The Book of Flying
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The Book of Flying

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  911 ratings  ·  172 reviews
In Keith Miller'sdebut novel, our hero isPico,a poet and librarian who isand forbidden to pursue the girl of his dreams -for she has wings, and Pico does not. When he discovers an ancient letter in his library telling of the mythical Morning Town where the flightless may gain their wings, he sets off on a quest. It's a magical journey and coming-of-age storyin which he mee...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Riverhead Trade (first published 2004)
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I had trouble getting through this book. The plot presented on the back cover was fascinating, but how it was delivered failed to catch my interest at all. Instead of the "going on a quest" story line I was expecting, the book was a meandering collection of little stories that only felt connected through having the same character in them. A character that I didn't feel connected to in the slightest, and I'm good at connecting to characters, the more diverse the better.

I tried getting past this...more
Jul 11, 2008 Hallie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kelley
Recommended to Hallie by: Rachel
I wanted to really love this book, but the writing style bothered me a bit. There was so much alliteration it was distracting. Even so, I really liked the story. Or rather stories - it was more like a collection of short stories set within the framework of the character's quest. They have a lovely fantastical quality to them - some fantasy books draw you into the world so thoroughly that you feel like it's normal; this one keeps a sort of alien quality about it, which I like. The general aura of...more
Dec 07, 2007 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who loves books, journeys, food, coffee, and imaginative books
This is my new favorite book. I simply can't think of any book that compares to it. Strangely, I found a hard back version of the book for $1 at the local dollar store which is not a place you normally think you're going to find the book that you fall in love with.

The Book of Flying is an adult fairy tale about Pico, the only librarian in a city by the sea. Pico's parents both had wings, but he was born wingless. Unfortunately, he falls in love with a winged woman who tells him that she can't l...more
Sep 17, 2010 Angie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Angie by: Heidi
It makes me sad that Miller is apparently such an unknown author when so much cruddier stuff like what Nicholas Sparks or Dan Brown or Stephenie Meyer throw out there is on best seller lists. This is really a brilliant little book. I was impressed from the first paragraph (which I immediately made Dan read). It's reminiscent of Marquez and the like---the strange dream-like quality, the characters whose emotions and actions don't quite seem human---too large or too small, but still reflective of...more
The story has a dream-like quality, contributed by the use of the present tense in the narrative. This meshes well with the fairy tale nature of the story as well, with flying girls, a talking rabbit, a minotaur, a robber queen, and an immortal cannibal. But for all of the beautiful language through word choice and consonance, it isn't an enjoyable story. Perhaps it was written after a terrible breakup, because every single character hurts and is hurt, terminally in most cases, by the object of...more
An aimless amalgam of alliteration obscures the storyline, as the artist's brush masks the pristine canvas with layers of azure, ochre, vermilion and lime, and creates a showcase for literary device, caging the budding narrative in a wash of winsome words.

As I read this novel, I was captivated by the first few paragraphs, but then annoyed by Miller's overuse of poetic devices. By mid-novel, he seemed to catch his stride and start developing his story, but even then over filled the pages with bo...more
I'm only a little more than halfway through this book but just wanted to say it's one of the best books I've read in a long time. This epic fairy tale is the perfect bedtime reading, full of beautiful, magical places and characters. Little Pico the poet/librarian is on a quest to find a town he's heard of where he can read the Book of Flying and get his wings so he can return home and be with his dream girl who, like his parents, was born with wings. In his travels he meets a band of thieves, a...more
Aug 04, 2008 Kaitie. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves the strange and fascinating.
Simply the best book I have ever read. I found it several years ago in a little discount book store on the Jersey Shore, only a few dollars for a hard-back copy. Like almost everyone else, I picked it up for the cover and title alone, and was surprised to find probably the most amazingly written and unique piece of literature I've ever come across. I took it with me to Europe the week after I left New Jersey and spent probably more time reading it than looking at the beautiful Italian cities and...more
Miller’s use of alliteration and simile carried me along on a surprising melody in prose that reads like poetry. After reading a few paragraphs I became aware of the rhythm, but soon sunk back into the story He wastes no time in epic background stories; instead it only takes a few sentences to impart the story of Pico’s life to date and to appreciate his yearnings. So after only a few chapters I was off on a quest and an unparalleled adventure.

