Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Up In The Air - Book Review

No, the novel Up In The Air, by Walter Kirn, isn't anything like the wonderful movie on which it's based; movies and novels are never the same and you usually prefer one is preferable over the other. I don't think I would have approached this book on my own - I picked it up at the Crossroads Mall Waldenbook's liquidation at a steep discount and since I enjoyed the movie so much I thought I'd give it a try. Unfortunately, the goodwill that was generated by the movie doesn't spill over to the book.

I imagine Kirn must think the director and screenplay writers took his work of biting genius and wrung all the life out of it but, really, they did him a favor. Darker, more cynical, not at all about what the movie is about though the main character and some of the minor characters and plot points remain. The time span is much shorter - only a few days - but the evocation of AirWorld is quite vivid and seems spot on. Kirn skewers well the world of business motivation seminars and shoots for something to say about American business culture but I prefer the theme of personal connection I found so compelling in the movie. It's a miracle what the movie-makers were able to make from this book and the book only serves to deepen my admiration of the movie even more.

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