Review: Visible Empire

Visible Empire

Visible Empire
By Hannah Pittard
Houghton Mifflin, 9780544748064, June 2018, 288pp.

The Short of It:

A plane crash leaves in its wake a host of people struggling to make sense of the tragedy.

The Rest of It:

Visible Empire is a novel based on true events. In 1962 an Air France flight carrying Atlanta’s elite, crashed shortly after takeoff and left an entire community struggling to process the loss of so many well-known people from the art world. The book opens with the crash itself. The reader is briefly introduced to some of the passengers before the plane plunges back to the runway only to become a horribly burned and twisted mass of steel.

And then, the story really starts.

Everyone left behind has a story of course. A man’s mistress was killed on the plane while his wife at home is about to deliver their first child. A young man, denied admission to an integrated school finds himself driving two white men, in the middle of the night when racial tension is so high. Others, just keep repeating the events of the day never really to come to any conclusion or peace as to what has happened to their community.

Visible Empire started off strong but then petered out about half way through. These characters did not interest me enough for me to want to know more about them, or to care what happened to them once the initial shock of the crash wore off. I think for me, the lack of empathy on my end greatly affected my overall impression of the book.

Have you read it? If so, what did you think of it?

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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14 thoughts on “Review: Visible Empire”

  1. I just featured this and hope to start it by the weekend. Sorry it wasn’t more interesting. The saving grace if it does not work out, is that it’s not too long.

  2. I’ve heard some mixed stuff about this one, but I think I’d try it anyway. Will keep your thoughts in mind. Some have liked it a lot and actually, I’m listening to books right now that I never thought I’d read. Think these days I just have to try a book and then move on if it doesn’t work. I suspect that whole crash thing would be interesting.

  3. I really wanted to like this one because I love historical fiction, but somehow I just never could quite get into it- I didn’t really care about any of the characters and I have so many other things to read that I ended up skimming until the end.

  4. I really REALLY liked this author’s debut novel, even though it was about a dead/missing girl, which is not my favorite trope. And then when I’ve tried to read her follow-ups, I’ve been generally unimpressed. It seems like she often writes HALF of a good book, and then it fails to hold my interest through the end!

    1. Yeah, I’ve read some crash books too and after the initial crash the story does tend to falter a little bit. At least with the books I’ve read. Some of the individual story lines held my interest but then the author kind of strayed away from them.

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