Landing Review
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Can two people with entirely different personalities and interests fall in love and maintain that affection? Jude Turner, a masculine-looking 25-year-old from Ontario, Canada, receives an urgent phone call requesting that she fly over to Ireland to see her ill mother who’s there visiting family. Jude is very hesitant, as she isn’t one to travel, let alone even board a plane. On her flight, through a very unfortunate circumstance, she meets an Irish flight attendant, 39-year-old Síle O’Shaughnessy (pronounced Sheila), exotic, feminine, and sophisticated. There is an immediate attraction.

The two communicate via email, a method of communication that Jude, a small museum curator, is unaccustomed to. There are brief visits, mainly from Síle’s layovers. But will anything come of this romance?

Landing examines the problems of establishing a romantic relationship when two people live worlds apart, geographically and otherwise. In doing so, author Emma Donoghue goes to great lengths to show a sense of how her characters feel physically and emotionally. The reader can actually sense the bitter Canadian snow as shivering Síle is plodding through it. She also gives sufficient depth to her supporting characters, such as Síle’s friend, Jael, the married mother who’s actually bisexual. There’s also Rizla, Jude’s old friend and ex-husband who she’s unable or unwilling to get rid of. And, of course, Gwen, who’s having an affair with a married man and maintains that one “can get used to anything.”

However, that isn’t quite enough to sustain this novel. The plot isn’t particularly captivating. Though this is a lesbian relationship, the issues are all too familiar, as in most romantic liaisons. What’s the attraction of falling for someone who’s your total opposite? We’ve all had to begrudgingly listen to the opinions of family and friends. We’ve all had to deal with old lovers. You know that person who constantly falls in and out of love. And, of course, how much is one willing to give up for a relationship? These are common issues, and there’s nothing unique to be learned or revealed in Landing…or maybe some of us are just jaded.

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