More Than Melancholy: 'In-Flight' Stories Soarhttp://www.npr.org/2012/02/15/146923492/more-than-melancholy-in-flight-stories-soar
February 15, 2012
The Brits: You've got to hand it to them. The Empire may be long gone, but they still reign supreme when it comes to effortlessly exuding mordant wit. For anyone who savors the acerbic literary likes of Evelyn Waugh or the Amises, father and son, Helen Simpson is just the ticket.
Her latest short-story collection, In-Flight Entertainment, has already been lauded by reviewers across the pond: The Times of London declared that it was "dangerously close to perfection." The stories assembled here are filled with crisp observations about mortality, infidelity and the looming apocalypse of climate change. Melancholy subjects, to be sure, and Simpson accords them their emotional weight; but one suspects that even as the ice caps melt, Simpson's hardy strain of Brit wit might well be wheezing out a rueful quip or two.