cover image The Seaplane on Final Approach

The Seaplane on Final Approach

Rebecca Rukeyser. Doubleday, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-54760-4

In Rukeyser’s intoxicating debut, high school dropout Mira, 18, finds herself witness to a whirlwind of drama on a remote Alaskan island. Mira, obsessed with the concept of sleaziness, appreciates Alaska for “contain[ing] more sleaze than the entire lower forty-eight” after a trip the previous summer, during which she fell into unrequited lust over her aunt’s seedy stepson, 24-year-old Ed. She returns and takes a job as a housekeeper and baker at Lavender Island Wilderness Lodge, with the goal of finding Ed and building a life with him. She’s one of six employees on the island, including Maureen and Stu, the middle-aged married couple who own the business; 18-year-olds Polly and Erin; and a recovering alcoholic chef. When not masturbating to the fantasy of phoning Ed, she notices Stu taking an interest in Erin. Tensions in the group escalate, creating a sense of desperation that’s heightened by the “deep, solemn fear” cast by the landscape. Mira, with her propensity for daydreaming and detachment, imagines intricate inner lives for her colleagues, a charming and fascinating element that takes this beyond the standard workplace drama. Rukeyser’s signature bleak humor will leave readers excited to see what comes next. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (June)