Constellation by Adrien Bosc

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Constellation by Adrien Bosc

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Stacey Barkley
Reviewed by Stacey Barkley
Summary: A reconstruction of the fragmented pieces, to recreate and retell this tragedy.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: August 2016
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
ISBN: 978-1781255360

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October 27, 1949. There has been much hype in the preceding months around Air France's new plane, The Constellation. Touted as a carrier for the stars, the flight is launched with a touch of glitz, with chefs hired to prepare the finest cuisine for those well-known names set to board flight F-BAZN from Paris to New York.

October 28, 1949. 02:51, following reports of good weather and visibility, the pilot makes contact; the flight has reached 3,000 feet, he has the airport in sight, he is preparing to land. The estimated time of arrival came and went, but the landing did not happened. A search is initiated, which eventually establishes that the carrier had crashed into a mountainside in the Azores, killing all 37 of its passengers and all 11 of its crew.

Here, Bosc has crafted an account of this crash, and in doing so pulls together the lives of those on board. Whilst the title hails from the flight name, the imagery of the stars prevails as Bosc charts the how and why those individuals ended up on this particular flight, and what small incremental happenings led up to the fatal crash. Among the passengers for instance, Marcel Credan, prize-winning boxer, alongside his manager, Jo Longman, boarded the flight at the last minute, making the journey much earlier than planned, at the request of, and returning to, his lover, Edith Piaf. Notably, two unnamed individuals were, by proxy, then saved, having had to forgo their seats for the celebrated star. Small, seemingly insignificant, acts which culminated in life or death.

Notably, Bosc has crafted this account in a novel way, with it straddling some in-between of fiction and fact. While he aims to 'probe the fiction at the heart of our lives'; he does not create this fiction, he does not aim at 'slipping into the victims' clothes'; he does not try to imagine their thoughts and feelings onboard the flight at the time of the crash. Instead, he has assembled this account having painstakingly collated enough facts about those on board to do so.

Which means, that true to life, we know only what is available, and therefore, for the four shepherds on board, anomalies to the starry passenger list, this amounts to very little. What Bosc does beautifully though, is to skilfully arrange what facts there are available, allowing these to speak and to tell a story of their own.

Here, Bosc revives the tragic airline crash, and uncovers the interconnectedness of small, seemingly insignificant events. Pulling together the facts, we see the chance happenings that led this group of random individuals onto this flight, and which caused their paths to cross, though briefly, to create from this shared moment a lasting story, their names, forever, a constellation.

For a more fictionalised tale, which follows one Tom Patrick, an air crash investigator, you might want to consider High Rollers by Jack Bowman.

Buy Constellation by Adrien Bosc at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Constellation by Adrien Bosc at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Constellation by Adrien Bosc at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Constellation by Adrien Bosc at Amazon.com.


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