Saturday, 22 May 2010

A book a week in 2010: Up in the Air - Walter Kirn

George Clooney.

That got your attention.

Well he liked this book. He played the main character, Ryan Bingham, in the movie adaptation released in 2009.

I haven't seen the film, but thought the book would be worth reading as the movie had excellent reviews. Sadly, it wasn't. If you like middle-aged male existential angst then this is the book for you. It is not, however, for me.

Bingham is on a mission. To achieve the tantalising-close one million airmiles. How has he got to this amazing milestone? By flying around America as a gun-for-hire consultant to 'advise' clients (i.e. those being fired) about the life choices they have ahead of them.

But Bingham has lost himself on the way. He's sold his apartment. Aside from the identical hotel rooms he stays in, he has no real place called home. It takes a chance encounter with a fellow traveller and a visit from his sister to make him pause and wonder what it's all about.

Perhaps I'm being unfair. It's not all bad. There is real insight into the meaning of modern life early on. Reality begins to blur as you get a sense of being permanently in transit. It's just that the second half of the book hurtles into too much introspection for my taste, and becomes irritating. Frankly, it was a struggle just to finish.

I really wanted to like it, but Walter lost me, then never really got me back. Sorry George...

Up in the Air by Walter Kim
Published by John Murray, January 2010

Oh go on, Clooney fans, this one's for you....


  1. I hope you're doing well.

    I've just caught up with all of your book entries today (it's quiet at work)! I'm glad we're nearly halfway through the year and you're still going strong!

    I'd love to hear what you thought of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I personally loved the story, despite the cliches and slightly simplistic language, and I positively ate up the sequels! What did you think of it? I bet it was quite a challenge to read it in a week though!

  2. Good to hear from you! I've been a bit behind reading and very behind blogging. I loved Girl With... although, you're right, it's not perfect. But I lent it to a friend the day I finished it. Must get round to blogging. Now reading lots of short books and trying to blog two a week to catch up.

  3. Your reviews are very good and there are definitely some books I'd like to pick up.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Ah, cheers Laura! That's lovely to hear. I do wonder sometimes...!