Out of the Clouds of Deceit by David Canning
|Out of the Clouds of Deceit by David Canning|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: In the immediate post-war period a pilot struggles to come to terms with the differences between the relationships that men have with each other and those they have with women. An evocative story of life in the RAF. David Canning popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: December 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
On his way to begin training to be a pilot in the RAF, Aiden met Dennis in a railway station buffet. As luck would have it they were both on their way to the same place, for the same reason and would find themselves sharing a room. Trained and mentored by older serving officers in what was the immediate post-war period they came to understand - and to some extent feel - the sense of betrayal which burdened the pilots from bomber command who had taken part in the Allied bombing campaign in the World War II. Flying was in Aiden's blood and he was at home in the air and in the mess - the comradeship of men suited him and he understood the nuances. He was less at home with women, never completely understanding the different needs a woman has in a relationship.
I don't often make a plea in the course of a review but I'm going to do so here. Please don't read the book description on Amazon and if you're reading the paperback don't even look at the blurb on the back, because you will ruin the pleasure of reading the book if you do. I was fortunate in that I read the kindle version and experienced what happened to Aiden in the way that Aiden experienced his life. David Canning has a way with words: one event hit me like a punch in the stomach and another left me chewing my fingernails down to the elbow. It's just not the same if you know what to expect.
As well as having a way with words, Canning is an observer. He captures the small, often unconscious actions - the smoothing of a skirt, the struggle to cope with a bag and a briefcase or the necessity of doing your job whilst wearing more uniform than you'd like in a hot climate - which bring a character to life. Surprisingly he's equally good with the main male and female characters. Aiden's wife, Margaret comes off the page well and their son, Mark, is a delight, but the subsidiary characters did tend to blend a little. There's a wonderful sense of the atmosphere in the mess or on the airfield and the slightly strained feel of the living room where Aiden is not quite at home for all his love of Margaret and his devotion to his son.
Despite his love of the RAF and of flying Aiden would meet his own sense of betrayal by the RAF, albeit many years later in a series of events which did actually happen. Canning seamlessly stitches fact and fiction together, but does it in such a way that what happens still comes as a surprise. This man can write: at one point the sense of loss and betrayal was so strong that I was moved to tears.
I do have one or two quibbles with the book. It starts a little unsteadily. Canning's love of playing with words overwhelms his need to tell Aiden's story - there's a lot which should be cut, particularly in the early part of the book and it could be done without affecting the story. The proofreading was sadly deficient in parts too. I was left with a sense of reading a first draft. Ultimately though, I enjoyed the book and I'm not normally a fan of military fiction.
I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
For more the RAF in the post-war period we can recommend Into Suez by Stevie Davies.
You can read more about David Canning here.
You can read more book reviews or buy Out of the Clouds of Deceit by David Canning at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Out of the Clouds of Deceit by David Canning at Amazon.com.
David Canning was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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