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   Ainsi les trois avions postaux de la Patagonie, du Chili et du Paraguay revenaient du sud, de l'ouest et du nord vers Buenos Aires. On y attendait leur chargement pour donner le départ, vers minuit, à l'avion d'Europe.    Trois pilotes, chacun à l'arrière d'un capot lourd comme un chaland, perdus dans la nuit, méditaient leur vol, et, vers la ville immense, descend    Ainsi les trois avions postaux de la Patagonie, du Chili et du Paraguay revenaient du sud, de l'ouest et du nord vers Buenos Aires. On y attendait leur chargement pour donner le départ, vers minuit, à l'avion d'Europe.    Trois pilotes, chacun à l'arrière d'un capot lourd comme un chaland, perdus dans la nuit, méditaient leur vol, et, vers la ville immense, descendraient lentement de leur ciel d'orage ou de pais, comme d'étranges paysans descendent de leurs montagnes.    Rivière, responsable du réseau entier, se promenait de long en large sur le terrain d'atterrissage de Buenos Aires. Il demeurait silencieux car, jusqu'à l'arrivée des trois avions, cette journée, pour lui, restait redoutable...


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   Ainsi les trois avions postaux de la Patagonie, du Chili et du Paraguay revenaient du sud, de l'ouest et du nord vers Buenos Aires. On y attendait leur chargement pour donner le départ, vers minuit, à l'avion d'Europe.    Trois pilotes, chacun à l'arrière d'un capot lourd comme un chaland, perdus dans la nuit, méditaient leur vol, et, vers la ville immense, descend    Ainsi les trois avions postaux de la Patagonie, du Chili et du Paraguay revenaient du sud, de l'ouest et du nord vers Buenos Aires. On y attendait leur chargement pour donner le départ, vers minuit, à l'avion d'Europe.    Trois pilotes, chacun à l'arrière d'un capot lourd comme un chaland, perdus dans la nuit, méditaient leur vol, et, vers la ville immense, descendraient lentement de leur ciel d'orage ou de pais, comme d'étranges paysans descendent de leurs montagnes.    Rivière, responsable du réseau entier, se promenait de long en large sur le terrain d'atterrissage de Buenos Aires. Il demeurait silencieux car, jusqu'à l'arrivée des trois avions, cette journée, pour lui, restait redoutable...

30 review for Vol de nuit Audiobook PACK [Book + CD]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Night Flight is the novel that made famous Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He realizes in this novel a real tribute to the pilots of Aéropostale. I had a hard time hanging in the beginning, it took me a long time before going back into history completely and understand all the subtlety. The pilots showed a lot of courage and motivation during the night postage period in the 1930s. The author does not simply recount the lives of drivers in their cockpits, it goes further by focusing on the lives of the "close" drivers to Night Flight is the novel that made famous Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He realizes in this novel a real tribute to the pilots of Aéropostale. I had a hard time hanging in the beginning, it took me a long time before going back into history completely and understand all the subtlety. The pilots showed a lot of courage and motivation during the night postage period in the 1930s. The author does not simply recount the lives of drivers in their cockpits, it goes further by focusing on the lives of the "close" drivers to show us by example the despair of a woman who no longer see his husband. I found this tribute highly remarkable and fair, the writing is poetic and haunting. Rivière is a man who seems tough but he is in fact a sensitive heart who cares about his employees. Some descriptions were a little too detailed but the story does not become boring. The aviation adventure is magical, amazing and simply unforgettable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    St Exupéry's short but intense tribute to the pilots of Aéropostale is poetic, moving and suspenseful. I re-read many sentences and paragraphs, struck by their emotional impact and beautiful imagery. This is a novel that I'm particularly glad to have read in French rather than in translation. If you've ever wanted to know what flying a 1920s plane in a storm in South America was like, then this is the book to read. Based on St-Exupéry's own experiences, the fact that he disappeared while flying a reconnais St Exupéry's short but intense tribute to the pilots of Aéropostale is poetic, moving and suspenseful. I re-read many sentences and paragraphs, struck by their emotional impact and beautiful imagery. This is a novel that I'm particularly glad to have read in French rather than in translation. If you've ever wanted to know what flying a 1920s plane in a storm in South America was like, then this is the book to read. Based on St-Exupéry's own experiences, the fact that he disappeared while flying a reconnaissance mission for the Free French Air Force in 1944 makes the reading experience particularly poignant.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mmars

