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This is an unusual book. The Grasshoppers Come is fiction: Rabbit in the Air in non-fiction. They are however united by the subject of flying.
Of The Grasshoppers Come, T. E. Lawrence wrote to David Garnett, ‘The Grasshoppers is however imperative need for a letter. In it you have suddenly broken, I think, into sincerity. The flying is real. For the first time, in all that you have written, I feel a necessity of utterance, a fusion of matter and manner so complete that the manner is almost absorbed. . . It is the first account of real flying by a real writer who can really fly: and it gave me a very great sense of long distance, and of the incommunicable cradle-dandling which is a cockpit in flight.’
T. E. Lawrence was right, David Garnett could fly and A Rabbit in the Air is worked up from ‘notes from a diary kept while learning to handle an aeroplane.’ Of this book it has been nicely said, ‘a book through whose pages the wind blows.’
Although David Garnett’s aim appears to be modest, to describe the two years he spent learning to fly Bluebirds and Moths, this is a classic of aviation literature, almost inviting comparison with Saint-Exupery.
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