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The Last Flight of Poxl West

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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  806 ratings  ·  153 reviews
A stunning novel from award-winning author Daniel Torday, in which a young man recounts his idolization of his Uncle Poxl, a Jewish, former-RAF pilot, exploring memory, fame and story-telling.

All his life, Elijah Goldstein has idolized his charismatic Uncle Poxl. Intensely magnetic, cultured and brilliant, Poxl takes Elijah under his wing, introducing him to opera and art
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by St. Martin's Press
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3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  806 ratings  ·  153 reviews


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Diane S ☔
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A Jewish teenager, Elijah, reveres the older man who is his Uncle Poxl. This man has time for him, takes him to museums, discusses art and literature with him and tells him stories of his life during the war. This is the bare bones of the story but this is a story within a story and telling more would ruin this book for future readers.

There is something so tender in the way this is written, the characters so likable. The art of storytelling, the interpretation of memory, experiences and regrets,
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Rebecca McNutt
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, fiction, war, ww2
The Last Flight of Poxl West is an excellent novel, exploring the ways in which history can easily be romanticized, even if there's an underlying darker truth beneath it. It's great WWII fiction but more than that, it's the story of love and how it can become misdirected.
Robin Black
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had the joy of reading this pre-publication and trust me, this is a book you want to read. More in a bit as I sort through what is and what isn't a spoiler, but for now just Hooray!!
Carlos Peguer
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Os pongo en situación: este libro es una novela que intercala dos historias. La primera, en una época un poco más moderna, nos cuenta la historia de Eli y la admiración que siente por su tío Poxl West, que recientemente ha publicado un libro superventas sobre su experiencia como piloto de la RAF durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Y como ya os imaginaréis, la otra línea argumental es el susodicho libro.

Casi al principio, poco después de la publicación del libro del tío Poxl, un estudiante univers
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switterbug (Betsey)
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Joan Jett once sang that “Everybody needs a hero,” which is certainly the truth for fifteen-year-old Eli Goldstein, who is searching for a touchstone to transcend his Jewish consciousness, in 1980s Boston. His hippie-ish rabbi in Hebrew school has tried to turn him on to the kabbalah, but Eli worships his surrogate Uncle Poxl, a flamboyant and charismatic scholar, and a bomber pilot in WW II. During museum, opera, and symphony outings, Poxl taught Eli to appreciate the finer nuances of art; over ...more
Esil
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to St Martin's Press and Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy of The Last Flight of Poxl West. It's a narrative within a narrative. Eli recounts the story of his relationship with his "uncle" Poxl, a family friend who wrote a memoir about his experience as a Jewish fighter pilot during WWII. Eli idolizes Poxl and his stories. Interspersed with Eli's narrative is Poxl's memoir of his time during the war and just after. I really liked Eli's narrative and parts of Poxl's m ...more
Barb
I was excited to read this novel. The story of a Jewish WWII RAF pilot who goes on to publish his memoirs more than forty years after the war, sounded interesting. Poxl West, born Leopold Weisberg, tells a story within a story, as we read his memoir as well as his nephew's narrative set in 1986 as Poxl's book is published.

I was eager to be taken back in time and learn about Poxl's experiences during the war but half way through I realized the past didn't come alive for me, I wasn't engaged by th
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Mark
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Because he last eighty pages or so of this novel are so good, I regretted that I didn't find the first 200 pages more compelling. I was never convinced that the mock memoir that lies at the heart of this novel (occupying 70-80% of the pages) could really have caused the stir among the reading public that occurs in the novel. However, as the novel comes to a close, we alternate more frequently between Poxl West's memoir which is centered around World War II, and the 1980's story of Poxl's nephew ...more
Sylvia Abrams
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
The last Flight if Poxl West is a troubling story. Told as a memoir within a novel, the plot revolves around the flawed hero, Leopoldo Weisberg,, aka Poxl West. The narrator of the novel is Elijah, Poxl's young nephew. I liked the sections in the voice of Eli. They rang true as the young boy who idolized his uncle matures into a man who realizes his uncle's flaws. Less successful, in my view, is the memoir. Why Poxl found Francoise to be his true love was not convincing at all. Her tawdry charac ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
This was fine, but a little underwhelming. Maybe just because I figured out where it was going about a third of the way through? I dunno. A longer review to come.
Wendy Cosin
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww-ii
The Last Flight of Poxl West alternates between two related stories - a World War II “memoir” and a story about a relationship between young Elijah Goldstein and his uncle Poxl. This structure breaks up the story nicely and provides needed perspective to the memoir sections, which make up most of the novel. In summary, The Last Flight of Poxl West is a good story and extremely well-written, with characters that experience deep emotions and complex moral issues.


