The Seaplane on Final Approach

Books on Tape. Jun. 2022. 5:56 hrs. ISBN 9780593589281. $57. F
Rukeyser’s debut is a haunting coming-of-age narrative with a distinctive protagonist. Over the course of a pivotal summer in Alaska, teenage narrator Mira confronts adulthood, lust, and compulsion. Taking on a hospitality role at a seaside resort, she is thrown into a rugged new world of tourists, staff, and fishermen as she wrestles with daydreams, baked goods, trauma, and an unknown future. As this novel is told in the first person, listeners will spend much time inside Mira’s head. She has a unique way of seeing the world and a fixation on taxonomy and sleaze, which is reflected in Rukeyser’s poetic language. Jeremy Carlisle Parker’s performance emphasizes Mira’s teenage detachment from the world through flattened, monotone narration, but other characters are performed with more animation, which sometimes seems to reflect Mira’s dislike of them. This can make for a jarring listening experience at times.
VERDICT This is a powerful look at the bewildering world of young adulthood.
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