    Review on translation by Stuart Gilbert. Looking for a particular translation of the Little Prince, I found myself in the library "Stacks" section of old, rarely checked out books. There, two other books by Saint-Exupery (do surnames like that still exist?) attracted me through their first lines. I was entranced. What exquisite writing! And like the index of poetry, each chapter of Night Flight is headed on a lead-in page by its first line. The book begins, with Fabian, the pilot silently observ Review on translation by Stuart Gilbert. Looking for a particular translation of the Little Prince, I found myself in the library "Stacks" section of old, rarely checked out books. There, two other books by Saint-Exupery (do surnames like that still exist?) attracted me through their first lines. I was entranced. What exquisite writing! And like the index of poetry, each chapter of Night Flight is headed on a lead-in page by its first line. The book begins, with Fabian, the pilot silently observing, "Already, beneath him through the golden evening, the shadowed hills had dug their furrows and the plains grew luminous with long-enduring light. " The mood is set. Day is ending and night will soon settle in. The calm before the storm. Within two pages, the story is shadowed with foreboding through thought, description and word choice. Why use dreadnought in a metaphor? (I had to look it up and it's quite likely the only word in the English language that refers to both a battleship and a large bodied acoustic guitar.) But then the word dread is used two or three more times in the book. Like reading poetry the text is clearly littered with words associated with literal darkness and the metaphorical dark areas of the human soul. Each character is a solitary, soldiering through the night, set upon a mission to get the mail through. The year is 1930, the planes are primitive, the communication is the wireless telegram. The heroes are the pilots, at the mercy of both nature and the heirachy of the mail service - namely the inspector and the commanding chief. These two men are afflicted and absorbed by their professions, in a sense blinded to the lives of the pilots. This all sets up for a very melancholy, yet beautifully written, read. A fantastic storm blankets the inner continent and Fabian, in flight from Patagonia to Buenes Aires, becomes lost. Saint-Exupery writes from experience, and it shows. He miraculousloy survived several crashes, but flying was his love, and he never returned from his last flight. A rather creepy thing to know as you read this book. It's almost as if he wrote it from the dead.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hana

