Unlearning to Fly


By Jennifer Brice. 

University of Nebraska Press, 2007.

Unlearning to Fly is the memoir of a bookworm growing up in Alaska—among people whose resilience, restlessness, and energy find their highest expression in winter ascents of Mount McKinley or first descents of wild rivers. These are the flying stories of a fearful pilot, one who admires but does not emulate the more daring exploits of her father and her friends.

The accounts of Jennifer Brice—at times poignant, funny, and downright nerve-racking—are engaging recollections of deadly, near-deadly, and occasionally comic encounters between human nature and Nature writ large. The unlikely romance between her parents, the Good Friday earthquake, the Alaska oil boom, a stint as a newspaper reporter, and the trials of a student pilot form a few chapters in Brice’s remarkable life. These are the stories in which the physics and metaphors of flight—center of gravity, angle of attack, wake turbulence—illuminate Brice’s remarkable life story, recounted in prose that takes wing. (Publisher’s description)

Jennifer Brice is an associate professor of English at Colgate University and the author of The Last Settlers. Her work has appeared in such journals as the Gettysburg Review, Manoa, and River Teeth.

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