Infinite Air – Fiona Kidman

Chosen by Sonya

A novel about the enigmatic Jean Batten – New Zealand’s, and one of the world’s, greatest aviators

➤ “I was quite excited by the idea of The Infinite Air. I have heard a lot about author Fiona Kidman, and love a good biographical yarn, especially about brave and enigmatic women. Jean Batten certainly was a woman of extraordinary talent and courage. She was blessed with good looks and brilliance of mind, which coupled with tireless support of her mother and blind ambition, saw her become aviation history. Kidman’s account of her life was indeed fascinating. However, I felt oddly disappointed by the book. Perhaps I was thrown by the genre of biographical fiction? I struggled to feel connected to Jean Batten in the way one might with a fictional heroine, and at the same time I couldn’t quite believe her as a real person.  I wanted to be inspired and uplifted by her, but found myself feeling sad for the cost and consequence of the choices she made to achieve what she did.” – Sonya

➤ “I really felt like I was getting an education on Jean Batten while reading this book which is very satisfying! I think Fiona Kidman gave an empathetic portrayal of someone who perhaps would have created some derision at the time, for example with her perceived using of men for money (it seems to me though that she paid a price for the money she acquired!). There were interesting mentions of famous people peppered throughout the story which I found intriguing. It seems that Jean Batten had a bit of a tragic life with regards to relationships and family however she stood out to me as an incredibly admirable woman for her huge amount of ambition and determination and of course amazing success. This success was amplified when you consider the age, oppression and usual dependence of women on men at the time. A fantastic life made into an easy to read, well written story.” – Jo

➤ “Shamefully, I did not know much about Jean Batten so I relished the opportunity to read this biographical fiction book about her life. It is a truthful story about the passion of the woman who was determined to break aviation records all over the world. I was astonished at her resolve and how easily she (seemed to) achieve things that most of us would never consider possible. Kidman has done a superb job of capturing this spirit and determination and ensuring Batten comes out of it as a person, not a character. I loved this book from start to finish and am so pleased Batten’s life has been documented for future generations.” – Rachel

Published 2013
Random House
352 pages

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