THE PILOTS by Richard Frede


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Solemnized suds, skin, and clouds, dressed up as serious work. Frede's prop opera is about the private lives of pilots working at a small New Hampshire airport, its flight instructors, ex-fighter pilots and charter captains taking passengers to Boston and La Guardia, their wives, faithless or otherwise, girlfriends, and casual lays. It heads its chapters with pretentious quotations about aerial technology, the poetry of flight, the sky (""The sky is dead.""--Elizabeth Bishop), the mental, emotional, and spiritual (ha!) growth of pilots, and swatches of italicized weather reports and air-traffic-control jabber--documentary window-dressing that sets the tone for the padded landings ahead. Well, we follow a young flight captain whose homelife is falling apart as his wife takes up with a budding actor who is famed for a beer commercial he made; we stumble along with a young multimillionaire artist as he tries to bring his inspiration into focus despite a dismembering sex-life; we yawn through the hijacking of a small plane by a rich young drug-addict as he tries to extort (yawn) $100,000 from his father's bank; we. . . we. . . prepare to bail out.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1977
Publisher: Random House