Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: "A Week at the Airport" by Alain de Botton

The "fish out of water"/expat book of the month for March is a little bit different then the others before it. It takes place completely in the airport - so maybe it's technically a pre "fish out of water"/expat book.

In 2008, Terminal 5 opened in London's Heathrow airport. It was designed to handle 35 million people a year. It's huge. It's opening was a cause for celebration , and in a unique twist our author was invited to spend a whole week as the "writer in residence" and to write about the people he met, the things he saw and the inner workings of this huge production.

It's honestly a bit of a struggle to not just make this whole book review just a series of quotes. Our author has a lot of beautifully crafted sentences, and I found myself putting my little sticky notes in many pages. (As an aside, this author has written several other books and I look forward to picking up one or two in the future, and hopefully finding more beautifully crafted sentences).

So let me drop some examples on you:

Alain gets to stay in the ariport's hotel and has these thought's while perusing over the room service menu:

"There can be few literary works in any language as poetic as a room-service menu...the verse composed by the anonymous master at work somewhere within the Sofitel's catering operation

Delicate field greens with sun-dried cranberries,
Poached pears, Gorgonzola cheese
And candied walnuts in a Zinfandel vinaigrette"

(Poetry doesn't usually make me hungry like this does!

On a couple that gets reunited at the airport, but then has to do what everyone else does - actually get out of the airport

"It seems curious but in the end appropriate that life should often put in our way, so near to the site of some of our most intense and heartfelt encounters, one of the greatest obstacles known to relationships; the requirement to pay for and then negotiate a way out of a multi-storey car park".

Getting out of the car park (parking garage) is bad, but probably still not as bad as going to IKEA together, potentially.

I also thought that the "chapter" (they're really more like bulletin points broken down into 3 bigger sections) on how and where they make the different airline's food is also really interesting. 

This was a fast, easy, short read but it had heart and was really interesting and lovingly written. 3.5 stars out of 5!

Also, yay cool cover!

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