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‘Engaging, witty, thoughtful, clever, casual, ebullient, erudite and thoroughly modern’ Spectator

‘A dazzling talent – hilarious, winning and deft’ Malcolm Gladwell

In Mid-Air is a collection of short essays by the acclaimed writer and speaker, Adam Gopnik. Known for his ability to perceive ‘the whole world in a grain of sand’, he uses this format to take a dizzying range of subjects and intricately explore their meaning to our lives – as people, as citizens and as families.

From how he works so that his daughter can have holes in her clothes, to why appropriation is more empowering than oppressing; from French sex to binge-watching TV, from the secret of a happy marriage to why we should mention the war ­­- each topic is illuminated by his erudition and wit.

As in their original form on the radio, Gopnik’s essays – each one a pleasure garden of wry confessions, self-deprecating asides, wordplay and striking insights – feel like the most intimate of conversations between writer and reader; yet at the same time they capture a public forum of pithy debate and tender persuasion. Above all, In Mid-Air initiates a sense of wonder in the ordinary that yearns to be shared.


Nuanced, elegiac . . . Gopnik's essays [...] owe much to the idea of Alistair Cook's Letter from America . . . single, deeply intelligent voices allowed to expand on a subject . . . You trust his judgement . . . The article of hope or faith that Gopnik still clings to is the idea that serious, humane thinking and writing, of the kind that teases out the truth of the world, can still generate enlightenment. [The essay form] as this collection nimbly demonstrates, allows you to watch and enjoy another mind confront the world at its most problematic. It feels like a dying art.
Tim Adams, Observer
Like a personal diary, the book serves as an unconscious time capsule . . . because of the care with which Gopnik develops his sketches, they serve as a gentle reminder of the fundamental absurdity of many of our obsessions.
Michael Frank, Times Literary Supplement