Girl Flees Circus

Univ. of New Mexico. (Lynn and Lynda Miller Southwest Fiction Series). Sept. 2022. 216p. ISBN 9780826364074. pap. $19.95. F
In this latest from Smith (A Throttled Peacock), which launches University of New Mexico Press’s “Lynn and Lynda Miller Southwest Fiction Series,” 19-year-old Katie Burke drops out of the sky into the dusty settlement of Noname, NM, after wrestling her plane through a rough landing with the gas tank nearly empty. It was just the previous year that the town heard news of Charles Lindbergh’s solitary Atlantic air crossing; now the residents of Noname gather around Katie, aghast at the arrival of an aircraft. Young Leonard begins making repairs to the plane and is impressed that Katie knows engines, cartography, and math, since he’s something of an electricity whiz himself; Noname resident Otis has a forge, knows welding, and can fix anything; and pretentious Arabella, daughter of a rich rancher, organizes a luncheon for Katie so the elites of Noname can meet the famous aviatrix and trick flyer. But a reporter finds inconsistencies in the talk Katie delivers at the luncheon, and soon the word is out—she stole the plane, painted over the corporate name, and is not, in fact, headed for a Santa Monica air race. Before Sheriff Browne can capture the fugitive Katie, an accident at the nearby oil rig changes everyone’s lives.
VERDICT Smith’s afterword states that this story is based on Amelia Earhart’s forced stopover in Hobbs, NM, in 1928, but award-winning Smith’s playful, entertaining tale surpasses real life with likable, off-center characters in the fading days of slap-dash, swashbuckling aviators. Not to be missed.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing