We're delighted to present an extract from Dear Edward, the acclaimed new novel by Ann Napolitano, published by Viking.
One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them are a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured veteran returning from Afghanistan, a business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. Halfway across the country, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor...
Dear Edward is at once a coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of a lively ensemble of characters, and a vivid illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again...
The police have cordoned off the area; the NTSB team, wearing protective orange suits and face masks, climbs over and around the wreckage. The land is level in every direction, the surface burned, charred, a piece of toast blackened under a broiler. The fire is out, but the air is charged with heat. The plane sluiced through a cluster of trees and dug itself into the earth. The good news, the members of the team tell one another, is that it wasn't in a residential area. No humans on the ground were hurt. They find two mangled cows and a dead bird among the chairs, luggage, metal, and limbs.
Listen: Ann Napolitano talks to Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio 1
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Families of the victims arrive in Denver by plane and car over the twenty-four hours following the event. The downtown Marriott has several floors reserved for them. At 5:00 P.M. on June 13, the NTSB spokesman, a man with acne-scarred skin and a gentle demeanor, gives an update to the families and media in the hotel banquet hall. Family members perch on folding chairs. They lean forward as if the skin on their shoulders can hear; they bow their heads as if hair follicles might pick up what no other part of their body can. Pores are open, fingers spread. They listen fiercely, hoping that a better, less crushing truth exists beneath the facts being delivered. There is a cluster of elaborate flower arrangements in the back corner of the room, which no one looks at. Red and pink peonies in giant vases. A cascade of white lilies. They are left over from a wedding held in the room the night before. This smell will keep several family members out of flower shops for the rest of their lives. The press stands apart at the briefing. They avoid eye contact with the relatives during interviews. They develop their own tics: one man scratches his arms as if he’s been attacked by poison ivy; an on-air reporter fixes and re- fixes her hair. They disseminate the updates in live television interviews and through emailed AP reports. They focus on the "known" passengers. A plastics baron, famous for building an empire and automating thousands of employees out of work. A Wall Street wunderkind, worth an estimated 104 million dollars. A United States army officer, three college professors, a civil-rights activist, and a former writer for Law & Order. They pour facts into hungry mouths; this news story has captivated the world. Every corner of the Internet has weighed in. A reporter holds up a copy of The New York Times to a camera, to show the huge block headline, the kind normally reserved for presidential elections and moonwalks. It reads: 191 DIE IN PLANE CRASH; 1 SURVIVOR. The relatives have only one question when the press briefing comes to a close; they all lean toward it like a window in a dark room: "How is the boy?"
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is published by Viking and is available nationwide now.