The Last Flight of Poxl West

Daniel Torday. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-05168-4
Torday introduces readers to Poxl West, whose bestselling 1980s memoir Skylock is the book within this riveting debut novel. Eighteen-year-old Poxl fled his native Czechoslovakia for Rotterdam when Hitler rolled into Austria, never to see his parents again. As the war progressed, he made his way to London, eventually flying bombers in the RAF. Those impossibly difficult war years unfold over five acts, which constitute the Shylock part of the structure and which alternate with the narrative of Elijah Goldstein, Poxl’s young nephew. Torday’s descriptive and powerful prose stands as the book’s highlight. The book-within-a-book memoir is a page-turner, particularly as Poxl remembers his mother and father and their marriage, and his time in London during the Blitz. His fixation and guilt over the love he left behind in Rotterdam, though, nearly devolves into navel gazing. The author recalibrates his character’s self-indulgence in time for Skylock to end on a poignant note. Elijah’s chapters culminate with him looking at his uncle through more mature eyes. Torday’s restraint as this story line takes on new importance shows mastery of his craft, culminating with a tender ending to Elijah’s narrative. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/12/2015
Release date: 03/17/2015
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4272-6550-0
Hardcover - 421 pages - 978-1-4104-8128-3
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4668-7181-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-08160-5
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