A somber, reflective figure gazing out of an airplane window at a stormy sky. Outside the window, dark clouds, lightning, and heavy rain create a tense and dramatic atmosphere. The interior of the plane is dimly lit, highlighting the figure's thoughtful and introspective expression, capturing the inner turmoil of the protagonist.

Navigating the Skies of Obsession: A Review of ‘Plane Simple’ by Andrew G. Gibson

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“Plane Simple” is a riveting exploration of a complex psychological landscape, articulated through the lens of a character grappling with the traumatic legacy of their father’s fatal air crash. The story delves deeply into themes of obsession, denial, and the quest for understanding, making it both a compelling and thought-provoking read.

From the outset, the narrator’s dark humor sets a tone that is both disarming and intriguing. The opening line, “I’d like to die in my sleep like my father not screaming in terror like his passengers,” is a jarring juxtaposition that immediately captivates the reader’s attention. This blend of morbid curiosity and dry wit is maintained throughout the narrative, providing a unique voice that is both unsettling and engaging.

The protagonist’s fixation on the air disaster that claimed their father’s life is meticulously detailed. Their obsession is not merely a passive reflection but an active pursuit of understanding, as evidenced by their possession of the Aviation accident report and their frequent visits to bookstores in search of validation for their theories. This relentless quest for answers is both a coping mechanism and a form of self-punishment, highlighting the depth of their psychological turmoil.

One of the story’s strengths is its ability to seamlessly weave factual elements of aviation with the protagonist’s personal narrative. The discussions about the theory of flight, particularly the skepticism towards Bernoulli’s theorem, add a layer of intellectual engagement that complements the emotional depth of the story. These technical details are not merely expository but serve to underscore the protagonist’s growing paranoia and sense of disconnection from accepted reality.

The character’s interactions with others, such as the sales assistant at Waterstones, are laced with an undercurrent of desperation and manipulation. These encounters reveal the protagonist’s need for external validation and their willingness to distort the truth to achieve it. The lie about writing a thesis on flight theory transforms their image from a “harmless madwoman” to an “eccentric academic,” demonstrating their acute awareness of societal perceptions and their manipulation of them.

As the narrative progresses, the protagonist’s internal monologue becomes increasingly erratic and fragmented, mirroring their descent into obsession. The vivid descriptions of potential air disasters, the imagined scenarios of crashes, and the palpable fear of flying encapsulate their inner chaos. The tension between the rational and the irrational is a persistent theme, culminating in the protagonist’s epiphany that planes fly not by the laws of physics but by a collective belief in their ability to do so.

The story’s climax, where the protagonist realizes they are “flying the plane” through sheer force of will and visualization, is a powerful metaphor for their struggle for control. This moment of perceived mastery over fate is both empowering and terrifying, reflecting the protagonist’s fragile grasp on reality.

“Plane Simple” is a masterful portrayal of a mind unraveling under the weight of unresolved trauma. The narrative’s blend of technical detail, dark humor, and psychological insight creates a richly textured story that lingers long after the final page. It is a poignant reminder of the human need for understanding and the lengths to which we will go to reconcile the inexplicable.

Enjoyed the review? Dive into the full narrative of “Plane Simple” on Medium and experience the captivating psychological journey firsthand. Click the link below to read the complete short story and immerse yourself in a tale of obsession, trauma, and the mysteries of flight. Don’t miss out on this compelling read!

Read Plane Simple on Medium