Flight chronicles significant turning points for each member of a midwestern family. Will Gruen is a commercial airline pilot approaching the mandatory retirement age of 60. He’s considering employment with an international airline that doesn’t have an age limit, but would require relocation to Hong Kong.
Carol Gruen doesn’t know what her husband is mulling, but she has untold plans of her own to open a bead and breakfast in their Michigan farmhouse. Eldest daughter, Margaret, is facing a failed marriage and uncertain future. Youngest daughter, Leanne, struggles with her emotions and self-doubt about her pending nuptials.
The Gruen family featured in Ginger Strand’s debut novel has returned to the farmhouse for Leanne’s wedding. Flight details the three days leading up to the ceremony.
Strand’s first book resembles the work of Anne Tyler (Breathing Lessons). The characters’ actions, flaws and points of view make Flight an ideal book for group discussion. Even the hardback copy cover art, shoes with laces tied together, makes an excellent topic for analysis.
As the drama approaches the conclusion, the tone of the book shifts a bit. The untidy ending is another feature that will appeal to book clubs and those who like to think about what they read after the last page is turned. Flight is an impressive debut. Hopefully, there’s more to come from Ginger Strand.