By: Manuela Soares
If you were sitting next to someone on a plane, chatting with them briefly before falling asleep, then upon landing discovered that they were dead, how would you react? Well, that is exactly how Landing begins. On a flight from Barcelona to the Netherlands an elderly Spanish man and a young Dutch woman are having a small chat, mostly him telling her about his life and the small box he was carrying to pass on to his son, and after their chat, she falls asleep. When the plane is mere moments from completely landing he is alive, when it has landed, and people are disembarking, he is dead. After the plane empties and the flight attendant is doing her sweep of the plane they are noticed, and she tells the flight attendant that the man has died. Then, for whatever reason, she takes the man’s small box and departs. This strange decision and action are when things are set in motion that will tie the story together and bring it full circle at the end (even if it’s unknowingly).
The story continues and goes back and forth between ‘her’ perspective and ‘his’ (his through flashbacks) and tells the story of the two characters. Her, an orphaned girl looking for an angel, and him, a migrant worker who, among other things, met, married, and lost the love of his life. There is much to be learned about the two and how their lives interconnected long before the tragic flight, and the cultures and countries the story visits.
This book was originally written and published in Spanish and has been translated into several languages, including English, and, to me at least, perhaps lost something in translation. I was excited to read this book based on the synopsis of it as it sounded spectacular, but the more I read the more confused I got and by the end, I had far more questions than answers and it felt like I had missed something along the way; even after re-reading it, that feeling of something missing was still there.
Overall, I would recommend this book, perhaps in its original version if you can understand it, as it does have an interesting premise and is a quick read (the book is just over 200 pages). If you read it or have read it, let me know what your thoughts on it are, I would love to hear what other people took away from the story.