The Four Corners Of The Sky

Published August 21, 2011 by myliteraryleanings

The Four Corners Of The Sky by Michael Malone

Overview from www.bn.com (note I did not include the whole overview due to length):

In small towns between the North Carolina Piedmont and the coast the best scenery is often in the sky. On flat sweeps of red clay and scrub pine the days move monotonously, safely, but above, in the blink of an eye, dangerous clouds can boil out of all four corners of the sky…The flat slow land starts to shiver and anything can happen. In such a storm, on Annie Peregrine’s seventh birthday, her father gave her the airplane and minutes later drove out of her life.

Twenty years is a long time to be without a father, and, for Navy pilot Annie Peregrine-Goode, the sky has become a home the earth has never been. So when her father calls out of the blue to ask for a dying wish—one both absurd and mysterious—no is the easiest of answers. Until she hears that the reward is the one thing she always wanted …

Thus begins an enchanting novel that bursts with energy from the first pages, and sweeps you off on a journey of unforgettable characters, hilarious encounters, and haunting secrets.

My Review:

When the story opens, Annie is living a life which is constantly on the move.  Her father, as she later learns, is a con artist who must stay one step ahead of the law and the dangerous people who are pursuing him.  One night, deciding that this is no life for his little girl, he leaves her off at the family homestead where his sister currently lives with a childhood friend.

As a seven-year-old Annie understands none of this.  She only knows that she has been abandoned by her father who tells he is leaving her a plane, which his sister Sam keeps in the barn, and will come back for her “soon.”

“Sam helped her unpack her clue suitcase; it was filled with her clothes, including her favorite dress and her white jacket with gold buttons.  Tucked beneath the clothes was $12,000 in hundred-dollar bills, around which was wrapped, with a rubber band, a birth certificate from a hospital in Key West, stating that Anne Samantha Peregrine had been born there on the Fourth of July at 8:42 p.m., that she’d weighed 6 lbs., 3 oz., that Jack Peregrine was her father and Claudette Colbert was her mother.” p. 34

As time passes Annie starts to accept the fact that she might never know who her real mother was- even her Aunt Sam says that she doesn’t know- and that her father has abandoned her.  She is adopted by Sam and her friend Clark, who she comes to accept as her parents.  When her father comes back for a brief visit, she won’t even speak to him.  She no longer trusts anything he says since his stories are totally unbelievable.  Clark is the one she goes to for a father as he one of the few steady, reliable figures in her life and she loves him for it.

She does however learn to fly the plane her father leaves her and vows to become a pilot for the Navy.  She eventually achieves all of her goals with the help and support of those who love her including the foul-mouthed D.K.- her flight instructor- and Georgette- her best friend.

On returning one day to Pilgrim’s rest-the family homestead- from her current home in Annapolis, MD; she receives word from Sam that a friend of her father’s has called and said that he is dying.  Although both she and her family and friends are unsure if they believe him, she finally decides that she must go and meet him to fulfill his dying wish on the off-chance that she might be able to blackmail him into telling her who her real mother is.  (She thought she didn’t care anymore but discovered that she was wrong.)

This takes her off on an adventure from North Carolina to Miami, from Key West to Cuba, all in the hopes of finding out who her mother is and how much of what her father told her about their past is true.  Along the journey she will find her true love, and discover how much faith she still has in her father as well as herself.

Overall, I did like this book.  It was another Free Friday offering from Barnes & Noble.  I had heard a lot of good things about it from other Nook owners who had already read it so I was really looking forward to reading it.  I must admit that the first part disappointed me.  It seemed like every other word was a profanity and nearly all of the characters seemed to be having a love affair with the F word in particular which is a word that I hate.  This kind of ruined that part for me.  I am not an expert on North Carolina but I have been there and I don’t remember hearing that word, when I was there, as often as I read it in this book.  Ironically the only character who didn’t use it a lot was Annie’s father, the con man.  His favorite expression seemed to be, “for the love of Mike,” which I thought was great.  I don’t know why, but I loved that.  I guess it made him more loveable for me.

That being said, the book did get better.  I got sucked into the mystery of who Jack was, who Annie’s real mother was, and whether or not he really had that artifact that the Cuban government was so eager to get ahold of.  I also thought that the character of Raffy was funny and I even liked the creepy ex husband a little bit.

In conclusion, I am recommending it but with some reservations.  Be aware that there is a lot of foul language, as I stated earlier, as well as some references to sexuality, both homo and heterosexual.  In my opinion though, it is still a good read.

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