This is a coming of age fairytale for adults not chi...more
Reading this book was like eating candy. The plot line was on the traditional side, but the story was written so well! Imagine very readable poetry that doesn't have all the line breaks. Well, there you go. That's this book. Complete with that feeling you get while reading poetry. Makes you want to smoke cigarettes and fall in love, hard.
The premise of the book was really interesting and I actually found the book from Goodreads. The book is written in a Shakespearian manner and thus in some cases it is hard to follow. The poems and stories are wonderful and the whole book can be described as elegant.

Sadly so the main character is detestable and plain dumb. The problem is that we don't know his age (among other things) - only that he's a librarian. Also, he has read all the books in the library and is a poet, but is utterly naive...more
Chris Youngblood
This is a strange book that I've found difficult to categorize. It's almost like a faerie tale the way faerie tales should be told - not everything turns out right; the prince doesn't always wake the princess from her eternal sleep, and the wicked witch doesn't always meet her justifiable end. People die in this book, and there is a lot of sex that is as far from the sanitized Disney-esque romance crap as one can get without actually becoming blatantly pornographic. The hero does things that cla...more
Aug 08, 2008 Garnette rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ER
Just came back from the Woodstock Library Book Group, of nine women, five were amazed, four admitted Anita Bookner as their favorite author and hated, strongly despised The Book. The two professional authors, that's me and an University professor, were swept away by the concept, the symbology, the magic realism, the metaphors, the STORY! and Master Rabbit. The only Fantasy reader felt it needed a good editing - if Riverhead Press cannot edit, I ask you who can? I am going to buy this book, and o...more
Robert Fischer
I am not normally one for fiction, but this book came very highly recommended to me from someone whose tastes run similar to mine. I am glad I took the recommendation: this book is excellent.

The book is a kind of adult fairy tale -- and not "young adult", seriously adult. It is a style akin to some of Gaiman's more adult pieces, although even more fanciful in style. The narrative style is like a campfire remembrance or a wandering train of thought, very different from the more traditional narrat...more
Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
Meet Pico, a librarian in a magical world of winged men and humans:

"He is pale from days indoors, thin from forgetting to eat. He cares fastidiously for the library no one comes to, sweeping and mopping the floor, dusting the books with ostrich plumes, watering the irises that grow beside the door. He is vigilant against mice, silverfish, wary of fire. And he loves to read. He loves the whisper of the pages and the way his fingertips catch on rough paper, the pour of the words up from the leave...more
Michael Lawrence
Okay, so I won't write too many reviews... I like to read from so many different subjects and know that what I like might not be for anyone else. Books to me come in different weights, there really is no better description that I can use. Loved Harry Potter, very imaginative and kept me turning the pages. Liked Stephen King's the Stand as well, however this book caught me by suprise.

To sum up this book in one word... insidious. It's such a dense read and yet so wildly imaginative you'd feel like...more
Forget the plot, the writing in this book is taking a long, warm bath. Rich prose and lovely world building - a strange little treat of a book.

Quote-able passage...

"His name is Pico. He is pale from days indoors, thin from forgetting to eat. He cares fastidiously for the library no one comes to, sweeping and mopping the floor, dusting the books with ostrich plumes, watering the irises that grow beside the door. He is vigilant against mice, silverfish, wary of fire. And he loves to...more
I think people love this book because the author's prose can be quite lovely, even transcendent. Yet Miller demonstrates several of my pet peeves: prose that gets quite purple at times (the alliteration can go especially overboard), the stock characters of the whores with hearts of gold (quite a few of them--about half the book's main characters), the journey made out of love for a character we never know (it doesn't get more tedious), and the faux-profundity achieved by killing off almost every...more
This has become my all time favorite book; like Alice in Wonderland for adults. The story can be surface or very deep, depending on your choice and mood for interpretations. The writing style is nothing short of exquisite, and the use of words is nothing short of truly artistic; it felt like I was in a dream, and not reading. The characters and setting are extremely memorable; definitely recommended to anyone who is looking for a spiritual journey or just amusement.
In spite of the size of the book, the imagery and beauty of the writing is breathtaking. I have been an avid reader since I was a child and I would still rate this as one of my top 15 books. The story is a darker version of Keith Miller's vision of a fairy tale, but written in the darker tone akin to the original Brothers Grimm, before we had to dumb down and Disney-fie fairy tales for our children. This book is a must-read.
Kira Yeversky
I loved that the prose is so much like poetry. But be warned, it is a heartbreaking read. It is beautifully written, but so sad.

