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A Common Disaster

When AirJet Flight 83 departs Baltimore on a snowy January morning and crashes into the Key Bridge only three survivors are rescued from the icy wreckage.

Twelve-year-old Charlie Truslow wrestles with the question of why he escaped the plane unscathed when so many others died. He embarks on a quest to find meaning and purpose for his life. In the middle of nowhere Florida, he wrestles with ideas about hope when he helps a reverend and his granddaughter save a “Miracle Chapel” that may or may not be the real thing. Two decades after the disaster, he opens a museum dedicated to the crash and its seventy-four victims.

Surviving the plane crash for Estelle Quinlin means accepting a new life with a serious disability, bound to a wheelchair, and totally dependent upon her mother for care. Estelle’s brain injury makes her unable to remember her fiance Henry but she subconsciously keeps painting his image into all her art works.

Alexandra Toselli loses both her infant daughter and her husband in the crash. In the aftermath she wrestles with superstition, depression, and substance abuse and winds up in a court mandated twelve-step program. Alexandra traces back and questions every choice, large and small, that led her to that “lucky” seat on the plane.

A COMMON DISASTER is a work of literary fiction complete at 84,000 words. It weaves together survivor’s stories from the days and decades both before and after the crash into a larger narrative, in the vein of A Visit From the Good Squad. By examining the pattern of belief evoked by accidents, the novel shows how individuals are changed and find meaning in their loss.

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