The Book of Flying by Keith Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What might seem like a fairly straightforward quest involving Pico the librarian loving and losing his winged Sisi and going out on a quest to find his own wings or die trying quickly turns into one of the best Story-within-Story books I've read in a long time.
Why? Because he's a hopeless poet and a hapless adventurer. He's full of quirky stories told semi-inappropriately, falling in with bandits, having tea with minotaurs, and being lonely in young, vibrant crowds. Falling in love with literary and tightrope-walking whores. And a whole beautiful and disturbing section about eating. :) But more than all this, all the language is lyrical, poetical in instance, structure, and overarching plot.
It's about finally earning his wings.
And what the hell does that even mean? He doesn't know, either. The book is so damn sad and sweet and it pulls your soul apart. Every character is full of tragedy. Every character is full of love.
There's no way I can describe this without just telling you folks to READ IT. You'll know. Deep down. It's one of those works that speak to writers and deep readers of any caliber. The process of the discovery, the reveling in the imagination, the dark recesses, the loving ones, the sheer irrepressible dive into stories, stories, and more stories. How they define us, the stories we own, the stories we steal, the stories we give away, and the stories that are inherited, blown up, or die.
I can recommend this book forever and a day if that appeals to you at all.
And maybe, after much questing, you too can fly... if you can stomach the cost. :)
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