Tie into the Warner Bros. Max and Carla are two New Yorkers who have nothing in common until they both survive a plane crash. Now they must face their families, friends, guilt and each other in this deftly-crafted saga.
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Writing very smartly indeed but no better or worse than in his largely well-received Hot Properties, The Murderer Next Door, etc., Yglesias achieves by sheer dint of an inspired story what may be his breakthrough novel (already optioned for a Peter Weir film starring Jeff Bridges and Isabella Rossellini). This time out, he tells of a magical change of character in the survivor of a runway air-crash. First-rate but unfulfilled architect Max Stein becomes really alive, fearless of all constraints, and sets out to trim all the deadwood out of his life and stand dripping with dew in the early lilacs. This lightning bolt of alienation from society or estrangement from mankind is a state of mind much enjoyed by Tolstoy's heroes, and with that plot and a man back from the dead, Yglesias can do anything and it will be as fresh as a visiting Martian's first hot dog with mustard. Unhappily married fellow survivor Carla Fransisca blames herself for losing her infant in the crash and becomes housebound and fearful of the streets. Enter superhonest, worry-free Max to bring her back to life, telling her, ```We're safe because we died already....You've passed through death. You're alive now. Both of us are. All of the survivors are. Don't you see? Everybody else'-- he gestured at the streets, at the people hurrying to their destination, hunched against the cold, scurrying with the fear of hunted mice--`they don't know what it is to die in their minds as we did.''' Meanwhile, Max and Carla are hounded by their mutual lawyer, Brillstein, who hopes to wring a huge settlement from the airline--though neither Max nor Carla will make it easy for him with lies about the crash. Also, Max's wife Debbie, long-suffering through the ordeal of her husband's manic honesty, weighs having him committed and saved from overrich fearlessness. Smells like a wonderful story that should enjoy huge word of mouth. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
A powerful examination of denial and guilt, Yglesias's ( Hot Properties) terrific new novel opens with a gut-wrenching scene incarnating the worst nightmares of anyone who is afraid of flying. Forty-two minutes after takeoff, a DC-10 en route from New York to Los Angeles loses its rear engine. Max Klein, an architect traveling with his business partner, imagines the worst. Carla Fransisca, her two-year-old son in her lap, refuses to believe that she and her child are in danger. When the plane crashes, both are ironically confounded: Max walks away unhurt, and Carla blames herself for her son's death. The ordeal crushes Carla, elevates Max to a higher level of perception and strips them both of everything except brutal, fearless honesty. Yglesias chronicles their actions after the flight with the same candor, often portraying Max and Carla as abrupt and abrasive without making them any less real or less likable to the reader. A screenwriter as well as a novelist, he makes good use of cinematic techniques. Each image in his simple, precise prose is vivid and memorable; the pre-crash scene on the plane and a later re-enactment of the accident, in particular, linger in the mind. Film rights to Spring Creek Productions; audio rights to Simon & Schuster; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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