Author Daniel Torday draws praise for his debut novel 'The Last Flight of Poxl West'

'Poxl' is being published on March 17 and centers on teenager Eli, who loves to hear stories of his uncle's World War II bravery. However, he soon discovers all may not be what it seems.

'The Last Flight of Poxl West' is by Daniel Torday.

Debut author Daniel Torday is receiving positive attention for his upcoming novel “The Last Flight of Poxl West.”

“Poxl,” which is being released on March 17, tells the story of teenager Eli Goldstein, who loves the stories of his uncle Poxl and his daring World War II exploits. After Poxl publishes his memoir, Eli begins to explore his uncle’s life more and realizes that all is not what it seems. 

The book was named as one of Amazon’s 10 best books of March and Amazon editorial director Sara Nelson called it “surprising.” “The boy [Eli] has this really charming voice,” she said.

In addition, Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times wrote that the book marks Torday’s “emergence as a writer deserving of attention.” 

“What keeps this story from devolving into sentimental or predictable melodrama is Mr. Torday’s instinctive understanding of Eli, his ability to convey both Eli’s childhood craving for a hero and role model, and his grown-up apprehension of the complexities of truth,” Kakutani wrote. She noted that “[Poxl’s] fall… seems apparent to the reader nearly from the novel’s start, though it comes as a terrible shock to young Eli” and that “often does seem informed by earlier controversies like James Frey’s admission that he’d made up details of his life.” However, Kakutani wrote that “’The Last Flight’ provides both a touching, old-fashioned drama about war and love and a more modern framing tale that makes us rethink the impulses behind storytelling, and the toll that self-dramatization can take not only on practitioners but also on those who believe and cherish their fictions… Mr. Torday [has the] ability to shift gears between sweeping historical vistas and more intimate family dramas, and between old-school theatrics and more contemporary meditations on the nature of storytelling.” 

Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly found the book to be “riveting.” 

“Torday’s descriptive and powerful prose stands as the book’s highlight,” PW staff wrote. “The book-within-a-book memoir is a page-turner… His fixation and guilt over the love he left behind in Rotterdam, though, nearly devolves into navel gazing. The author recalibrates his character’s self-indulgence in time for Skylock to end on a poignant note. Elijah’s chapters culminate with him looking at his uncle through more mature eyes. Torday’s restraint as this story line takes on new importance shows mastery of his craft, culminating with a tender ending to Elijah’s narrative.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.