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“Would you like champagne?”
This was the beginning; an hour or so out from Heathrow. Already it felt further; watches moved on, a day in a life condensed to a scramble at a check-in desk, a walk to a departure gate; a day cut short and eclipsed, hurtling on into advancing night. And now the steward leaned over her, putting this question.
“I don’t think so.” They had already eaten; dinner, she supposed. So much smoked salmon is consumed on aircraft that it is a wonder there is any left to eat at ground level.
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Hilary Mantel is the critically acclaimed author of eight novels, seven of which are available in paperback from Henry Holt. Winner of the Hawthornden Prize, she lives in England. Ms. Mantel reviews for The New York Times and the New York Review of Books.