The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot Harrison sat very still On the screen was the surface of the moon Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force one of the exalted few He spends his days cheating death in the skies abo
  • Title: The Last Pilot
  • Author: Benjamin Johncock
  • ISBN: 9781250066640
  • Page: 435
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Last Pilot
    Harrison sat very still On the screen was the surface of the moon Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, one of the exalted few He spends his days cheating death in the skies above the Mojave Desert and his nights at his friend Pancho s bar, often with his wife, Grace She and Harrison are secretly desperate for a child and when, against all odds, Harrison sat very still On the screen was the surface of the moon Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, one of the exalted few He spends his days cheating death in the skies above the Mojave Desert and his nights at his friend Pancho s bar, often with his wife, Grace She and Harrison are secretly desperate for a child and when, against all odds, Grace learns that she is pregnant, the two are overcome with joy.While America becomes swept up in the fervor of the Space Race, Harrison turns his attention home, passing up the chance to become an astronaut to welcome his daughter, Florence, into the world Together, he and Grace confront the thrills and challenges of raising a child head on Fatherhood is different than flying planes less controlled, anxious however the pleasures of watching Florence grow are incomparable But when his family is faced with a sudden and inexplicable tragedy, Harrison s instincts as a father and a pilot are put to test As a pilot, he feels compelled to lead them through it and as a father, he fears that he has fallen short.The aftermath will haunt the Harrisons and strain their marriage as Jim struggles under the weight of his decisions Beginning when the dust of the Second World War has only just begun to settle and rushing onward into the Sixties, Benjamin Johncock traces the path of this young couple as they are uprooted by events much larger than themselves The turns the Harrisons take together are at once astonishing and recognizable their journey, both frightening and full of hope Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally charged periods in American history, The Last Pilot is a mesmerizing debut novel of loss and finding courage in the face of it from an extraordinary new talent.
    The Last Pilot By Benjamin Johncock,
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      435 Benjamin Johncock
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      Posted by:Benjamin Johncock
      Published :2019-03-01T17:51:41+00:00

    About " Benjamin Johncock "

  • Benjamin Johncock

    BENJAMIN JOHNCOCK was born in England in 1978 His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant and the American Literary Merit Award, and is a winner of Comma Press s National Short Story Day competition He also writes for the Guardian He lives in Norwich, England, with his wife, his daughter, and his son The Last Pilot is his first novel.

  • 424 Comments

  • This book caught my attention immediately a story about test pilots, the Space Race and the first astronauts, and a compelling narrative about one of those pilots, his wife, and their desire to start a family Jim Harrison is a U.S Air Force test pilot who risks his life on a daily basis Grace is a devoted wife that waits anxiously for her husband to walk through the door every night, hoping his photo won t be the next on the wall of dead pilots down at the local bar It s the late 1940s and by da [...]


  • melissa413readsalot.blotspotI thought this book was really sad It s good but it s sad too You have Harrison who is a test pilot for the US Airforce and his wife Grace Every day there is the fear that Jim isn t going to make it back home I think the author did a great job at explaining some things a test pilot does that I would have never known But this book isn t just about that, it s about friends and family Jim and Grace have a hard time trying to have kids and they have some really horrible t [...]


  • This is by far the best d but novel I ve read in years You can read about the plot elsewhere, but for me, the beauty of this novel is in the balance of the dialogue the sustained emotion that runs through the whole the haiku like simplicity of the prose and trust me, it takes a long, long time to create that sense of effortlessness Like so many of America s stories, this is a Western in disguise a quiet, limpid Western, where the action mostly takes place in the air and in the chambers of the he [...]


  • I really don t want to write a lukewarm review, but I didn t like this much and know a couple of reasons why Johncock has some nice descriptions of the Mohave desert, and empty bars, and loneliness, and the cold interior of the cockpit But I found his dialogue truly boring and hated the family story the marital arguments, the wife s shrillness, the protagonist s taciturnity, the tragic deaths, the general sentimentality it read like a Lifetime movie script Also, I disagree with those who think t [...]


  • Although Benjamin Johncock is a young writer in England, in The Last Pilot he re creates the early days of the U.S space program like someone who lived through them His story opens in 1947 when a hot shot Air Corps captain named Jim Harrison is on his way to becoming the fastest man in the world or another bloody smear on the Mojave Desert He s flying the X 1 basically a rocket launched from the belly of an airborne B 29 bomber, which is fuel injected craziness, but Jim and his buddies aren t fo [...]


