I was just about to say sixth “novel” but three of the others were short story collections. Emma is a terrific short-storyist, and yet I think she is even a greater novelist. She’s written five.
So let’s talk about this one, her latest, called Landing.
→ First off, I freakin’ LOVED IT.
Landing is about two women that fall for each other while having coffee and eating raisin crumpets at London’s Heathrow airport.
They met because an old guy died on the first woman. And when I say “on” I mean “on”.
Her name is Jude Turner. She was on a flight to London to retrieve her ill mother.
Jude is from a small town, [fictitious] Ireland, Ontario, and this is her first time in a plane. The old man seated next to her quietly croaks, and leans into her. At first Jude thinks he is merely sleeping.
Alerting the stewardess to the situation, they together conclude that he is totally dead.
Upon landing at Heathrow, they meet again at the baggage carousel and end up in the restaurant, talking. Not her and the dead guy. Her and this hot stewardess.
Sile [pronounced Sheila] is her name.
She lives in Dublin, and she is Irish / Indian. Voluptuous. Ravishing, even. Sile is hip, addicted to technology, and leads a vibrant, socially exuberant, urban lifestyle.
Jude wears very worn jeans, and is somewhat androgynous. She cuts her own hair. Badly. She rides a Triumph motorcylce when she is not driving her old rusty Ford Mustang. She eschews technology and leads an extremely quiet life as a museum curator, back in Ontario.
Although Sile and Jude go their separate ways after their initial encounter, they cannot seem to forget about each other.
And so, they re-connect. Sile initiates this.
But their re-connection is limited to the telephone and [later] the Internet.
E-mail. [Also, old-fashioned actual paper letters are sent!]
While their relationship grows as a result of these connections, the very [shall we say, untactile?] means in which they are forced to communicate only accentuates the physical distance between them.
In a phrase, → it drives them crazy!
And so they meet again.
And then return to their respective corners of the planet.
And e-mail, and telephone, and call and call, and write, and e-mail.
Of being together.
Landing is a wonderfully-written, realistic look at the difficulties inherent in Long-Distance Relationships… or LDR’s, as they are often referred to in the book.
There may have been a time when lovers restricted their “partner-finding” to some sort of five-mile radius of their own homestead, but those days are over. Ours is the era of the global village, and there are really very few insurmountable geographical boundaries to “love.”
It’s true! People from different countries are falling in love with each other.
Don’t even ask me how well I know this to be true!
Landing never downplays these difficulties, but rather, Emma ratchets things up to an almost unbearable point.
We want the best for Sile and Jude, even while we, the readers, are often just as confused as they are, as to what the best might mean for them!
There are many twists and many turns in this novel which I will not at all mention here.
I encourage you to GET THE BOOK and enjoy these for yourself.
At the end of Landing, I cried. A bit. In a public place [Starbucks]. I must confess.
Emma Donoghue is one of my favorite contemporary writers, and Landing is a winner.
If you are not reading Emma Donoghue, well, this is just total proof that you and I are not meant for each other!
We’re too far apart, for one thing…..