Eli, a Jewish teenager in Boston, w
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Patti
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Eli is a teenager who adores his uncle, Poxl West, who is not really a relative but is more of a grandfather figure to Eli. When Poxl writes a memoir of his experiences during WWII, Eli is miffed that he never receives his signed copy, but still he reads the book several times and uses it as a basis for school assignments. This novel contains the entire text of Poxl’s memoir, and this book-within-a-book is the real meat of this novel. Poxl, a Jew, flees Czechoslovakia for the Netherlands as a yo ...more
Oswego Public Library District
This debut novel by David Torday employs a story-within-a-story plot device to dramatic effect. Beginning with the narration of Elijah Goldstein, a fifteen-year-old student, it recounts his relationship with his uncle Leopold Weisberg, known as Poxl West. Poxl introduces him to cultural life around Boston --opera, symphony, literature and art. As Elijah learns more about Poxl’s early life and exploits during World War II, his feelings progress from love and admiration to hero worship. He also de ...more
Tina
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! It begins in the perspective of a 15-year-old Jewish teenager, Elijah Goldstein, growing up in Boston in the '80s, who idolizes his Uncle Poxl, a Czech Jew who was an RAF pilot in WWII. The novel then switches to Poxl's recently released war memoir and moves back and forth between the viewpoints as it goes on. I loved the interplay of the two very distinct voices of Eli and Poxl, with both of them strong enough to engage you equally. At first, I thought I wouldn't like ...more
Christopher Roblodowski
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I would like to thank Bookbrowse for this beautiful book. The focus of the story is a novel written by the protagonist's uncle, Poxl West. The fact that Poxl West is not his real uncle is revealed in the very first paragraph. It is in some ways a foreshadowing of things to come in Daniel Torday's brilliant examination of the memoir novel. The novel alternates between chapters narrating what is happening with the characters in the story, and chapters of Poxl’s memoir. This approach really worked ...more
Hella Comat
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Yes, the main reason I was interested in this book was because it had an airplane on the cover.... It's two stories told simultaneously. One is about a young Jewish boy who is taken under the wing of his uncle, who he adores. The other story is the text of a book the uncle wrote of his coming of age during WWII. The facts about living in London during the invasion of Britain were horrific - people living in subways and caves and the huge amount of destruction. Of course it was the same in German ...more
Alana Cheshire
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
***Received through a Goodreads Giveaway***

An extraordinary novel that explores glory, redemption, and our omnipresent need as humans to tell the stories we tell. This is a war story that isn't predominately about war; rather, the fighting is the backdrop of Poxl's story, not the thesis of it. The result is an intriguing narrative that is unafraid to stray from our typically black-and-white hindsight impressions of WWII, and makes a compelling distinction between what is true and what is honest.
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Bela Darcy
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reseña completa aquí: http://leerenlaluna.blogspot.com.es/2...