  • Oh, this book I was a child when the whole country held its collective breath as Alan Shepard coolly exclaimed, Let s light this candle and became the first American to orbit the Earth Dewy eyed, I worshipped a whole new group of heroes.The mastery of The Last Pilot is that within its pages, the heroes become human The story centers on the fictional pilot Jim Harrison, who straddles that moment of time when we forever separated the old from the new and claimed the heavens as our own Laconic, eni [...]


  • Admittedly I m struggling a little with this review because this book was as near perfect as it s possible to be when it comes to genius storytelling, emotionally resonant use of language and the ability to get you right in the heart.Set against the backdrop of the space race, in a bubble of time and place that the author brings utterly vividly to life, The Last Pilot is a character drama that deals with themes of love, loss and family that will speak to each different reader in it s own way A t [...]


  • Full disclosure I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review Many thanks to Picador for making it available In The Last Pilot, Benjamin Johncock brings a true to life, you are there feeling to the fictionalized story of Jim Harrison, a test pilot for the U.S Air Force, who in the late 1940s and 1950s was one of the elite few attempting to break the sound barrier It was a dangerous task, one that led to countless pilot deaths and injuries, but the risk [...]


  • This was a great idea a test pilot, training to be one of the original NASA astronauts, struggles with personal problems after a family tragedy This could have been an intriguing exploration of ambition, grief and loneliness while striving towards glory, but the novel wasn t strong enough to pull this off The writing style was sparse and lifeless, which I think is the main reason I felt completely disconnected from the characters The dialogue was pretty terrible at times and I hated the lack of [...]


  • This book is simply wonderful an extraordinary debut Beautifully written, it follows the early years of the American space programme, focusing on its cost for one of its pilot astronauts and his family Outstanding.


  • Then let s hit the sky and light this candle This debut novel by an English author packs in an integral slice of American history the space program in the late fifties early sixties and the Cold War However, what makes this book utterly compelling and emotionally acute is a story of one family fictional test pilot Jim Harrison, and his wife, Grace They live in the high desert of The Mojave Desert, in Muroc, the largest slab of uninterrupted flatness on Earth It s a wide expanse of nothingness, b [...]


  • Cinematic descriptions of the California desert setting plus excellent characters and dialogue enliven this debut novel about a fictional test pilot and his family troubles during America s Space Race Johncock is British, but you can tell he s taken inspiration from stories about the dawn of the astronaut age If I allowed myself small points of criticism, I would say that it s a challenge to accept the passage of time in the final 50 pages, and that a keen interest in astronauts is probably a bo [...]


  • This book hit me hard in the gut The pilot NASA story is inventive and interesting, but the book is really about personal relationships and healing The characters are fleshed out with incredible detail, especially Pancho a good friend of our two married main characters This is one of the better books I ve read this year I guess I m a sucker for a rich story with beautiful writing I wish I could write about this, but I just finished it yesterday and it s still a little raw Sitting too close to t [...]


  • Jim Harrison, a test pilot, gives up his dreams of going to the moon to raise a family When tragedy strikes, Harrison and his wife are set adrift by their grief Jim feels he must lead his family through turbulent times, both personal and national The Last Pilot is a wonderful debut about grief and dealing with shortcomings as both parents and humans.Get our weekly New Books newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, featuring all things.wellw books bookriot 2014 07 29 new bo


  • Novel set in the Mojave Desert, Houston, and Cape CanaveralI feel very lucky The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock is the third debut novel by a British writer that I have read in recent weeks All have been quite excellent First was The Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty, then came White Crocodile by K T Medina and now, The Last Pilot Two of the three The Killing of Bobbi Lomax and The Last Pilot are set in the States, and written with an authentic American feel White Crocodile is set in Cambo [...]


  • The Last Pilot is an intimate tale of the space race told from the perspective of one man A man whose wife fears for his life every day, never knowing if this will be the day he fails to return from work There is one particularly effective scene where Grace misremembers the time Harrison says he will return The worry is palpable Harrison s progression mirrors that of Neil Armstrong s He starts out as a US Air Force test pilot for rocket powered planes, attempting to break the sound barrier, and [...]


