The best review that described this book is probably the introduction by Daniel Kilburn and Luke Seaber published in the first paragraph. They dig deep into the character of Robert Owen whose life as a pilot instructor is described in this novel. They explain to the reader what symbolisms and metaphors Rhys uses to show us the fun, excitement, terror, boredom and the always present shadow of losing life and existence of an instructor of a flying club may experience.
Well a novel is not the right word. It is more a autobiography of Rhys of his short life as a pilot and I will try to write this review in a short version of the introduction. To begin with the English language used in this book is typical of the thirties in the past century, beautiful and extensive sentences using words that sometimes forced me to consult a dictionary. That is no criticism but admiration of his knowledge and fine use of his native language.
As instructor of a flying club RO (Robert Owen) shares his daily life with the reader and that includes the flying part, the bar gossips, the types that hang around a club and hangar and the romances that comes with it however that was limited to one lady he fell in love with. Replacing the stories using modern training planes into the present age will confront us with the same types of persons and adventures that come with it. Besides Rhys (the author) was an experienced pilot trained in the RAF and his explanations of flight technicalities and training aspects including aerobatics and instrument flying are thorough and do not difference much with present times.
What I said: Rhys suggests a novel but wrote in my opinion a biography of his short life as a pilot (he died in a crash in the age of 29) placed in the beautiful English topography surrounding the airport and using beautiful writers language. That the novel ends dramatically was unexpected for me as I hoped he would find happiness in his flying years despite a shadow flying with him all the time.
For me it was nice reading certainly upgrading my knowledge of the English language but the flying factor in the book and the recognition of life in a flying club made it worthwhile. By the way, perfect design of the cover drawing!
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