A Chicago Review of Books Most Anticipated Fiction Book of 2018
A New York Post and Entertainment Weekly Must-Read Book
"Fast-paced, energetic, searing. There are moments in Steve Kistulentz's Panorama that will take your breath away." Daniel Alarcón, author of Lost City Radio
Richard MacMurray, a cable news talking head, is paid handsomely to pontificate on the issues of the moment. On New Year's Day he is scheduled to be a guest on a prominent morning talk show. As he awaits the broadcast, the network interrupts with news that a jet airliner has crashed in Dallas and that everyone aboard has perished.
Within an hour, amateur videotape surfaces of the plane's last moments, transforming the crash into a living image: familiar, constant, and horrifying. Richard learns that his sister, Mary Beth, was aboard the doomed flight, leaving behind her six-year-old son, Gabriel. Richard is the boy's only living relative. When he is given an opportunity to bring Gabriel home, it may be that the loss of his sister will provide him with the second chapter he never knew he wanted.
In this powerful debut, Steve Kistulentz captures the sprawl of contemporary Americaits culture, its values, the workaday existence of its peoplewith kaleidoscopic sweep and controlled intensity. Yet within the expansive scope of Panorama lies an intimate portrait of human loss rendered with precision, humanity, and humor.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)|
About the Author
Steve Kistulentz is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Florida State University. His fiction has appeared, among other places, in Narrative and a special issue of Mississippi Review on emerging writers guest edited by Rick Moody. He is also the author of two books of poetry: The Luckless Age, which won the Benjamin Saltman Award, and Little Black Daydream. The director of the graduate creative writing program at Saint Leo University in Florida, he lives in Tampa and is currently working on a second novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
New Year’s Eve - Denver Arnold Bright, airline mechanic, is tired from working double time to support and please his family. So, he decides to forego doing a thorough check of the rail rudder assembly of a plane reading for flight the next day. Richard MacMurray is a well known television commentator. He is single and his girlfriend has broken up with him. He lives in Washington DC and travels often for various news broadcasts. Mary Beth is Richard’s sister. She was married for a number of years. During that time, she tried to conceive, but was unsuccessful. But when her husband left her, she found out she was pregnant. Now, her son Gabriel is 6-years-old and the light of her life. Mary Beth works as an Office Manager for Mike who is a successful life insurance salesman in Dallas. They have been dating but Mary Beth realizes that it’s just going anywhere. Mike still calls her son “the kid.” Mary Beth and Mike have traveled to Denver for a New Year’s Eve vacation. Mary Beth is due to fly back on New Year’s Day. She misses Gabriel and worries about being away from him. The story centers in on various people who are alone in life. It gives lots of background information on them. As the hours pass for the departure of Panorama Flight 503 from Denver to Dallas, the author peeks in on various people adding commentary. As the plane is preparing to land in Denver, the horrific event takes place and the plane crashes killing all aboard - Mary Beth included. Next, we see the special airline crew trained to step in and handle the aftermath of a disaster. There are certain things they can and cannot say and the author goes into great detail about that. When Richard learns his sister, Mary Beth, was on the plane, he realizes as the only known next of kin, he will be responsible for caring for Gabriel. I found this book to be chock full of dialogue that was so boring it became just blah-blah-blah. There was so nail-biting buildup to a disaster and the characters were bland and unremarkable. Unfortunately, I simply did not care for this book. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Panorama could not have a finer name. It is a cascade of stories intricately woven into a tapestry of characters so real we can mourn those who die and empathize with those who live on in a world we know too well. The pace and the power of Panorama could only be crafted by an unflinching honest artist, such as Steve Kistulentz
I read an advance copy of this astonishingly original and deeply moving novel. I was hooked from the very first chapter (which, with brilliant economy, fully humanizes the idea of "human error") to the unforgettable last chapter. The storytelling feels realistic, controlled, and nuanced. It can be intensely emotional without ever resorting to melodrama or histrionics. You feel like you've met all of these characters before, and you care about them as they deal with both the ordinary (relationships, parenting, careers) and the unthinkable (a catastrophic airline crash). The balance between scale and intimacy is masterful. There are scenes in the book that will linger in your memory for a long, long time. You've never read a book quite like this before, but you'll be so glad you did.