This was a very difficult book for me. I had wanted to like it, and it sat looking at me for years waiting for the perfect time to read it. Finally I started and was confused by much of this book, and after around the first 100 pages it dawned upon me that I was reading an updated version of Jules Verne novels. There is no doubt that there are some fun episodes and escapades that are recounted in this book, but on the whole the book is a ponderous read for someone who is not into steampunk and science fiction writing. At over 1100 pages it is definitely too long and my copy of the book was in a tiny font size which made it very difficult to read.
This is a book about the adventures of a group of hot air balloonists that takes place over the course of many years and takes them to many different locations, some of my favorite being Chicago and Iceland. The tales are fanciful and imaginative but it’s too much. As I said this reminds me so much of Jules Verne’s works, specifically his first book “Five Weeks in a Balloon”, as well as his other novels. The beauty about Verne is he rarely left his home in France and all these travels were in his imagination. This is exactly what we have with this book. I know there are some who believe this is a wonderful book, I’m glad that I took the time to read it, but I think that I will prefer some of Pynchon’s other books, specifically Mason and Dixon which has a more historical fiction feel to it.
I give this a low rating because I just did not click with this book, and if you don’t have that feeling about a book it’s hard to give it a good rating. Again, I found the book of challenge and will think many people will find this book a challenge. But during the winter, when you have long nights and you want to go on some incredible journeys you could either take this book, or maybe go back to those books written by Jules Verne and have wonderful flights of fancy.