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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone (Book Review)


Title: The Four Corners of the Sky
Author: Michael Malone
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: May 12, 2009
ISBN-13: 9781570717444
Genre: Fiction


First sentence: In small towns between the North Carolina Piedmont and the coast the best scenery is often the sky.

Jack Peregrine was a con man - not just any con man - but one with a six year old daughter, Annie. When danger gets too close, Jack takes Annie to Emerald and Pilgrim's Rest (his childhood home) and leaves her with his sister Sam and her friend Clark. He promises to return for her, but in the meantime, as it was her 7th birthday, he gives her an airplane, The King of the Sky. This plane has been housed in Sam and Clark's barn since Annie was just a baby.

Sam and Clark have shared a residence for many years - but Sam is gay and Clark is once widowed and once divorced. They raise Annie as their own, eventually adopting her. Annie only sees her father once, briefly, while she is in high school. She has raced through life at top speed and continues when she heads off to Annapolis to become a Navy pilot. At 26, she finds herself headed back to Pilgrim's Rest for her b-day, having even raced through her first marriage - now headed for divorce. I believe when she arrives back at Pilgrim's Rest, that this is where the story really begins. She is greeted with a FedEx from her father, balloons from Sam and Clark, and a tornado (which will symbolize her next few days!) The FedEx from her father states that he is dying and would like her to fly The King of the Sky to St. Louis and meet him there.


This book started out great for me. I flew (no pun intended) through the first 100 pages and couldn't wait to keep going. Then I hit the middle and felt like the air went out of my balloon. It picked up speed again though and I soared to the end. (ok, I'll stop with the puns. . .) I am glad that I finished it.

My favorite character was probably Dan Hart, even though we do not get to see much of him. He is the Miami detective who has been tracking Annie's father. I enjoyed his instant rapport with Annie and their attraction. I also enjoyed steadfast, no-nonsense Clark. He was always there for Annie and even though his puns were corny, you knew you could always count on him (like the one that went something like this "It is better to have loved a short man than not a tall.")

I am not sure how I felt about Annie. I don't really felt like I really got to know her - that I never really got below the surface. Now maybe this was the point - because of her dad "abandoning" her and never even knowing who her mother was - she kept everyone at arm's length.

I can say that I liked this book - I didn't love it like I thought I would, but I am glad that I stuck with it all the same. The thing that bothered me from the beginning - was that in 1982 one of Annie's favorite movies was Top Gun - and the movie didn't come out until 1986. (I remember where I was when I saw it the first time - only because I was a later Navy wife and was in the bathroom at NTC, San Diego where the "famous" bathroom scene was filmed - there is even a plaque in it!) Now I was reading an uncorrected advance copy, so maybe this has been changed in the final version. . . Michael Malone has won the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writer's Guild Award and the Emmy - so I am sure that I will give him another try! (As an aside - I will say that I have struggled with a headache all week as I was trying to read this, so that may have had an effect on my perceptions!)

4 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I probably wouldn't have noticed the Top Gun problem.

Luanne said...

Unfortunately this one never got off the ground for me ( pun intended) I never connected with Annie either. good catch on the Top Gun mistake.

Staci said...

I glad that you stuck with it and enjoyed it overall. You've got a great eye for that Top Gun thing!!

Alyce said...

I struggled to finish this one too. I didn't even notice the Top Gun discrepency (but I probably should have since it was my sister's favorite film the year it came out).

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