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Emperor of the Air (1988)

by Ethan Canin

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622733,159 (3.85)16
Written by the winner of the James Michener Award and the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award, this is a collection of short stories which explores the beauty and mystery in everyday existence. Other work by the author includes Blue River and The Palace Thief.
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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
listened to this. 4 stories--emperor of the air, where we are now, we are nighttime travellers, star food.
had listened before in july 94. ( )
  mahallett | May 22, 2013 |
This is a re-read for me, though I somehow - and unaccountably - had no memories of reading them. Old age, amnesia? Whatever the cause, these are near-perfect stories. ( )
  olevia | Apr 5, 2013 |
A wonderful writer. What is most amazing is his insight - all of the stories are in first person, and though most of his narrators are male (with one exception), their ages range dramatically. Considering he was about 26 when he wrote this, his ability to capture those different voices authentically is impressive. ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
The title story is awesome, and most of the others are close to it in quality. He nonchalantly switches between tenses and viewpoints from sentence to sentence, creating an almost dizzying tapestry of emotions and observations. The only dud is "We Are Nighttime Travellers," which reads as a parody of Canin's entire style. A 28 year old writing about a senile couple who have been married for almost 50 years? Stay within your bounds, Canin.

RIYL: Michael Chabon ( )
  YESterNOw | Nov 1, 2011 |
These are stories that are written with much rumination and a sort of subdued passion (if that's possible). All the stories are narrated from the first person and almost all of them (8 out of 9)are written from a male perspective, the protagonists being men of various backgrounds, profession, and age range, but through all of them there runs a theme of a man who is disenchanted with life, or self-searching, questioning. The stories touch upon family relations (at times dysfunctional), our sense of mortality and how we deal with it, and human emotions that come up against all sorts of turns that life offers. My favorite out of all the stories is "We Are Nighttime Travelers". There is a line in it where the narrator defines reading poetry as "deciphering other men's riddles". But at the same time, the stories at times have a poetic streak about them, or at least something other than pedestrian... ( )
  Clara53 | May 8, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Written by the winner of the James Michener Award and the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award, this is a collection of short stories which explores the beauty and mystery in everyday existence. Other work by the author includes Blue River and The Palace Thief.

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