When everything was falling apart, someone fell into place…
Suburban London housewife Harriet spends her days doing what she’s worst at. She grocery shops for her family who eats too much, parents a son who refuses to communicate, and tries to be a wife to a man who hasn’t embraced her in years. But what starts out as a mundane trip to the supermarket turns her world upside down when a mysterious man named Yacub falls out of the sky from the landing gear of an airplane and lands on her car in the parking lot—and survives. He’s starving and freezing cold—what else can she do other than bring him home to her family?
Suddenly her son has stepped away from the video games and her husband is looking at her once again—even if it’s because they think she’s crazy for taking in a complete stranger who stinks of gas. And just who is Yacub, this young man who escaped from a Dubai labor camp and stowed away in the belly of the plane to travel around the world? Is it an extraordinary coincidence that he’s dropped into Harriet’s life just as a long-buried secret from her past threatens to come to light?
Inspired by real-life accounts of airplane stowaways, Landing Gear showcases the complex texture of modern life, and how we sometimes need help seeing what’s right in front of us.
Kate Pullinger on LANDING GEAR
Reading Group Guide
Spring 2010. A volcano unexpectedly erupts in Iceland and airspace is shut down over Europe. Harriet works in local radio in London, and with most of her colleagues abroad, she seizes a unique career opportunity. Her husband, Michael, stuck in New York on business, travels to visit an old flame, and their teenage son, Jack, feeling liberated from normal life, takes an unexpected risk only to find himself in trouble. Meanwhile Emily, a young TV researcher, loses her adoptive father to a heart attack, and half a world away, a Pakistani migrant worker named Yacub is stranded in a Dubai labor camp.
Two years later, Yacub, attempting to stow away, falls out of the landing gear of an airplane onto Harriet’s car in a London supermarket parking lot—and survives—while Emily accidentally captures it all on film. Yacub’s sudden arrival in the lives of Harriet, Jack, Michael, and Emily catapults these characters into a series of life-changing events, ultimately revealing the tenuous, often see more