Friday, October 9, 2009

Up in the Air - Book #92

Title Up in the Air
Author Walter Kirn
Genre Adult Fiction
Pages 303
Publisher Double Day
Copyright 2001

Synopsis (from web-site)
Ryan Bingham is a 35 year old career transition counselor at a Denver-based management consulting company, Integrated Strategic Management (ISM). He flies around the country firing people. Ryan is trying to get to one million frequent flyer miles before he leaves or he's fired from his employer.

He is divorced and his younger, disturbed sister is about to embark on yet another disastrous relationship. Ryan is positioning himself to be hired by MythTech, a shadowy company in Omaha.

Ryan inhabits a world of Palm Pilots, rental cars, salted almonds, Kevlar luggage and nameless suite hotels where e-mail and voice mail are the communication norm. He takes a lot of pills and spends time with women in Las Vegas. Ryan fears that someone may be furtively cashing in his precious miles, which would be tantamount to stealing his soul.

Why I read It
I heard a segment on NPR about the Toronto Film Festival in which they praised the new George Clooney movie based on this book. I always like to read books being made into movies so I picked this up.

The Good
The character was engaging and I like the idea of following a person who is a consistent air traveler.

The Bad
The plot was all over the place, and only took shallow dips in each location.

The Ugly (my opinion)
Having read the book I still have no idea what it is about. I await the movie to explain it to me.

The Truth? (other reviews)
Entertainment Weekly

Mormon Mentions
All over the place. The protagonist has a sister who lives in Salt Lake City and the LDS church is an ongoing background character. Anotherwords it is in show but doesn’t have any lines. Nothing good or bad is really said about the church, it is just there.

Author Biography

A 1983 graduate of Princeton University, he has published a collection of short stories and several novels, including Thumbsucker, which was made into a 2005 film featuring Keanu Reeves and Vince Vaughn; Up in the Air, currently in production as a feature film directed by Jason Reitman; and Mission to America. In 2005, he took over pioneer blogger Andrew Sullivan's shoes for a few weeks while Sullivan was on vacation. He has also written The Unbinding, an Internet-only novel that was posted in Slate magazine.

He has also reviewed books for New York magazine and has written for The New York Times Book Review and New York Times Sunday Magazine, and is a contributing editor of Time, where he has received popularity for his entertaining and sometimes humorous first-person essays among other articles of interest. He also served as an American cultural correspondent for the BBC.

In addition to teaching nonfiction writing at the University of Montana, Kirn was the 2008-09 Vare Nonfiction Writer in Residence at the University of Chicago. He received his B.A. English at Princeton University in 1983, and studied English Literature at Oxford University.

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