Remorse. Jonathan Miles’ novel, Dear American Airlines, is quirky, odd and erudite at the same time. The novel is structured in part as a lengthy complaint letter narrated in the first person by the writer, Benjamin R. Ford (Bennie) to the airline to demand a refund for the flight delay that may cause him to miss his daughter’s wedding. A recovering alcoholic, Bennie reflects with remorse about his life and the disappointment he feels at choices he made. Instead of becoming a poet, he’s a translator, and part of the novel he’s translating from Polish is injected into this narrative. Miles’ writing skill appears most strongly in his language and perfect word selection. I found the structure of the novel to be a distraction, and Bennie became more of an unwanted seatmate on a flight, than someone I wanted in my life. While I laughed at times, I closed the book and stared at it for while after I finished, thinking: what was that?
Rating: Two-star (Mildly Recommended)