Emanuela ~plastic duck~'s Reviews > Skybound

Skybound by Aleksandr Voinov
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's review
Jul 03, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, rainbow-gay, glbt, historical, romance
Read on August 19, 2012 , read count: 4

Sometimes the stars align and you get both perfection and a personal experience you won't forget ever. I was in the lucky position of downloading this book while I was in Berlin for a vacation and I read it almost everyday in the week I was there.

It's impossible not to in awe of this amazing city which was able to re-invent and re-build itself a couple of times, of its incredible architecture. It's also impossible not too see testimony of the destruction of WWII, because all sites present you with pictures of before/after and you can still see the signs of the shots into the façades of many buildings.

It was with a sort of reverence and torn-up conscience that I thought of Baldur Vogt's hopeless and useless fighting and defense of Berlin, of those last acts of commitment to his own people by a soldier on the wrong part of history.

It was moving to read the story of these two men, Felix and Baldur, doing what they feel is still their duty, but not because of ideology, but because they're trying to keep someone or something they love alive. Felix, the mechanic, a Black Man of the ground crew, lives for Baldur Vogt, he mends and takes care of his flying machine as if it was a living thing, because it carries the man he's fallen in love with. Leutnant Vogt is first of all a pilot, with a mix of bravado and real courage, and it seems that the approaching end of the war, of his world, brings him to look for a last connection, for the last reason to come back and then to go fight again.

The story is terse, poetic, heartbreaking, intense. It's told in the first-person, present tense point-of-view of Felix. His job leaves him with dirty hands and on the ground, but Felix has a soaring heart, an adventurous soul whose wings he hasn't been able to spread. He has the voice of a dreamer, caught in a labyrinth of ugly impossibilities: Being a pilot, hoping for a future, loving the man he desires. Felix is not bitter, he's quietly resigned. When we meet him, he's living in the moment and refusing to think a few hours ahead of what's happening in the now. Leutnant Vogt seems unattainable, they're apart because one belongs to the heroic flying crew, the other to an ordinary ground crew; they also have different backgrounds because Felix's origins seem humble, while Baldur comes from money. The one thing they have in common - men loving men - sets them apart from their peers and brings them close.

But Vogt says to the smitten Felix

"I did notice your face under the oil."

and the impossibility is shredded, destroyed and among rubble, oil, defeat, destruction, they become lovers. I liked that sentence, it's the surprising discovery of a treasure in a dirt lot, the vein of gold in the rocks. It gives to the one man in the crowd his dignity, his human dimension and it still calls to a part of our soul that is impossible to suppress, not even during disastrous times.

I think short stories are underrated, because I dare anyone to pack so much in less than 50 pages. Apart from the precious story of the protagonists, there's an amount of research which is astounding and you can feel history as a live background, not as a list of details that show off a bunch of notes.

Do you want to read something else, something highly literary and precious? Something that plays the keys of your emotions? Read this.

My silly fan-girl moment:

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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by Aleksandr (new) - added it

Aleksandr Voinov Oh! Is that an Afrika Korp Messerschmitt????

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Manu you were so lucky to get to read this in Berlin. I can't imagine how cool it must have been to walk around and be able to immerse yourself in Felix and Baldur's world. Lucky!

So. How many times did you read it?

message 3: by Emanuela ~plastic duck~ (last edited Sep 07, 2012 09:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ I went to the Luftwaffenmuseum as you suggested and here's a set of photos and a few videos. Sorry for the bad quality, the light was awful in there :D


Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Here's a set of miscellanous pics I took inspired by the book


Emanuela ~plastic duck~ And here's an interesting wreck of the Messerschmitt 108


Emanuela ~plastic duck~ I wanted to take a picture inside the cockpit, but they wouldn't let me :(

message 7: by Aleksandr (new) - added it

Aleksandr Voinov Thanks for the photos! I was agonizing - AGONIZING - over the seat shape - never sure if it's even feasible to pull a bullet out of there. Whew. (And yes, it's Afrika Korp)

Snowtulip So great! I'm going to Berlin in December, so I will definately visit.

May have to give reading a try while I'm there like you did!

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Kate wrote: "So. How many times did you read it?"

Four. If it weren't for the stupid travel guides I had to read to know where I was going the next day!!!! :D

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Snowtulip wrote: "So great! I'm going to Berlin in December, so I will definately visit.

May have to give reading a try while I'm there like you did!"


Do not stop at the Seecorso bus-stop, stop at the Kurpromenade. I saw the people stopping at the Seecorso arriving after us. You have to walk a bit to get there from the bus-stop, so if you go in the winter, I suggest you drive :)

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Aleksandr wrote: "Thanks for the photos! I was agonizing - AGONIZING - over the seat shape - never sure if it's even feasible to pull a bullet out of there. Whew. (And yes, it's Afrika Korp)"

It was a very interesting visit. I liked the part of the pre-1945 exhibition much more than the modern sections. The uniforms were also cool.

Johanna Great review, Manu! And I loved your fan-girl moment picture(s)!!! :)

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Thanks! A lot of my travelling is book-inspired. I felt so lucky to be there at the right moment!!!

Snowtulip If only we could take a holiday to the setting of Incursion :D

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ When you find the way, let me know, I'll follow :D

Lisa Arbitrary - AttentionIsArbitrary M/M Blog Beautiful review Manu. I really enjoyed it, and the pics.

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Thank you! I should have taken them with my phone, the camera is a bit old :(

Christina Great pics Emanuela! Talk about immersing yourself in the book. That must have a fun.

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Yes, a lot! On one hand I went looking for something different, on the other hand I began to look at things with different eyes.

julio nice review, and wonderful pics, ducky. thanks for sharing them.

Emanuela ~plastic duck~ Thank you and thanks to Aleks for sending me to the right place :)

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