Item description for Departure Lounge by Chad Taylor...
"Entropy noir. . . . The hypnotic pull lies in the zigzag dance of its forlorn characters, casting a murky, uneasy sense of doom."The Guardian
A young woman mysteriously disappears. The lives of those she has left behindfamily, acquaintances and strangers intrigued by her disappearanceintersect to form a captivating latticework of odd coincidences and surprising twists of fate. Urban noir at its stylish and intelligent best.
Chad Taylor lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of one collection of short stories and four previous novels. His second novel, Heaven, was made into a feature film by Miramax.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.5" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2006
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 1933372095 ISBN13 9781933372099
Availability 0 units.
More About Chad Taylor
Chad Taylor lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of one collection of short stories and four previous novels. His second novel, Heaven, was made into a feature film by Miramax. His third and fourth, Shirker and Electric, have been translated into many languages.
Reviews - What do customers think about Departure Lounge?
Not My Cup of Tea Sep 23, 2006
When a cover blurb invokes Raymond Chandler, Anne Rice, and Jean-Paul Sartré in one breathless sentence, a book has a lot to live up to -- and this latest novel from one of New Zealand's hot young writers doesn't come anywhere close. Set in and around Auckland, the story follows Mark Chamberlin, both in his teenage incarnation circa 1979 and his adult self in 2001. Unfortunately, one of the book's major problems is that as the short chapters come and go, it's often not at all clear which period one is in. This forces the reader to stop and have to think about it every few pages, which destroys what limited flow the story has.
Things start off quite promisingly in a pool hall, as Mark and a crooked real estate developer shoot some stick and chat. Soon thereafter, Mark breaks into the man's apartment and steals everything not nailed down. It seems that Mark is ostensibly a petty thief, to whom breaking and entering and looting come as naturally as breathing. However, it doesn't take long to learn that Mark isn't overly concerned about getting paid by his fence. What interests him is the act itself, and the glimpse it offers into people's private lives. His quasi-ennui is linked to the disappearance, two decades ago, of a girl he fooled around with as a teenager.
Caroline May is the girl went missing and whose body was possibly recovered from a plane wreck (recall that in the '70s, domestic air travel did not require the stringent identification procedures now employed). However, the matter was never truly resolved, and the lack of closure seems to have haunted Mark since then. Two other supporting characters from Mark 's past also seem to bear a great deal of existential weight from Caroline's disappearance. The problem is that the reader barely encounters Caroline and isn't shown anything about her that explains why her disappearance had such a lasting effect. One reviewer compared the book to some of Paul Auster's work, and I have to concur that it has the same frustrating lack of substance -- the impression of meaningfulness rather than actual meaningfulness -- that I get when I read Auster. I slogged through to the end, but found that even more disappointing than all that came before. However, if you like elliptical, ethereal books and aren't overly concerned with plot, narrative tension, character development, or resolution, then you might enjoy it.
What You See Is What You Thought You Saw Jun 27, 2006
Mark Chamberlain is a semi-professional thief. Caroline May is a high school friend who disappeared many years ago and has never been found. Varina Sumich was her best friend in high school. Harry Bishop is a police detective, working on Caroline's disappearance. And, oh yes, a plane went down in Antarctica, and few of the passengers could ever be identified. These characters and others cross paths in mysterious but powerful scenes. Mark Chamberlain gets careless with his thievery and his life starts to unravel. Everything is connected, but we're never sure exactly how.
Author Chad Taylor has a way with words and manages to keep the reader absorbed in his scenes and characters while tantalizing with the lack of resolution. That seems to be his point. Ultimately what we see is what we think we see. We'll never know for sure. For readers like myself, accustomed to a definitive plot, this is frustrating.
This is a well written book with flashes of brilliance, marred, unfortunately, by a number of typos. If you like atmospheric novels with more questions than answers, you'll love Departure Lounge. If you're more comfortable with action and plot, this might not be the book for you. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber
Do you like to read your art? Jun 20, 2006
I had heard such positive reviews about this book only to be greatly disappointed. More than half the time you are unsure if you are reading in the present time or the past which is confusing at best. Sometimes you think you know only to find out you were wrong so you would need to go back to re-read the section. This was distracting to the overall feel of the book. No plot to speak of -- just depressing drivel. The section of the book about the art show near the end of the novel I believe sums this book up when they play the film. Not good.
Quietly powerful. Jun 12, 2006
This quietly powerful novel creates the atmosphere of a departure lounge, as in an airport waiting for a plane. The main character, Mark, is a sneak thief who sees life through the deadened lens of what he can break into and exploit.
Mark's childhood was disrupted by the disappearance of a neighbor girl. He seems to have been frozen in his development since that moment, unable to connect with others while waiting for the lost Carole to return. Mark finds out he is not the only one waiting for his life to resume.
Taylor's prose is beautiful, clear and mesmerizing. He creates the mood of someone haunted by loss. The action is primarily set in Auckland. The story is sparingly seeded with cultural references, just enough to create a sense of place.
Fresh but uneven May 26, 2006
Chad Taylor's dynamic narrative talent has the reader hooked at the onset, telling of a scam real estate operator's development of the Onslow Village complex. Tenants come flocking in, only to later find their purchase values collapsing along with the buildings themselves. Onslow looked nice, but was built on unstable fill with sub-quality materials. The developer, Rory Jones, had liquidated the limited company he formed to do the development, and had done it in a manner that left him free of any legal liability.
Now, he's working on a new scam deal with unsuspecting rich clients. Feeling uneasy in cementing the details with his clients in a 4-star restaurant, he leaves early and ends up playing pool at a billards hall in an unfashionable neighborhood. He feels comfortable with 'his own kind.' He has described the Onslow caper with his pool partner, Mark, a total strnager.
Mark lets Rory win the game. The next night he breaks into Rory's apartment and steals everything in sight.
Pure dynamite for a beginning. Unfortunately, the rest of the novel does not live up to the promise. I had real chills at some of the turns of events, but these all proved hollow. In the end, there is no real villan anywhere and one is left very unsatisfied.
But Chad Taylor's language technique is something else, and well worth the price of the book.