Lo tiene todo: amor, guerra, venganza, inspiración. El autor escribe de maravilla y utiliza referencias que demuestran su cultura.
Son dos tramas que están enlazadas entre sí y se van combinando a lo largo del libro.
Lo recomiendo abiertamente.
Freda Witt
Jan 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
I only gave it a one star because it doesn't have a no star. This was supposed to be heartwarming? This is nothing heartwarming about it. There are no likable characters, no story line that I could see.
Ivan
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hard not to spoil this book, so if you ask me, I'm just going to respond by asking why you haven't read it already. It's truly senseless not to.
Daniel Weaver
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Didn't pull me in
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Poxl West fled the Nazis’ onslaught in Czechoslovakia. He escaped their clutches again in Holland. He pulled Londoners from the Blitz’s rubble. He wooed intoxicating, unconventional beauties. He rained fire on Germany from his RAF bomber.
Poxl West is the epitome of manhood and something of an idol to his teenage nephew, Eli Goldstein, who reveres him as a brave, singular, Jewish war hero. Poxl fills Eli’s head
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Shelley Sherman
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
this was an interesting and well written book about a close family friend, a Jew from Czechoslavakia writing his memoir of his experience as a pilot with the RAF during WWII. the book alternates between the manuscript of the memoir and the realtionship of the young boy who views Poxl as a surrogate grandfather.
The memoir (book within a book) tells a touching story as does the alternating chapters. Still i sometimes found the book dragged and especially in the first third.
I would recommend it an
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Robin Kempf
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a book about a book. The narrative of The Last Flight of Poxl West alternates between (1) a young man‘s account of his relationship with a book called Skylock and its author Poxl West, and (2) excerpts of Skylock itself, a tale of Poxl West’s experiences in WW II. I myself preferred the sections of Skylock to the young man’s impressions. Nevertheless, as a whole, the author movingly explores how loss and trauma affects not only the person who experiences it but those close to him or her.
Barbara Rhine
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I dunno. I just couldn't finish this. About a hundred pages in, the writing still seemed clunky and I had not developed much interest in either of the main characters or the situation. Still, I attended my synagogue book group's discussion of Torday's book. Some folks shared my reaction; others didn't. In any event, the conversation was sufficiently complex that I was sorta sorry that I didn't perservere. Not sorry enough to pick it up again, though...
Veronica Spaeth
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because the author worked at my college. I didn’t know what to expect. It was really well written and the story was engaging and moving.

There are really two connected stories being told and the resolutions for both of them aren’t satisfying in a very intentional way. They’re not neat and tidy stories but they’re not supposed to be. I would definitely suggest the book. It’s worth a read.
Alan
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fictional account of a Czeck Jew who was sent initially to the Netherlands and eventually arrived in London. He puts his experience as a pilot to use as a pilot for his adopted country raining bombs on the Germans who killed his family. According to the book he wrote, telling the story to his adopted nephew over ice cream after visits to the symphony or art gallery, he wanted to revenge himself on the Germans. But that might not be the entire story.
Carole
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Daniel Torday uses a classic story-within-a-story structure to explore the fascinating character of Poxl West and the nephew who hero worships him as a Jewish fighter pilot in The RAF during World War II.

How Poxl fled to England as a young Czech refugee just before the war started is fictional but authentically reflective of the real stories of many young people of the time. I really enjoyed reading his story but did think that the "big reveal" was not really much of a surprise.
Joanie Driemeyer
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I slogged through this book. The format was unique and I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't get wrapped up in the story or the characters. There were some parts where the action picked up and I became engaged. But then Poxl would wax philosophical and I would need to reread the paragraph several times. Just ok.
Rachel
Nov 28, 2016 rated it liked it
A bit disappointing. The twist was predictable. It short, and overall enjoyable as a reading experience, but not as deep as I had hoped. If you're looking for a sort of coming of age story set during WWII, this might be good for you, but don't expect to be wowed.
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Daniel Torday is a two-time National Jewish Book Book Award recipient and winner of the 2017 Sami Rohr Choice Award for THE LAST FLIGHT OF POXL WEST. Torday's work has appeared in Conjunctions, The New York Times, Paris Review Daily, Tin House, and on NPR, and has been honored in both the Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays series. He is the Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Ma ...more
“We might be able to see God's body in the Kabbalah's ten Sefirot, but it was 1986, barely forty years since our grandparents' generation sat desperate and fated in their East European neighborhoods. Never again, our teachers incanted to us Monday after Monday, Wednesday after Wednesday. But when I picture myself in those rooms in the basement of our shul, even now I can only hear the incantation's reciprocal: It will happen again. Beware. Be always aware.” 1 likes
“At times, always unexpected, the flames of the past will come and burn a hole in my day.” 1 likes
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