A plane-crash survivor meanderingly dissects the scattered details of the disaster.
“Time never had a chance to stand still,” writes Rolling Stone contributor Sabbag (Loaded: A Misadventure on the Marijuana Trail, 2002, etc.) of that night in June 1979. The author—then 32 and enjoying the success of his first book, Snowblind—was one of eight passengers aboard the doomed Air New England flight to Cape Cod. Just minutes into their initial descent, the airplane malfunctioned and began to dive at 1,500 feet per minute, “breaking out of the cloud cover about two seconds from contact.” Sabbag suffered a broken back but was able to join forces with Suzanne, another survivor. Both managed to evacuate the remaining passengers in near darkness, and Suzanne fearlessly ventured into the woods to bring a rescue team to the crash site a few hours later. Fast-forward nearly three decades later. Sabbag called Suzanne to compare notes on the crash and discovered that her “recovery had been swift” and that she had boarded another plane within weeks—yet her mother felt the heft of the tragedy for several years. This information amazed Sabbag, and the remainder of the book examines his post-traumatic blind spots and how he became numb to the psychological fallout of the accident. He insightfully remarks on an “acquired” fear of flying and the reunions with other passengers (“heirs to a common destiny”) and his distant yet concerned ex-wife. His “inerasable” crash-site memories haunt him still, and readers will get the sense that Sabbag never achieved the sense of closure he may have been seeking with this book.
A sobering, protracted deconstruction of tragic events and circumstances.