Hippo Manchester
October 6, 2005

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Pilot writer buzzes Manch

Up, up and away with story of lady Air Force vet

By Lisa Parsons   news@hippopress.com

The Art of Uncontrolled Flight, by Kim Ponders, HarperCollins, 2005, 181 pages.

At a mere 181 pages, The Art of Uncontrolled Flight is short-story-like in its economy of words.

Its author, who names Hemingway and Chekhov among her favorite writers, might be expected to display near-military efficiency; she is a member of the Air Force Reserves and was one of the first American women to fly in a war zone.

Ponders lives in New Hampshire and will tour the area conducting book signings.

The novel, Ponders’ first, centers on Annie, a young Air Force pilot in the first Gulf War who is married but involved in an affair with a fellow flyer. In flashbacks we see her relationship with her father, also a pilot, who she’d hoped to impress by taking up aviation herself.

Ponders’ obvious strength is in imagery; every scene comes alive with visual detail, be it a handful of toenail clippings or a tinfoil-covered casserole.

The novel is less about flying and romance than it is about façade vs. reality: what the medals and commendations and newspapers say vs. what really happened, what Annie says to her spouse vs. what really happened, what people tell her about her mother’s death vs. what she remembers, what her father says vs. what she knows is true. The Art of Uncontrolled Flight is about negotiating all those conflicting forces, controlling things enough so as not to crash and burn but otherwise letting go, riding the wind.

Meet the author

Kim Ponders will discuss and sign copies of her book at these locations:

Manchester Barnes & Noble, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.

Nashua Barnes & Noble, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

Concord, Borders Books and Music, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m