    Five stars for the original French edition, a scant three stars for the 1931 English translation by Stuart Gilbert. It is 1930. South America. As a golden day turns into night, three planes are bound for an air field in Buenos Aires carrying mail from Chile, Paraguay and Patagonia. At the airfield office, the manager and ground crew wait. Across the continent, a vast cyclonic storm system is building. The story of this night flight is told from several points of view: the pilot bound north from Five stars for the original French edition, a scant three stars for the 1931 English translation by Stuart Gilbert. It is 1930. South America. As a golden day turns into night, three planes are bound for an air field in Buenos Aires carrying mail from Chile, Paraguay and Patagonia. At the airfield office, the manager and ground crew wait. Across the continent, a vast cyclonic storm system is building. The story of this night flight is told from several points of view: the pilot bound north from Patagonia on the longest and most hazardous route and the onboard radio operator who is filled with foreboding; on the ground in Buenos Aires, a timorous bureaucratic functionary and another pilot waiting to carry the mail on to Europe. Every hour counts, each one widening the company’s slender time advantage over rail and sea. At the heart of the story and in the eye of the storm stands Rivière, the manager of this continent-wide venture and the main character. Rivière is a hard man, even a brutal one, who can goad a pilot into facing his fears or whip a ground crew to super-human efforts, all to keep the planes and pilots safely aloft for another few hours. But tonight Rivière is bedeviled with doubts, feeling his age, second guessing his decisions. Rivière is not a likable character but he is at times admirable and as a study in a kind of leadership that is sometimes needed but has fallen out of favor, he is superb. I read this novella in the original French, simultaneously with a 1932 English translation by Stuart Gilbert that I used as a sort of oil can and spare tire every time my rusty, rickety French ground to a halt. I am so glad that I persevered with the original. The rhythm of the language is extraordinary. There are densely poetic passages that take us sweeping across the vast, empty steppes where only a few lights twinkle in the night, or that fly us into the towering cloud walls of a terrible storm. Then, abruptly, the poetry is pushed aside, elbowed out of the way by sharp, spare prose as impatient men force their way through the night, doing impossible jobs with too little gasoline, too little information, too little time...too little time! The dialog is even harsher: raw staccato sentences that rip across the page. It’s potent, heart-pounding stuff, but alas only in the original. Let me give you a taste of why I rate this book five stars in French, but only three stars in the Stuart Gilbert translation. In a flashback, Rivière is firing an old mechanic, a veteran who is guilty of a single error and must be made ‘an example’. The man pleads desperately for the job that is his life, the core of his identity. Rivière's response is curt, implacable: - Je vous ai dit: je vous offre une place de manoeuvre. - Ma dignité, Monsieur, ma dignité! Voyons, Monsieur, vingt ans d'aviation ... - De manoeuvre. - Je refuse, Monsieur, je refuse! And here is how the same passage is rendered in English: “I told you you could have a job as a fitter.” “But there’s my good name, sir, my name…after twenty years’ experience…” “As fitter.” “No, sir, I can’t see my way to that. I somehow can’t, sir!” An Englishman might have said that last line, but never this proud, anguished French-Argentine mechanic. I suspect most of the negative reviews are from readers who only read the Gilbert translation and they are not wrong, but if you can read the original even as haltingly as I did you’ll find it terrific. Content rating: Perfectly clean language in both English and French, no sex, no physical violence. A first fly-over for the South American leg of my Around-the World challenge.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    A beautifully penned short novel, an elegy as eulogy - as if de Saint-Exupéry was writing the book that would foreshadow his own mortal struggle with metal, wind and altitude. The enemy isn't the Luftwaffe, it's nature's sinister insouciance - far more frightening than another mortal intent on one's personal destruction. We do not pray for immortality, but only to see our acts and all things stripped suddenly of all their meaning; for then it is the utter emptiness of everything reveal/> A beautifully penned short novel, an elegy as eulogy - as if de Saint-Exupéry was writing the book that would foreshadow his own mortal struggle with metal, wind and altitude. The enemy isn't the Luftwaffe, it's nature's sinister insouciance - far more frightening than another mortal intent on one's personal destruction. We do not pray for immortality, but only to see our acts and all things stripped suddenly of all their meaning; for then it is the utter emptiness of everything reveals itself.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the third time I have read Night Flight. Each time it hits me in the gut the same way. (That's why I keep re-reading it.) Since the last time I read it, I have been to Patagonia twice and understand the truth of this short novel even more. I have flown between Buenos Aires and Trelew, all the way south to Ushuaia and El Calafate. Patagonia is a windy, sparsely populated land with towns few and far between. I could have taken the bus, but even on Argentina's good roads, it would have taken days. This is the third time I have read Night Flight. Each time it hits me in the gut the same way. (That's why I keep re-reading it.) Since the last time I read it, I have been to Patagonia twice and understand the truth of this short novel even more. I have flown between Buenos Aires and Trelew, all the way south to Ushuaia and El Calafate. Patagonia is a windy, sparsely populated land with towns few and far between. I could have taken the bus, but even on Argentina's good roads, it would have taken days. Night Flight is mostly seen from the point of view of Rivière who initiated and supervises the night mail flights across the southern half of South America and from Buenos Aires to Europe. After all, how much can one write about a fragile 1920s-vintage prop plane that exhausts its fuel trying to go through a rare cyclone that has crossed over the Andes and occupied a 1,000-km-long storm front from Comodoro Rivadavia to San Antonio Areco? Radio to Buenos Aires: blocked on all sides, storm developing thousand kilometre front, visibility nil. What should we do?The plane sails off into the void -- offscreen. We never see what finally happens, whether over sea or land. At one point, the clouds clear and Fabien, the pilot, sees a sight few mortals descry:He was wandering through a dense treasure-hoard of stars, in a world where nothing, absolutely nothing else but he, Fabien, and his companion [the radio operator], were alive. Similar to those thieves of fabled cities, immured within the treasure-chambers from which there is no escape. Amid the frozen gems they wander, infinitely rich yet doomed.On the basis of this scene alone, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a great writer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liz Janet

