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Books: No Middle Flight

2 minute read

No Middle FlightTRY THE SKY—Francis Stuart—Macmillan ($2). Irishman Francis Stuart may never set the Liffey afire but it will not be for lack of trying. Author Compton Mackenzie (Sinister Street et al.), who writes a reverently admiring introduction to Try the Sky, thinks Stuart can do it. Says he: “I am proud to think that my name may be associated, be it in ever so humble a way, with a work of the most profound spiritual importance to the modern world. … I suggest that Francis Stuart has a message for the modern world of infinitely greater importance than anything offered by D. H. Lawrence, and I believe that in this book he has made his message more easily intelligible than in his previous novels or even in his beautiful poems.” Stuart’s message: that man’s spirit is higher than the forces of Nature, is and should be opposed to them. Try the Sky is narrated, in Hemingwayesque style, by a young Irish horse-trainer, temporarily at a loose end in Vienna and enjoying a mild flirtation with the beauteous and straight-thinking Carlotta. Up the Danube wheezes a rackety motor boat, manned by a simple Canadian and his earthy half-breed Indian wife. Carlotta and the Irishman join their party, show them Vienna night-life and go on with them to Munich. There they get into a Nazi shooting scrape and are befriended by a doctor who is also a famed airman and the inventor of a mystery plane. He invites them to accompany him on his trial flight to an unknown destination. Amid much municipal fuss they take off at dusk, fly all night in an ecstatic frame of mind. Carlotta and the Irishman are convinced they are flying to heaven. Next morning they land on a rainy field which the Irishman recognizes only too well as his bedraggled native land. At first inclined to curse the comedown, he sees that Carlotta still feels they have reached their goal, lets her faith persuade him.

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