For One Man, At Least, Hating American Airlines Can Be High Literary Art

This morning, while reading The New York Times Sunday Book Review's summer-lit round-up, I came across this glowing mention of the perfect present for a few of our more outraged in-flight Friends, as well as spokesbot Tim Wagner: Dear American Airlines: A Novel, described in The Times as the "fine first novel" by Jonathan Miles. Over on Amazon, novelist Elizabeth Gilbert offers her own raves for the story of middle-aged poet-turned-translator Bennie Ford, on his way to nowhere in a hurry courtesy the Fort Worth-based carrier: "At the airport is where his troubles begin, as American Airlines cancels his flight and thus -- as far as he is concerned -- destroys his life. What follows is a complaint letter raised to the level of high narrative art." (Unlike, say, the "Dear American Airlines" letter you'll find here, which only occasionally comes close.) I can only hope Tim's working on a novel of his own. --Robert Wilonsky