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, why did you die so young? This of course is not his best, it was only his second published work and it needed to be polished. Yet he gave such beauty to his writing, such an artist he was. This piece of art deals with much else he wrote, flight and airplanes. And he uses such a simple thing to convey if long-term goals (and money) are more important than a human life, and it is left to us to choose which side is our own, while him making it seem he chooses human life. " Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, why did you die so young? This of course is not his best, it was only his second published work and it needed to be polished. Yet he gave such beauty to his writing, such an artist he was. This piece of art deals with much else he wrote, flight and airplanes. And he uses such a simple thing to convey if long-term goals (and money) are more important than a human life, and it is left to us to choose which side is our own, while him making it seem he chooses human life. "Et Rivière, à pas lents, retourne à son travail, parmi les secrétaires que courbe son regard dur. Rivière-le-Grand, Rivièrele-Victorieux, qui porte sa lourde victoire. " (And Rivière, slowly, back to work, among the Secretaries curved his hard gaze. Rivière-the-Grand, Rivièrele-Victorious, bringing his heavy victory.) MORE LIKE Rivière-LE-SCUM.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Othy

    Deeply hopeful and yet delicately sad, Night Flight is a tale of man's (and, in my opinion, Saint-Exupery's) encounter with the great, unknown and dark forces of existence. To the edge of deep and true meaning he comes, though in my opinion stops before coming to the beautiful connection between the meaning encountered upon the journey and the meaning inherent in the world itself. Still, the force of will, life, and human spirit, and the beauty that he finds in the human desire to continue on ev Deeply hopeful and yet delicately sad, Night Flight is a tale of man's (and, in my opinion, Saint-Exupery's) encounter with the great, unknown and dark forces of existence. To the edge of deep and true meaning he comes, though in my opinion stops before coming to the beautiful connection between the meaning encountered upon the journey and the meaning inherent in the world itself. Still, the force of will, life, and human spirit, and the beauty that he finds in the human desire to continue on even when all hope is lost is a type of strength rarely explored so well. As a writer, Saint-Exupery deserves five stars, though the message of the book, albeit strong and powerful, in my opinion stops short of grasping the fullness of meaning in the human journey. Sad, I thought, especially since his writing seems to examine and illuminate such meaning and reminds me again of the beauty of it all.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rhys

