Review: Panorama

Television news pundit Richard MacMurray is in the middle of examining his life in Washington, D.C., when he finds out his estranged sister was aboard Panorama Airlines Flight 503, which crashed in Dallas with no survivors. Her death leaves MacMurray as the only living relative of her young son, Gabriel, and just another of the characters in Panorama touched by the disaster.

This debut novel by Steve Kistulentz takes place over the course of a day and follows several storylines leading up to and after the crash. But Panorama (Little, Brown and Company, digital galley) always returns to MacMurray who sees a chance to make something new of his life as he focuses on retrieving Gabriel.

As the title suggests, Panorama provides a wide and unbroken view of the lives of the people touched by the disaster. In fact it feels a little voyeuristic, knowing what we know, to watch as characters go about their daily lives before the crash. Following the disaster the reader is exposed to the intimate and life changing affects an airplane crash can have on everyone from airline employees to victims’ families. But Kistulentz handles the stories with dignity and gives us a life affirming, if heartbreaking, drama that feels ripped out of the headlines.