Into the Abyss: An Extraordinary True Story

Carol Shaben. Grand Central, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4555-0195-3
In this electrifying history, Canadian journalist Shaben chronicles a devastating plane crash and its ramifications on the four survivors. On an icy night in October 1984, a small commuter plane crashed in the Canadian wilderness. One of the four survivors was the author’s father, Larry Shaben, the country’s first Muslim cabinet minister. The others included the young pilot, a police officer, and the drifter he was escorting to face criminal charges. Larry’s physical wounds healed within two months. But he was a different person, more subdued and “quietly haunted,” writes Shaben. Over the ensuing years, her curiosity about the event grew. “The crash’s impact on my father, and the unlikely friendships that formed between the survivors lodged the event firmly in my psyche,” she writes. Shaben skillfully navigates the intricate language of flying for those not familiar with its jargon. She delves into the darker side of the Canadian commuter airline industry and its sorry record of accidents and unreliable equipment. She also adroitly recounts how the survivors cooperated on the night of the crash, in spite of their differences. Though each man incurred emotional scars as a result of the incident, the bonds formed between the survivors during the ordeal lasted for decades. Shaben’s riveting narrative is filled with heart and the story is well told. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 05/21/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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