    One of my three favourite novels (the other two are Froth on the Daydream by Boris Vian and The Non-Existent Knight by Italo Calvino) and this is the second time I have read it. The first time was on a flight from Thessaloniki to London three years ago. I rarely read books twice. I even more rarely read them three times, but I suspect that this will become one of those select thrice-read classics in my life. I bought this edition because it is so nicely produced. I love the texture of the book, the cover artw One of my three favourite novels (the other two are Froth on the Daydream by Boris Vian and The Non-Existent Knight by Italo Calvino) and this is the second time I have read it. The first time was on a flight from Thessaloniki to London three years ago. I rarely read books twice. I even more rarely read them three times, but I suspect that this will become one of those select thrice-read classics in my life. I bought this edition because it is so nicely produced. I love the texture of the book, the cover artwork and the interior layout, all very satisfying. They serve well the excellence of the text, which is a beautiful, poignant, heady story about bravery, loss and determination. The prose is luminous, breathtaking, touching and yet muscular and noble. I bought this edition after one of the most enjoyable flights of my life, from London to Aberdeen. It is a novel about flying that for me will forever be associated with the miracle of flight.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Night Flight is a splendid novella about the hazards of flight in its early days, and about a certain philosophy of command. The principal character is Rivière, the managing director of the air mail service in South America. He presents himself as harsh and unfair - denying punctuality bonuses to pilots who are unable to fly on time owing to weather, for example - but tells himself, honestly perhaps, that his harshness is meant only to make his men better versions of themselves. He ha Night Flight is a splendid novella about the hazards of flight in its early days, and about a certain philosophy of command. The principal character is Rivière, the managing director of the air mail service in South America. He presents himself as harsh and unfair - denying punctuality bonuses to pilots who are unable to fly on time owing to weather, for example - but tells himself, honestly perhaps, that his harshness is meant only to make his men better versions of themselves. He has initiated a program of night flights to speed the mail from across South America to Buenos Aires, and thence to Europe. The story takes place on a single night, and follows the progress of Fabien, a pilot delivering the mail from Patagonia to Buenos Aires. His flight starts like any other, but he soon finds himself surrounded by storms, with no way back and apparently no way forward. As Fabien and his wireless operator are engulfed in the storms, Rivière monitors their progress, and reflects on the choices he has made, and their consequences. Rivière believes that in the pursuit of progress and of high aims, the lives of individuals must take second place. At a certain point he is led to question that belief, but in the end we are left with the impression that he has reaffirmed his belief and is unlikely to change his position. Whether the owners of those individual lives would agree is a question, of course. The novel was made into an excellent film in 1933 starring John Barrymore as Rivière and Clark Gable as Fabien. The movie was out of circulation from 1942 until 2011 owing to Saint-Exupéry withdrawing the author rights he had granted to MGM for 10 years. And it is certainly true that the movie was different from the novel in fundamental ways; necessarily so, I think, since a very large part of the novel takes place inside Rivière's head.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Watkins

    Looking for a quick resurrection of an old thrill to jumpstart some recent doldrums I pulled this thin paperback off my shelf, read it in a few hours, and found my doldrums dissipated for all the wrong reasons. The very disparity between my old thrill and my new disparagement was enough to lift my spirits backhandedly; via a via negativa as it were, a route of moulds and dogs' ears and foxing. Old thrills... it rarely pays to chase 'em, and freshly heightened spirits attained by traipsing through spoila Looking for a quick resurrection of an old thrill to jumpstart some recent doldrums I pulled this thin paperback off my shelf, read it in a few hours, and found my doldrums dissipated for all the wrong reasons. The very disparity between my old thrill and my new disparagement was enough to lift my spirits backhandedly; via a via negativa as it were, a route of moulds and dogs' ears and foxing. Old thrills... it rarely pays to chase 'em, and freshly heightened spirits attained by traipsing through spoilage is a worm-eaten fix. So I liked this so much the first time, but that was years ago... before I had seen Howard Hawks' Only Angels Have Wings a dozen times. Hawks' movie is a total rip-off of the book, though I don't see that indicated anywhere in all the movie info. Maybe night flying mail carriers in the early days of commercial aviation were just "in the air" in the 1930's. The film is brisk and richly imagined, highly entertaining and punctuated by song (Cary Grant joyously bellowing as Jean Arthur hammers dive bar ivories). The book, even for its thinness, is bloated, though the thrilling story does try to rear its demonic head Loch Ness Monster-like through a thick fog of "soul-stirring" verbiage, and for that obscured hint of thrills, and my inexpungeable film version memories, I give it 3 stars. Check out the Hawks instead! P.S. (I still like The Little Prince)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Nguyễn

