Michelle Morgan, Flying Through Clouds, self-published, 2 April 2017, 237pp., $18.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9780995386501
More than anything, Joe wants to learn how to fly, but there are huge obstacles standing in his way. His dressmaker mum hates the very thought of him flying, his bookie dad thinks he should be spending all his time helping the dubious family business, and how on earth is he going to earn enough money for flying lessons without wagging school?
There are moments in Flying Through Clouds when the Sydney of the Depression comes vividly alive, but this novel feels like a collection of disjointed anecdotes and memories, rather than a cohesive narrative. Characters appear with little frame of reference, and disappear just as abruptly from the story, and key pieces of information are often introduced after the fact.
What this story does have is some interesting aviation history and detail, and any reader with an interest in flying should find something to catch their attention here. When the story does come together, the description of time and place lifts it and gives Flying With Clouds a good grounding in this part of Australian history. It would suit readers aged 10 to 15.
Reviewed by Emily Clarke