Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder
Author: Travis Nichols
Publisher: Coffee House Press (2010)
Titled after the US Air Force song, this engaging debut explores the legacy of the Greatest Generation from the perspective of Generation Y, the fallout of war through the eyes of a pacifist, and the enduring human desire for love, adventure, truth, and understanding.
Pensive in the wake of 9/11, a young man—our “correspondent between the past and the present”—launches a mission to reunite his beloved grandfather, an American bombardier, with Luddie, the woman who saved him during WWII. Armed only with the address on the back of an old photograph and his grandfather’s memories, the young man begins writing letters to Luddie.
Undaunted by her lack of response, the narrator travels to Poland with his girlfriend and grandfather. As they come closer to finding the site where the bombardier was shot down, the letters to Luddie become more personal and the saga of a family with a long and storied history emerges.
Beautifully orchestrated and eloquently original, each sentence slowly builds upon the next in a charming style both poetic and engrossing. A tale of soldiers and saviors, of burning and bombing, of fathers and sons and brothers and lovers, this is also the story of what we find when we dare to revisit the past.