    I have always loved Exupery's writing, from The Little Prince, to Wind, Sand and Stars, and now, Night Flight. Reading his poetic and lyrical prose is like being in a stream, gently flowing down in its pure and fresh water. The beauty of his writing is beyond my ability to describe, something similar to the feeling of flying and singing at the same time. A nourishment of the soul. And his heroic life, a writer, an inventor, a pilot, dying so young in a flight. Every time I read his book, I just I have always loved Exupery's writing, from The Little Prince, to Wind, Sand and Stars, and now, Night Flight. Reading his poetic and lyrical prose is like being in a stream, gently flowing down in its pure and fresh water. The beauty of his writing is beyond my ability to describe, something similar to the feeling of flying and singing at the same time. A nourishment of the soul. And his heroic life, a writer, an inventor, a pilot, dying so young in a flight. Every time I read his book, I just wanna embrace the book in my hands with the admiration for a great man. Exupery là thần tượng của mình. Luôn yêu mến văn chương của ông, từ Hoàng Tử Bé, đến Xứ Con Người, và bây giờ, một câu chuyện nên thơ trong Bay Đêm. Những tác phẩm của ông đầy nên thơ và trữ tình, nhẹ nhàng tinh tế nhưng gợi lên những suy nghĩ sâu xa, luôn khiến ta thấy cuộc đời thật đẹp và có rất nhiều điều tốt lành. Không chỉ thích văn của Exupery, mà còn ngưỡng mộ cuộc đời ông, một con người luôn hành động, luôn tạo ra cái gì đó, những phát minh mới, những quyển sách, và một phi công với những cuộc dấn thân tiên phong thiết lập những đường bay mới mở đường cho sự phát triển của hàng không thương mại. Để rồi hy sinh trong khi đang làm nhiệm vụ trong một chuyến bay đưa thư. Một con người đáng quý. Một cuộc đời đáng sống.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela

    Well, I tried to read it, but could not finish it. The topic was not my cup of tea. Or rather the mood was not appropriate. I will try to read it again sometime in the future.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Hurley

    Kind of depressing, but profound and real.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Noah Goats

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a pilot when flying a plane was still a crazy dangerous thing to do. In this slim little novel he poetically captures that danger, along with the romance and beauty experienced by those pioneers of aviation.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Quiet

    Extremely small book that is rather infuriating as only at its end does the form really open up, the meat of the book come to be ready, and the heart of its characters show. This being caused by the novel's brevity, the skill of the translation, or the efforts of author Exupery, I do not know--- but it is not enjoyable. This is a very early novel about aviation. Following the mail routes in South America, which Exupery himself flew in the 20's, the story is the title; a 'Night Flight. Extremely small book that is rather infuriating as only at its end does the form really open up, the meat of the book come to be ready, and the heart of its characters show. This being caused by the novel's brevity, the skill of the translation, or the efforts of author Exupery, I do not know--- but it is not enjoyable. This is a very early novel about aviation. Following the mail routes in South America, which Exupery himself flew in the 20's, the story is the title; a 'Night Flight.' Why this is engaging is that, in the 20's, airplanes were extremely limited in comparison to today, and, particular to this story, is that their limitations were at their highest in regards flying at night, which was essentially blind flying and peeking for moonlight portraits of the land ahead. But Night Flight doesn't really get going. This is such a small book, and its size is not used intelligently. Largely the novel is divided between two characters, Fabien the pilot, and Riviere the air-traffic boss. While they don't contest each other, ultimately they are the sole characters of importance. Riviere begins to doubt his sending Fabien out on a night flight (into storms, no less), and Fabien must wrestle with his craft or die. But! these things are barely touched. Not until the very end does Exupery really provide intimate details of airplanes or the science of flying (and this only little), nor does the character Riviere undergo any significant change until the last, last pages when the result of the novel is (mostly) clear. Just not enjoyable until the end, and there's not enough of that to really justify it. If you're looking for a good novel, or a good book on early aviation, then this will be a disappointment. EDIT: This book has been bothering me all night; kept re-reading passages, looking for something that would alight it some. For whatever reason I just wanted, from the moment I started this book, to really love this story--- The novel remains weak, but I did just go ahead and watch the 1933 film version of this book; infinitely superior, and does the story far more justice, creating both a more consistent narrative as well as a far more passionate display of not only flight, but character as well. The book remains rather poor, but if you're looking to enjoy some early aviation narrative, the film version of 'Night Flight' is the place to be.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter Colclasure

