The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe (translated by Lilit Thwaites) is a fictional biography of aviation pioneers Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jean Mermoz, Henri Guillaumet. Mr. Saint- Exupéry was a famous, award-winning author, known today for his classic book The Little Prince.
- 544 pages
- Publisher : Feiwel & Friends
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1250806984
The Prince of the Skies (A cielo abierto) by Antonio Iturbe is historical fiction at its best. Gripping narrative, relatable characters, rich in history, as well as fantastic writing.
Like many of us, The Little Prince was a staple of our childhood, however I never realized the author’s contributions beyond that wonderful book. I certainly knew Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a pilot, but I never imagined he was pioneer in the field (I also learned how to pronounce his name). He was well established author before his landmark book, winning both the Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française (1939), and the U.S. National Book Award (1940), both for for Wind, Sand, and Stars, as well as several honorifics for his wartime heroism.
I also never knew he died flying a mission during World War II.
The book tells of the early days of aviation. The dangers these pioneers felt, the way society looked at aviation as going nowhere (“not a real job”). All three pilots were good friends, yet vastly different. Saint-Exupéry saw the poetry in flying, Mermoz lived life the fullest, with a voracious appetite, and Guillaumet loved to fly, but was very much in love with his wife, Noelle.
Saint-Exupéry was a walking contradiction. A poor aristocrat, a lonely celebrity, a pioneer pilot stuck as an administrator, in love with a Consuelo Suncín, a cheating wife who was his muse.
I loved how the author incorporated scenes from The Little Prince into the narrative, henceforth allowing Saint-Exupéry to build his classic over years. The references are not overt, but for fans of the book, or even if just know it in passing, they’re, without a doubt, unmistakable.
The author, I thought, should have included was a note, an afterward, differentiating between fact and fiction. Nevertheless, this is a marvelous book which was difficult to put down, great job by translator Lilit Thwaites.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wasn’t just a pilot, he was, indeed, one of the best before he even started writing books. Together with Mermoz and Guillaumet they fought wars, set records, as well as open routes for a worldwide mail delivery via the skies.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I bought this book.
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