Flying to Nowhere (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
John Fuller’s Flying to Nowhere, nominated for Great Britain’s Booker McConnell Prize for Fiction, is a disturbing, and in some ways, repulsive book. In a central scene much commented on by reviewers, the boy Geoffrey goes down to the seashore to look at the body of his master’s horse, killed horribly by its own disastrous attempts to struggle out of a boat and land on the rocky shore of the island on which the novel is set. Geoffrey hopes vaguely that the horse may still be alive; but as he gets closer, he realizes that it is not only dead but rotting, and that the rustling sound from it comes from an army of feeding maggots. He thrusts his arm into the mass of maggots and decomposing flesh—and for a few moments feels this as an enjoyable experience of warmth and vibration. Then he recoils, the maggots still clinging to his skin. Several points here are typical of Flying to Nowhere as a whole: the insistence on exploring primary sensation; the refusal to turn away from sights and thoughts normally stomach-turning; the faint suggestion that these are stomach-turning only out of habit or teaching or indeed from a not very deeply buried fear—as the horse is, so will the reader be.
Flying to Nowhere is furthermore very clearly a book about death. On the most obvious level, it is a sort of detective story (a very unsatisfactory one by conventional standards). The “detective” is Vane, an emissary of the Bishop on the...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Choice. XXI, June, 1984, p. 1465.
Christian Century. CI, July 18, 1984, p. 717.
Kirkus Reviews. LI, December 1, 1983, p. 1217.
Library Journal. CIX, March 15, 1984, p. 596.
Listener. CIX, May 5, 1983, p. 27.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, March 4, 1984, p. 9.
The Observer. March 20, 1983, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXIV, December 9, 1983, p. 40.
Times Literary Supplement. May 13, 1983, p. 480.
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