In the title story, “Midair,” Sean is shown at different stages in his life. In 1942, at the age of six, he and his nine-year-old sister are abruptly taken out of school one afternoon by their insane father. At home, the father’s irrational actions frighten the children. Finally, the father, in trying to escape the hospital attendants who have come for him, runs to a window with his young son in his arms. For a moment, before the attendants reach them, he suspends the boy out the window to view the street scene four stories below. Though Sean later forgets the incident, it influences his entire life until finally, more than thirty years later, when stuck in a malfunctioning elevator, he calms a frightened young man and, at the same time, suddenly understands his own life.
The concluding story, “The Sense of the Meeting,” concerns Kirby and his relationship with Alan, his son from his first wife. Kirby returns to his alma mater, a Philadelphia college, where he meets his old college roommates, but more important, where he watches his son play in a college basketball game. The game is a disaster; Alan, after fumbling the ball, spends most of the game on the bench. The next week, Kirby attends the dreaded rematch, but the second game shows Alan at his best as he orchestrates the team’s winning plays. The story explores the changes in the father-son relationship that take place as the boy matures. Kirby initially feels that he must protect his...
(The entire section is 427 words.)