leaving earth - a novel by helen humphreys

leaving earth   (1997)

  • winner of the 1998 city of toronto book award
  • a new york times notable book of the year

on august 1, 1933, two young women, the famous aviatrix grace o'gorman and the inexperienced willa briggs, take off in a tiny moth biplane to break the world flight endurance record. their plan: to circle above the city of toronto for twenty-five days. with each passing day, the women's ties to humanity fall away and the intensity of their connection becomes as gripping as the perils that besiege them: fatigue, weather, mechanical breakdown, and the lethal efforts of a saboteur.

"beautiful in its reticence and insight."
new york times book review
"expressed with acrobatic economy and grace."
the times (london)
"lyrical, moving—the experience of flight is palpable and poetic. humphreys has an ethereal touch."
san francisco chronicle
"… a novel to remember, a novel of originality and considerable skill. leaving earth is an auspicious debut and a feat in itself.�
the ottawa citizen
"humphreys delivers an intriguing combination of adventure, moral awareness, and political connotation. the result is a novel that aptly captures the mood of an era and pays homage to a particular breed of woman who helped to create it."
books in canada
"beautifully written, extremely controlled."
the washington post
"an auspicious achievement… humphreys has a gift for complex characterization, which she renders in a few terse strokes."
the boston globe

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