The Aeronaut's Guide to Rapture
Three people in three countries in three different eras. Ursule in 1864 lives the life of a kitchen skivvy in Paris. Dexter in 1965 is an American GI in Vietnam. Dante in 2015 is a Catholic priest in Palermo, Sicily. For Ursule the Prussians are closing in. For Dexter it’s the Vietcong. For Dante it is the mafia. How can they escape but, more than that, how can misery become rapture? In contemporary Britain a fourth person holds all the strings in his hands as he rises silently and gracefully above the earth. In this tour de force of imagination Stuart Campbell follows the brilliant John McPake and the Sea Beggars with a tale that defies time and gravity and takes the reader to a place few have ever been and fewer still come back from.
‘Three balloon stories make up this novel. Central to each is a need for escape encapsulated in a moment of rapture as the individual begins to ascend to the skies. With a structure and a quirkiness reminiscent of Yann Martel’s “High Mountains Of Portugal” this could be literary Marmite – a case of love it or hate it, but it manages to work for me.’
‘Three stories from three different places, widely separated in space and time. And three utterly compelling central characters, who have much in common as they seek to escape the circumstances in which they find themselves and somehow carve out a better future.’
‘Darkly comic, menacing, violet and fanciful. Well written and atmospheric...’