Saturday, February 28, 2015
Munich Airport is a new novel by Greg Baxter. There are lots of characters in this book, but the locale itself seems to be the main character –
"Munich Airport is a blue airport, there is blue everywhere. The blue is a serious and efficient blue but also an ebullient blue, full of promise and optimism and reassurance, a blue that says, Everything will be on time, society is safe, planes become faster and faster and also burn cleaner and cleaner, our floors are bacteria-free, the sandwiches are fresh, only beautiful people fly, all destinations are beautiful, everybody is getting wealthier and taller, we are conquering our weaknesses, soon we will all travel in space together. The blue is numinous, full of depth, somehow both spiritual and electromagnetic. And it is contained by a sober gray that you almost do not notice, a gray that says, The blue is where you want to go, but I am how you will get there."
Outline is a new novel by Rachel Cusk. Most of the story takes place in modern Athens, a setting of relentless noise and dirt and heat. There is, however, a long opening section inside an Athens-bound jetliner and this part sounds eerily similar to Greg Baxter -
"On the tarmac at Heathrow the planeful of people waited silently to be taken into the air. The air hostess stood in the aisle and mimed with her props as the recording played. We were strapped into our seats, a field of strangers, in a silence like the silence of a congregation while the liturgy is read. She showed us the life jacket with its little pipe, the emergency exits, the oxygen mask dangling from a length of clear tubing. She led us through the possibility of death and disaster, as the priest leads the congregation through the details of purgatory and hell; and no one jumped up to escape while there was still time. Instead we listened or half-listened, thinking about other things, as though some special hardness had been bestowed on us by this coupling of formality with doom. When the recorded voice came to the part about the oxygen masks, the hush remained unbroken: no one protested, or spoke up to disagree with this commandment that one should take care of others only after taking care of oneself. Yet I wasn't sure it was altogether true."