MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Kenneth Lochhead's "Flight and Its Allegories" and the Gander International Airport: Background information when reading The Night Stages

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Night Stages

by Jane Urquhart

The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart X
The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2015, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2016, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
Buy This Book

About this Book

Kenneth Lochhead's "Flight and Its Allegories" and the Gander International Airport

This article relates to The Night Stages

Print Review

If you flew on a transatlantic flight at some point in the mid-twentieth century, odds are you found yourself at Gander International Airport in Gander, Newfoundland, on at least one leg of your journey. For years, before the advent of wide-body jets with higher fuel capacity, Gander was the main refueling stop for aircraft bound for the United States from Europe, and was consequently one of the most important airports in the world. Much later, Gander's airport obtained some small (and bittersweet) measure of fame in 2001 when nearly forty international flights and more than six thousand passengers were grounded at Gander after all North American flights were halted on 9/11.

Kenneth Lochhead's If you ever have found yourself at the Gander airport, you might recall its sophisticated, Modernist lounge area and the massive, 72-foot mural that dominates the space. Painted by Canadian artist Kenneth Lochhead in egg tempera (it required more than 500 eggs to paint), the mural, entitled "Flight and Its Allegories," was painted during the terminal's construction in 1958 and 1959. The mural is full of numerous human figures, including many children. Its figures are solid and impassive, seemingly at odds with the notion of flight (despite the numerous birds and birdlike creatures that also fill the space), and they are representational (depicting images as realistically as possible) at a time when more "cutting-edge" artists were discarding classical techniques (not to mention fussy media like egg tempera.)

The Gander mural was painted relatively early by Lochhead; he went on to have a decades-spanning career as an artist and educator, credited with helping to establish contemporary art in Canada. He died in 2006, leaving behind many works of public art, including, of course the Gander airport mural.

Kenneth Lochhead's The future of the mural – and the striking mid-century airport lounge of which it is the showpiece – is in doubt, however. The Gander International Airport is a far cry from "The Crossroads of the World" it once was, and its governing agency has expressed interest in downsizing to a smaller terminal that is more appropriate to its current much-reduced passenger volume. A 2014 announcement that the terminal would be demolished spurred numerous grassroots campaigns for its preservation, including Canada's National Trust naming the site as one of its top ten endangered landmarks. Early in 2015, the Gander International Airport Authority announced that their new building plans would not require demolition of the original departures terminal after all, and that it would remain intact for the time being. But its future seems far from certain – and its commemoration in Jane Urquhart's new novel that much more important.

Image of Kenneth Lochhead's "Flight and Its Allegories" at the Gander International Airport, courtesy of Bookshelf Reviews.
Close-up of "Flight and Its Allegories", courtesy of The Star.

Filed under Music and the Arts

Article by Norah Piehl

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Night Stages. It originally ran in August 2015 and has been updated for the December 2016 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Delayed Rays of a Star
    by Amanda Lee Koe
    Amanda Lee Koe's Delayed Rays of a Star begins with a late-1920s photo of three women at a party in ...
  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Cantoras
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.