Set in Ireland and Sri Lanka in the seventies and early eighties this novel starts with the crash of a passengers jet in the jungle of Ceylon. Airhostess Kay believes her lover married pilot Graham dead and marries a friend. However he is held hostage for years by a local mercenary group and returns to Ireland after a few years to find his wife remarried and his lover married with a baby.
The book has a bit of an "old fashioned" feel. Maybe because it is set in the seventies and maybe because the voice over way of telling the story. It feels like your mother is telling you what happened to her co workers during her youth.
I liked the many details. The book his filled with dozens and dozens of characters and seems to be based of real people in the writer's working life as an air-hostess. For someone born in 1968 it was also a revisiting of things of my past: the watching a video of a wedding with a whole group in pre Facebook days, the renting of a video in a shop, the discrimination of married women on the job, child custody given to one parent after a divorce, the not attending a wedding due to being in mourning.. It is also the days before AIDS with pilots and crew merrily frolicking during layovers in New York.
In my line of work I saw the last Tamil refugees-waves applying for asylum. It was interesting to read about the start of that conflict.
I really did not like Kay. She seemed to be a calculating opportunist but maybe she was just a shy uncertain person. But she seems to let Graham down on at least one occasion in my opinion and I also did not like how she behaved at the grave, Her daughter Dervla is supposed to be a girl everybody loves but she felt to me a bit as an attention seeking child. It seems unnatural how she is getting spoiled by people. I also missed a view into the motivations of Ranjan. So after what happened when he is in his teens what is his opinion on the situation in Sri Lanka? Did his family just ignore all that?