Night Flight

Saint-Exupery, Antoine de. Night Flight. Translated by Stuart Gilbert. San Diego: Harvest/HBJ Book, 1932.

Reason read: March 1949: B-45 Tornado bomber sets speed record at 675 miles per hour.

One single night in time. This is the simple, subtle, yet tragically beautiful story of three mail planes coming into Buenos Aires from Chile, Patagonia and Paraguay. On the ground is director Monsieur Riviere whose chief worry is the mail getting to its destination on time. He is bulldog stubborn about it despite looming dangers. Meanwhile, in the air, one of the pilots, newlywed Fabien, faces danger when cyclone – fierce storms blow in from the Andes.

This is a subtle yet powerful second installment of the aviation trilogy which begins with Wind, Sand and Stars and ends with Southern Mail. SPOILER: While Fabien’s death is never clearly spelled out, death is almost certain when his airplane never arrives in Buenos Aires.

Line I liked: “He bent his mind toward the memory” (p 18).

Author fact: Saint-Exupery was a airmail pilot himself.

Book trivia: In some cases this would have been considered a short story as it is only 88 pages long.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Flying High Above the Clouds” (p 94).

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