Book Review: Skyfaring — A Journey with a Pilot

Famous American writer and cartoonist, Theodor Seuss Geisel once said:

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

When I read Skyfaring — The Journey with a Pilot, I saw a man who set forth to accomplish his dream of flying despite the hurdles. In his late twenties, he started flight training, leaving his several years long career as a management consultant. The story of Mark Vanhoenacker is an inspiration for anybody who presuppose some dreams always remain as dreams.

“I’d be woken by an alarm in the 4 a.m. darkness of Helsinki or Warsaw or Bucharest or Istanbul, and there would be a brief bleary moment, in the hotel room whose shape and layout I’d already forgotten in the hours since I’d switched off the light, when I’d ask myself if I’d only been dreaming that I became a pilot.”

The book, in simple terms, is a memoir where the author sketches his experiences through years of flying. It includes information to an extent; facts that everybody loves to learn about the airline industry. He has done it well without going deep into technical details. There are simple acts of caring, joy of finding new people, places, times, weather, cultures and occasionally the curiosity of a child who is amused by everything.

It was quite unexpected how I found out about the book. I came across this article, In Flight — The New York Times, written by Mark Vanhoenacker. Check this out if you need inspiration to start.

Read the book as a lover of fiction, because if you’re just a fact seeker (who prefers only non-fiction books), you will end up with frequent longueurs and might get disappointed. The well crafted and lyrical narration shows the prowess of the pilot, who is a regular contributor to the New York Times and a columnist for Slate.

“We may be pleased by the still-glinting wings of an airliner high above us, leaving a contrail soaked in crimson light, while at street level the sun has already set. We see the plane we are not on, bound for a place we are not, in the last light of a day that has already left us.”

Experiencing a story vicariously through an author is fascinating; it offers a vivid collection of ideas that transport the reader from a fictional setting to the reality that our world offers. Rarely do authors allow the readers to experience the beauty of dreams through reality.