I had heard about A Week At The Airport when we were travelling last September. Philosopher and writer, De Botton has been approached by the owners of Heathrow Airport to spend a week in the airport's new Terminal 5 as its very first "Writer in Residence". I admit that the whole concept sounds like a huge marketing ploy but I was also a little jealous - I would love to get paid to live in and write about an airport!
I have not read any of De Botton's previous and more extensive works so this 107 page book has really only given me a tiny taste of his work and his style. I can't say that A Week At The Airport was everything I was expecting it to be but it was a delightful, reflective and thought provoking read that has just made me want to jump on another plane as soon as possible!
De Botton starts off by declaring himself a lover of travel and the humble airport;
While punctuality lies at the heart of what we typically understand by a good trip, I have often longed for my plane to be delayed - so that I might be forced to spend a bit more time at the airport.
This quote immediately connected me with De Botton - I have also often made this wish!
The book seems to meander along with little structure or focus - and I don't say this in a negative way. De Botton has obviously chosen to write about those specific moments and people that have captured his attention during his week in the airport and yet each of his reflections could easily applied to broader situations - I connected with a lot of what he wrote about from my own experiences of being in airports. I especially liked the section about the emotionality involved in our experiences of meeting our loved ones at airports;
We may spend the better part of our professional lives projecting strength and toughness, but we are all in the end creatures of appalling fragility and vulnerability. Out of the millions of people we live among, most of whom we habitually ignore and are ignored by in turn, there are always a few who hold hostage our capacity for happiness, whom we could recognise by their smell alone and whom we would rather die than be without.
I had thought that this book would contain more in depth information about the structure and world of Heathrow Airport itself but I was not disappointed by what I received instead.
Has anyone read other works by De Botton? Would they recommend them?