-bitten, but humorous voice of the narrator, Jerry Battle. Jerry is pretty aware of his own shortcomings, but by the end of the novel, he has overcome some of them, mainly his aversion to breaking out of his self-absorption long enough to attend to other people's needs. But the other people in his somewhat estranged family have so many crises that he eventually has to give up his narcissism.

I'm not sure this happens very often in real life, but no matter: along the way, Jerry's ruminations about the unpredictability of life, about aging versus youth, and about death and aloneness seemed very real and resonated with my own experience.

Also, Lee's writing is beautiful, even when filtered through the voice of the very unwriterly narrator Jerry.
The story is fine but the characters had me hoping they would all grow-up. Self absorbed and boring.
This book, the first I've read by Lee, is a delight. The prose is simply wonderful: it's the kind of writing that makes us aware of how beautiful language can be. In addition, Lee's narration contains sharp insights about human behavior and the world in general.

Add to this a story that is engaging and you've got a great book.

The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because of some cliches I saw, particularly in the character of "Pop," a curmudgeonly old "geezer."

Read this book for an engaging story with fine writing.
In "Aloft", once you have got used to the very lengthy sentences you are rewarded with superb descriptions, each word judiciously chosen. Lee is up there with Cheever, Russo and Updike as a chronicler of the problems and challenges, sadnesses and small pleasures encountered by today's Everyman. I am only annoyed that I have just discovered this superb author. "Aloft" is definitely one of my books of the year (a confident claim, made in mid January). I am now about to purchase and read his other works.
Too lengthy and too reflective.