What if the “Miracle on the Hudson” were completely faked by an unscrupulous airline company in order to boost prices?
And what if we got a guy to write the whole thing up just like Carl Hiaasen? Frequent McSweeney’s contributor Methven employs a very familiar menagerie of misfits, misanthropes and damaged goods in his episodic debut novel. Told over the course of seven days, the book chronicles the epic story of Air Wanderlust Flight 2921. In the midst of a routine flight, the plane loses both engines in a “birdstrike,” and Captain Hank Swagger brings the flying brick to a miraculous halt in the Hudson River, saving all 162 souls on board. Except that it’s all a ruse, an invention designed to save the company and turn its alcoholic cowboy pilot into a national hero. To lend the book comic heft, Methven follows two additional passengers. The first, Normal Fulk, is a con man who recently faked his own death and is mourning the loss of his most prized possession—a vial containing the frozen sperm of John Lennon. “And really, passengers, was it not inevitable that it would come to this—the general citizenry, those with a little cash left and looking to burn it on a new vice—wanting to own the genetic code of their most beloved celebrities?” Methven asks. Where the book ratchets up the absurdity is in the story of Lucy Springer, a media darling whose two loves were her banker husband and a doppelganger named “Ava Tardner,” the puppet costume she was wearing when she shot up her cheating husband’s office. This leads a judge to sentence her to wear the puppet at all times, even on air. It’s Lucy who begins pulling at the frayed edges of the Swagger story, unraveling it bit by unhinged bit. Don’t miss Methven’s psychotic, if interactive, reading group guide at the end.
A quick-witted comedy about celebrity a bit too tongue-in-cheek for its own good.