In the Unlikely Event & The Nightingale

Book Pairing

in-the-unlikely-event    the-nightingale

On the surface, you may think these novels have nothing in common.  It is true that the first takes place about six years after the second one and is set in America, instead of France but there are some interesting similarities between the two books.  I only realized them after I was part way through reading the second story.  The strongest points these novels share are: people striving to understand, survive and live through a tragedy; conflicting relations with certain family members; the innocence of “young love”; an older person reflecting on the past and about to attend a reunion in honor of those who passed away during the tragic events.  Even if you look at the covers—both depict a symbol of flight, where the image represented, is linked to risk and the feeling of melancholy in each tale.  In the first book, Miri Ammerman is only in her mid teens when a sequence of three plane crashes affect her hometown, in Elizabeth, NJ.  The accidents happen one after another, in a short span of time (within three months) and she is left to struggle and cope with the meaning of these misfortunes—and to try moving on with her life.  She faces obstacles in the relationship she has with her single mom, Rusty and also experiences her first time being a girlfriend.  With the second story, Isabelle Rossignol is eighteen in the midst of the Second World War.  Her beloved country (France) has been taken captive by the Germans and she can find no welcome in her father’s or older sister’s arms.  She helps to fight for the rights of French citizens by working under cover and endures great suffering through her successful efforts.  Similar to Miri, Isabelle also experiences first love during so much heartache and danger.  As you can see, the two novels are very different in terms of plot but there are a few threads that tie them together.  Although they were both very appealing books to me, some readers may choose to dismiss them based on their topics (plane crashes or World War II).

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