The story follows Pico, a lonely librarian and poet who pines after a winged girl in his city by the sea. To try to gain wings for himself, he sets of on a journey that takes him through strange places and brings him into contact with a wide spectrum of characters. The stages of Pico's journey are more like a series of short stories - his path intersects with that of o...more
It's like The Neverending Story meets Neverwhere. It's creepy and eloquent. Pico's the new Odysseus.
What an amazing adult fairly tale. Each chapter is it's own little story as we follow Pico on this journey to get wings so he can be with the winged-woman he loves so much. A bit philosophical and bittersweet. I'm giving this one as a gift to someone special this year. A must-read for all the dreamers among us.
Artem Huletski
Похоже на "Бесконечную историю". Правда, меня смутили некоторые эпизоды, которых в сказке быть не должно. Что бы сказал дедушка Фрейд об этой "Книге полётов"? ;) С другой стороны, концовка интересна, ведь само путешествие - и есть цель.
I picked this book up on a whim and completely devoured it. The Book of Flying made my brain tingle in ways it hasn't since playing all those King's Quest games growing up.
I didn't finish this book. I got through the chapter about the dream seller and I just stopped. I am still giving it two stars because it was okay. I picked it up because it was about a lover of books and a librarian and he wants to learn to fly. That just seemed to be a perfect plot intro but I was disappointed.

The plot followed a very classic fantasy pattern of go on a journey, meet someone, do something, move on with your journey. The parts are not really connected and I wasn't impressed wit...more
The amazingly beautiful story of a lad born wingless to winged parents. He falls in love with a winged girl and sets off on a quest to find the legendary Book of Flying in order to gain wings. Along the way, he meets interesting characters and faces danger.
The writing is lovely and elegant, the characters fully realized, flawed and genuine, the quest and lessons are fascinating. It brings to mind classic quest novels, and would almost be like a children's book, except for all the sex and murder...more
I've become a fan of characters going on quests/travels and meeting people along the way.

The Book of Flying reminded me of the series The Unexpected Dragon. Main character sets out on a quest, and meets a host of companions that have a great impact on their life. Full of bittersweet memories and experiences, all of which shape the main character.

Pico is no exception. He sets out from his home in the city by the sea a pale, frail, young man and throughout his journey to find the morning town mee...more
This is one of my top five favorite books of all time. Oh, I love this book.

I first found it in a library where I picked it up for the title alone, then proceeded to reread it five times over the course of the next year and a half. I didn’t buy myself a copy until a dear friend of mine gave me a spending spree in a remainder bookstore (frankly, one of the best Christmas presents in the history of the world ever. Forty bucks travels an obscenely long way at a remainder bookstore, particularly whe...more
Linear map of ascension. Next levels attained through the realization that perspective of viewing a destination--though often the instigator for attaining the first in the series of levels--changes once it is achieved through a progression that finds more importance in the process of taking every experience from each step of the way than in the basic act of arriving at the destination itself (the act seen here as the only reason the steps to it were taken at all).

When the events of the process...more
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Keith Miller (born 1969) is an American author who has written The Book of Flying and The Book on Fire. Visit his website at and his blog at
More about Keith Miller...
The Book on Fire Illuminations

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“Stories are life," protested Pico. "Without them, books would be only paper and ink, with them they breathe, the reader is drawn in, the stories become him.” 21 likes
“And he loves to read. He loves the whisper of the pages and the way his fingertips catch on rough paper, the pour of the words up from the leaves, through soft light, into his eyes, the mute voice in his ears.” 16 likes
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