Review: Landing by Emma Donoghue

I was in the library the other day, picking up landingThe Old Man and the Sea, and although I have a mountain – almost literally – of books at home, the thrill of picking a library book tempted me, and I scanned the shelfs in the D-H, where I had found the Hemingway, and saw Emma Donoghue’s name. Having read and enjoyed Room, I decided to pick one of her books at random and give it a whirl. I landed on Landing.

This is a story about a long distance gay relationship between Canadian Jude and Irish Sile, who meet on an airplane when the passenger next to Jude dies mid-flight. Sile, a flight attendant, offers to take the shaken-up Jude for coffee. Sparks fly, and they embark on a friendship that turns into something more.

There’s no doubt that Donoghue is a gifted writer. She’s brilliant, and Room was unlike anything I’ve read before. However, in Landing, I really didn’t care for the characters. I didn’t really think Jude and Sile were a good fit for each other – they both do things out of character to please the other – for instance, when Jude does cocaine in Ireland while visiting Sile. Yikes! It’s clear Sile feels out of place in small-town Ireland, Ontario, where Jude has lived all her life. It just seems like they are trying to make something work when maybe it isn’t at all meant to be. Maybe this is a more realistic relationship than usually seen in literature. I don’t know. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

If you are going to give Donoghue a whirl, I would recommend Room first. Anyway, not bad for a random library pick, I guess.

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