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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Sky Behind Me



I just finished reading The Sky Behind Me by Byron Edgington.

At face value, it is the memoir of a man who spent a lifetime in the air as a helicopter pilot. It's nostalgic and endearing and touching and sentimental and contains some great stories. But forget about all that stuff. Forget about flying. Forget about Vietnam. Forget about saving lives in Iowa.

What is impossible to forget is the fact that Byron Edgington is a great writer. The sentences are concise and powerful and the period seems to slam shut on the words. I am reminded of how Hemingway mastered the short sentence and harnessed the power of thrift for a time.

Sentences become stories and there are stories within the stories, and all are drawn steadily downstream by a philosophical undercurrent that reminded me time and again of Richard Bach. So much so that I was not surprised to see the name mentioned toward the end of the book.

To me, this is less a memoir about flying, and more a genuine work of literary art to be appreciated by connoisseurs of the written word. No matter what Edgington decides to write his next book about, I'll be standing in line to buy a copy because with writers like this, there is always so much more to it than first meets the eye. I am an overnight fan. 

 
Author Byron Edgington