Imagine a collection of silent movie footage, taken from different viewpoints, and edited together to make a slightly disjointed movie. This was the feel I got from this novel.
This story never really feels as if it is being offered as a viable explanation for what might have happened to Amelia Earhart when she disappeared while en route from Lae, New Guinea to Howell Island, during her failed attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world. Rather it provides a series of other-worldly meditations on scenes that might have happened had the plane crashed on a strange deserted island. Very brief vignettes, sometimes from Amelia's viewpoint, sometimes from another viewpoint.
Amelia and Noonan, her alcoholic (at least in the story) navigator give the island the nickname "heaven"; a joke apparently, but it occurred to me that the entire story might really be about what happened when Amelia died. Perhaps the island really was heaven?
It also crossed my mind that these impressionistic scenes were a collection of fantasies by someone other than Earhart.
I did find this hypothesis
about Earhart's disappearance, which seems to form the possible background to this book. The site from which this comes, The Earhart Project
, has some fascinating information (as well as a scathing, and not terribly fair review
of the book), as does the Amelia Earhart
This book is almost poetry, strung together, just like an edited movie, to create a kind of narrative. I have to say, it left me slightly unsatisfied.