Even a wrong turn leads somewhere…
It’s the year 2000 and a young man learns that his grandfather has died. He is faced with a choice: should he return to the family home in upstate New York for the last time? Or simply let his twin mothers, Marie Celeste and Celeste Marie, throw all his grandparents’ possessions away? Going back would mean the chance of meeting again with childhood sweetheart Yesim, and finding out what really happened to his mysterious father, the charismatic Richard Ente.
But the past has a way of turning into a messy present, and every choice has repercussions felt long after it is made. Exposing the fragility of love, sanity and family, Luminous Airplanes resonates with the echoes of repeated mistakes, and the hope that one day things could be better.
Reviews of Luminous Airplanes
- “This is one of the best works of fiction to come my way in a long time. Paul La Farge writes beautifully, with wit, humor and passion. He has created as thoroughly imagined a world as you would expect from Chekhov or Flaubert, and has bestowed upon two fictional families enough sympathy and care to rank himself among the best of parents. Luminous Airplanes is a quiet triumph of a book.” Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
- “Like some kind of freakishly gifted Olympic ice skater, Paul La Farge skates gracefully through decades of time, tracing the through lines from childhood games to the dramas and disintegrating dreams of adulthood … This perfect figure-8 of a book links San Francisco’s tech boom to one nerdy kid’s quest to seduce a girl with a computer game to the quacky cul-de-sacs of early aeronautics history to sleepy 1980s upstate New York to the Millerites’ cosmic goof. Luminous Airplanes is a coming of age story like none other I’ve ever read, one that seems to exists simultaneously in the past and the present, in plausible futures and science-fictional realms. Luminous Airplanes is brilliant, poignant, startling, hilarious, and a really, really fun read. I loved it.” Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
- “A brilliantly imagined novel . . . La Farge spins his tale with the grace of an acrobat. ” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
- “An open-ended, postmodern fable that somehow delivers the satisfaction of the novelistic conventions it subverts. For a narrative that defies the usual notions of plausibility, cause and effect, beginning and end – and leaves readers wondering what the title might have to do with the plot until the conclusion (or lack thereof) – the latest from La Farge is a page-turning pleasure … Where so much experimental fiction seems pessimistic or even cynical about its possibilities, this novel sustains a spirit of innocence and wonder.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)