Luminous Airplanes

A Novel

Paul La Farge


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A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

In September 2000, a young computer programmer comes home from a festival in the Nevada desert and learns that his grandfather has died. He must return to Thebes, a town so isolated that its inhabitants have their own language, and clean out the house where his family has lived for five generations. While he’s there, he remembers San Francisco in the wild years of the Internet boom, and begins an ill-advised romance in which past and present are dangerously confused. Paul la Farge's Luminous Airplanes is an expansive, hugely imaginative, and very funny novel about history, love, memory, family, flying machines, dance music, and the end of the world.

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ONECONTACT WITH OTHER WORLDSI had just come home from a festival in Nevada, the theme of which was Contact with Other Worlds, when my mother, or, I should say, one of my mothers, called to tell me that my grandfather had died."I've been trying to reach you for days," she said. "Where were you?"I told her I'd been camping. I didn't tell her I was at a pagan celebration where people danced around bonfires, a kind of dress rehearsal for the end of the world. I didn't mention the huge glowing fish or the women with wings.Celeste told me that my grandfather had died on Thursday morning, around the time

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Praise for Luminous Airplanes

“A perfect figure eight of a book…Luminous Airplanes is brilliant, poignant, startling, hilarious….I loved it.”---Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“Captivating…A wry, provocative, and often hilarious coming-of-age tale.”---The Boston Globe
“A strange and salutary shock…Luminous Airplanes isn’t about disconnection and meaninglessness. It is about connection and significance…the ramifying, mysterious ways we human beings affect each other, from parent to child, invention to invention, generation to generation.”---The New York Times Book Review
“La Farge tells his tale of homecoming compassionately but without sentimentality….Rather than submitting to the darkness of the sleeping bag that is modern fiction, La Farge encourages his readers to search the sky for the signs that herald the return of loved ones we’ve lost.”---Time Out (New York)
“Beautiful…Calls to mind Haruki Murakami…A high-concept novel worth reading.”---The Economist

In the Press

LUMINOUS AIRPLANES by Paul LaFargeKirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of LUMINOUS AIRPLANES . An open-ended, postmodern fable that somehow delivers the satisfaction of the novelistic conventions it subverts.
- Kirkus Reviews

Luminous Airplanes - By Paul La Farge - Book Review -
In this novel, a programmer unmoored by the death of his grandfather returns to the town where he spent childhood summers.
- The New York Times

New Fiction: "Luminous Airplanes": A high-concept novel worth reading | The Economist
Luminous Airplanes. By Paul La Farge. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 256 pages; to be published in Britain on November 14th Book publishing has its seasons. The easy...
- The Economist

Review: Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge | Books | reviews, guides, things to do, film - Time Out New York
It's a simple story, but this novel's disgressions resonate rewardingly.
- Time Out New York

Paul La Farge’s new novel, ‘Luminous Airplanes,’ serves up a postmodern coming-of-age tale - Books - The Boston Globe
A fractured journey into the past sets in motion Paul La Farge’s “Luminous Airplanes,’’ a wry and provocative coming-of-age tale. It is September 2000, and the narrator has been living aimlessly in a “city of ghosts’’ following the technology industry downswing. He still hasn’t finished his college dissertation on the Millerites, a 1800s sect that predicted the end of the world, and likens the group’s ascension robes to “luminous airplanes.’’ Existential musing is the order of the day
- The Boston Globe

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About the Author

Paul La Farge

Paul La Farge is the author of two novels: The Artist of the Missing (FSG, 1999) and Haussmann, or the Dis­tinction (FSG, 2001); and a book of imaginary dreams, The Facts of Win­ter. His short stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Harper’s Magazine, Fence, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. His nonfiction appears in The Believer, Bookforum, Playboy, and Cabinet. He lives in upstate New York.

Paul La Farge

Paul La Farge

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Available Formats and Book Details

Luminous Airplanes
A Novel
Paul La Farge

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
October 2012
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250013828
ISBN10: 1250013828
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 256 pages

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
September 2011
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429949910
ISBN10: 1429949910
256 pages

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