  • I feel like I read a completely different book The book seemed really intriguing from the initial hype and as I enjoyed astronomy as a kid I thought I d really like it Wow, this was reallydull I knew right away that this was going to be a struggle for me from the prologue Although the time shift had me intrigued, I really can t stand it when quotation marks aren t used Maybe it s just me, but it just seems really sloppy and a lack of effort than a stylistic choice Anyway Jim is a pilot who turns [...]


  • This superbly crafted work, evocatively set amidst the space race, is a stunning first novel Small steps taken, or not taken, in the context of a bleakly burdened marriage are juxtaposed with the giant leap for mankind and what achieving it took from the families who realised Kennedy s vision.This is a masterpiece of storytelling pacy, suspenseful and with genuine emotional depth The prose is sharp and tight the reader is trusted, not spoon fed There is warmth and profundity, with themes of love [...]


  • It was a book that covered much of the same time frame as The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel They are both worth reading and this story has a subplot that is so appealing The whole story put together makes for a wonderful first effort and a good read and I will continue to follow this author I don t want to give anything away so that hopefully some of you will be interested enough to read it and rate it in here too It s about the Mercury 7 and the New Nine too Astronauts in the Mission to t [...]


  • I m not too sure what to say about this book I struggled to empathise with the main character The writing style, tight and sparse, although clever left me feeling as if I was viewing the story through a pane of glass The detail about the test flights and space race is clearly well researched I liked learning the origin of the word astronaut The female characters seemed cliched However, the final pages of panic attacks caused by suppressed grief were genuinely moving.


  • Wonderful novel about the early space program from the point of view of a test pilot I m giving it 5 stars even though it doesn t have quotation marks PLEASE publishers and authors quotation marks make dialog easier to read WHAT is the deal with this trend to omit them Are you saving on INK Sheesh.


  • What a great book I loved all the characters, and I am by no means a Space Programme enthusiast, but I was as gripped by the personal story, which made me cry, as by the race to the moon Great dialogue, and I could feel the heat of the desert I also loved Pancho, what a woman



  • The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock is a historical fiction book taking place during the height of the space race.Jim Harrison, an Air Force pilot, leaves in Nevada, pushing the boundaries of air craft technology in the Mojave Desert Jim s wife, Grace are happy to have their first daughter after years of trying to have children but as the country turns its attention to the space program, the Harrisons experience a family tragedy.The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johncock is an interesting story which f [...]


  • Deserves 3.5 stars but doesn t have that intriguing read which kept me guessing but ultimately lacking a little something for me.


  • When World War II comes to an end, Jim Harrison stays in the Air Force as a test pilot, pushing the sound barrier in the Mojave Desert After struggling for years to have children, Jim and his wife Grace are thrilled by the birth of their daughter and happily embrace the changes she brings to their lives But just as the Space Race begins and the country turns its attention to pilots like Jim, a tragedy strikes the Harrison family and drastically alters the future course You know, she said, we wen [...]


  • 2.5 5 stars ratingThis review is also posted at readingnookandcranny.Where are all the quotation marks in this novel It feels likes a punctuation thief slid in though the sliding glass door in the middle of the night, black ski mask and all, and robbed all the dialogue in this novel of its quotation marks while the editor slept I don t know if this is a new fad that s developing or what, but it did not work well for this novel For one, it made it impossible to speed read, and a few sections of t [...]


  • The Short of It Amid the excitement of space exploration, one couple is forced to deal with a horrible tragedy and the aftermath that it leaves behind.The Rest of It The story centers around Jim Harrison and his wife Grace Jim is an Air Force test pilot in Muroc, California on a base which later becomes Edwards Air Force Base He s a member of the New Nine, which is the first group to fly manned missions to space As you can imagine, this is a very exciting time for them all.Grace is not your typi [...]


  • This book was sent to me by an editor that I worked with during my time at Picador, an editor I admired deeply for her work ethic and for her taste This book confirmed my admiration of both.Benjamin Johncock s debut novel is as informative and well researched as it is heartrending and devastating It is equal parts big picture history and granular family in the midst of turmoil Juxtaposing the excitement and terror of the beginning of the space race with the singular, exquisite experience of beco [...]


  • Evocative especially of the Mojave and sparse prose, directly contrasted with a plot that might be considered just on the wrong side of sentimental Somehow, though, that doesn t matter I cared about these characters, so much so that I read the entire thing in one sitting The depictions of panic and compulsion felt very real, as did each of the characters And, yet again, I can t discount the fact that a this works very closely with a historical time line and b it s the history of the space race m [...]


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