    Readers looking for some sort of analogue to The Little Prince will be sorely disappointed. Night Flight is a very short novel about the air mail service in South America in 1932. On this particular night, one plane gets lost in a storm and crashes, and the Buenos Aires station chief waxes philosophical about Duty vs. Love and Happiness. This book is only 87 pages (with 14 point font), but still felt ponderous and melodramatic to me. Describing the patchy radio transmissions from a lost plane: "Under t Readers looking for some sort of analogue to The Little Prince will be sorely disappointed. Night Flight is a very short novel about the air mail service in South America in 1932. On this particular night, one plane gets lost in a storm and crashes, and the Buenos Aires station chief waxes philosophical about Duty vs. Love and Happiness. This book is only 87 pages (with 14 point font), but still felt ponderous and melodramatic to me. Describing the patchy radio transmissions from a lost plane: "Under the leaden weight of the sky the golden music of the waves was tarnished. Lament in the minor of a plane sped arrowwise against the blinding barriers of darkness, no sadder sound than this!" Apparently the book is much better in the original French, and the English translation I read is considered shoddy. The book did make me realize how much I take for granted the ability of airline pilots to land in a rainstorm or thick fog. Modern technology makes this miracle routine. Here's a quote I like: "We do not pray for immortality, but only not to see our acts and all things stripped suddenly of all their meaning; for then it is the utter emptiness of everything reveals itself."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    Saint Exupery is great when he's describing what it's like to fly an airplane. The administrative scenes don't work as well. The central character Riviere is in charge of an experimental night airmail service in South America, but his feet never leave the ground. He does nicely characterize his "enemy", the wife of one of his pilots, who represents the world of "human happiness", "a self-coherent world...where a lamp shines at nightfall on the table...sheets turned back on the bed, the coffee on Saint Exupery is great when he's describing what it's like to fly an airplane. The administrative scenes don't work as well. The central character Riviere is in charge of an experimental night airmail service in South America, but his feet never leave the ground. He does nicely characterize his "enemy", the wife of one of his pilots, who represents the world of "human happiness", "a self-coherent world...where a lamp shines at nightfall on the table...sheets turned back on the bed, the coffee on the table, a vase of flowers". I like that world. That world is always "at war" with the world of action, which Riviere represents. He thinks that the world of human happiness is less valuable than the world of action because the world of happiness is inevitably destroyed by old age and death, whereas the world of action creates things (like the Aztec pyramids or the feats of brave pilots) that have "a higher value than human life". I find that claim a little unconvincing, since the monuments to the world of action eventually succumb to forgetfulness and decay, even if it takes longer.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adam Dalva

    Interesting little book with some gorgeous paragraphs and thought. It is much better in the air than on the ground - the prevailing theme when not in flight is a question of what it is to be a leader, of permanent works vs. temporary compassion. That's all fine and good but it doesn't spark. What does, I think, is A.d.S.-E.'s description of nuances of flight: "A single radio post still heard him. The only link between him and the world was a wave of music, a minor modulation. Not a la Interesting little book with some gorgeous paragraphs and thought. It is much better in the air than on the ground - the prevailing theme when not in flight is a question of what it is to be a leader, of permanent works vs. temporary compassion. That's all fine and good but it doesn't spark. What does, I think, is A.d.S.-E.'s description of nuances of flight: "A single radio post still heard him. The only link between him and the world was a wave of music, a minor modulation. Not a lament, no cry, yet purest of sounds that ever spoke despair." and even better: "They think, these peasants, that their lamp shines only for that little table; but from fifty miles away, some one has felt the summons of their light, as though it were a desperate signal from some lonely island, flashed by shipwrecked men toward the sea." I wish there had been more like that, and I also would have liked a greater focus on logistics (1930's South American flying is interesting, after all). As is, it's a good sequence of snapshots and not much more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Ricker

    I find that reading books about plane crashes while physically in a plane really enhances the flying experience. I told my mother that and she thought I was being facetious, but I was just being honest. I read Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (author of The Little Prince) on the way to Michigan and Wind, Sand, and Stars by the same author on the way back, both of which include plane disasters. Both were exquisite, though not at all in the same way as The Little Prince, and both are about I find that reading books about plane crashes while physically in a plane really enhances the flying experience. I told my mother that and she thought I was being facetious, but I was just being honest. I read Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (author of The Little Prince) on the way to Michigan and Wind, Sand, and Stars by the same author on the way back, both of which include plane disasters. Both were exquisite, though not at all in the same way as The Little Prince, and both are about Saint-Exupery’s experiences as a pilot for the night-mails in South America and Africa during the 1920s and 1930s. Flying was still a perilous business then, and reading about the sort of men who chose that career was utterly fascinating. Perhaps there’s a bit of the philosopher in all pilots, or perhaps Antoine was just of a particularly thoughtful bent, but either way his musings on humanity and life and death were all very thought-provoking.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amerynth

    Antoine de Saint Exupery's "Night Flight" is the story of one night in the lives of the pilots and ground grew who flew the mail across the Andes from Patagonia, Chile and Paraguay to Argentina so it could be packed on another plane for Europe. The flights were fraught with danger as sudden storms, cyclones push the planes toward the craggy mountains below. The whole operation is overseen by Riviere, a no-nonsense boss whose primary concern is not the safety of the pilots, but the ability to get Antoine de Saint Exupery's "Night Flight" is the story of one night in the lives of the pilots and ground grew who flew the mail across the Andes from Patagonia, Chile and Paraguay to Argentina so it could be packed on another plane for Europe. The flights were fraught with danger as sudden storms, cyclones push the planes toward the craggy mountains below. The whole operation is overseen by Riviere, a no-nonsense boss whose primary concern is not the safety of the pilots, but the ability to get the mail in on time. I found this little book to be okay -- it was an interesting story and a very quick read. However, it really pales in comparison to Saint Exupery's incredible "Wind, Sand and Stars," which is one of the finest books about flying I've ever read, and a fantastic adventure novel besides. This story is just not as interesting unfortunately.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This is the author who wrote "The Little Prince". This book, about the pilots who flew mail planes in South American during the 1930's, is written in an older style, and I wondered how much the english translation compared to the original french. I understand there are two english translations; those would be fun to compare too. This translation, done by Andre Gide, contains beautiful language and wonderfully crafted scenes. The drama was a little over the top, but I got into it. Sort This is the author who wrote "The Little Prince". This book, about the pilots who flew mail planes in South American during the 1930's, is written in an older style, and I wondered how much the english translation compared to the original french. I understand there are two english translations; those would be fun to compare too. This translation, done by Andre Gide, contains beautiful language and wonderfully crafted scenes. The drama was a little over the top, but I got into it. Sort of like listening to a Noir detective show or Edward R. Murrow on the radio.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Milka

    St Exupery is a wonderful, poet-in-prose author, one of a kind. This book gives great insight on what it was like to work for the airline mail courier L’Aeropostale in the late 1920s, as St Exupery did himself, including flying at night to compete with mail services by ship and train. A very chilling tale about bravery and humanity. Beautiful descriptions of flying at night, with no surrounding lights of any kind.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darina

    Expected a quaint description of the lives of pilots and staff in a small airport. Got characters with depth, whether it be hidden violence or weakness. (view spoiler)[Why authors think that not knowing what happens with someone in the end is so edgy? (hide spoiler)]

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's works. Night flight about beginnings of commercil aviation is great as the author himself was a pilot.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    I dont know what it was about this book that I enjoyed so much! It was very very relaxing and simply beautiful. Perfect literature for a nice warm summer evening to calm down! It's really short so everybody should at least give it a try!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barbm1020

    This book is by a French author, who was a mail pilot in South America before WWII. Aviation was extremely risky in the mountains, and this tale of flying in the stormy dark seems to symbolize the blindness imposed on the boss and the pilots by their pride and ambition.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Caviglia

    Memorial stars, as I clean out a bookshelf. Aviation as poetry and adventure in the early days of flight, when one did not simply step into a roaring, elongated, plastic room to go somewhere far away.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wafaa

    The story itself isn't really intressting, but the author's literary style is so damn amazing that you have to stop in every conversaton, every sentence, every word.. reread it and think about it. it's like poetry.. I love it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    This book is poetry. I read it regularly. Fabien's fate is heart-rending.

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