Feeling for the Air by Karen E. Black is the sequel to From the Chrysalis, and the events carry over from book to book with chronological immediacy. Thus the story continues without any gap of missing time. I would highly recommend reading these books back to back. I read From the Chrysalis in February and fortunately I could still recall a great deal of it four months later. Unfortunately I cannot say that my memories of the first book were positive, yet because I support local authors I wanted to read Black’s sequel. I review everything I read, and I am one of those perhaps rare readers who finishes every book I start, even if I am not enjoying the book. My reasoning for this is that I am always pulling for the author. I always have hope that even though the first 356 pages of a book might be a literary mess, the final five pages might end up a redemption. I give the author a chance right up until the very end. I gave Black that chance in From the Chrysalis, where the final chapters about the prison escape and Dace Devereux’s run from the law elevated my rating from one star out of five to two. This gave me promise, as there were many unanswered questions at the end of the first novel which I wanted to find answers to in Feeling for the Air.
I cannot say I was impressed with the sequel (the second in a trilogy) but as I do review everything I read I am bound to comment on it. Sadly, I was so thoroughly disappointed with this novel’s whole lack of editing. I am an admirer of authors in general. If you have managed to get your work in print, I am in awe of you. I regard the printed form as almost sacred. Books should be edited and error-free, since they reflect your intellect and your passion for writing. Your busy mind which created these stories was full of action and ideas; it was not sullied by typographical errors, grammatical mistakes, missing words or erroneous representations. I am genuinely sad to report that Feeling for the Air was by far an even bigger editorial mess than From the Chrysalis. How can this be? In Black’s own blog, she wrote on November 16, 2014:
“Getting Feeling for the Air professionally edited really gave me the boost I needed. A big thank you to award winning Can Lit novelist Diane Schoemperlen who is also a meticulous editor and knows a thing or two about a prison town and the Canadian penal system. I still can’t believe she had the time and energy to check my manuscript for plot implausibilities, missing words, consistency in spelling and font styles and the occasional misuse of lie/lay.”
The last remark threw me out the window, as in the following passage from Feeling for the Air:
“Kathleen had talked about butterfly paths and her career path for a good half-hour last night, while he’d just lay there with his hands behind his head and stared.” (p. 84)
it is obvious Schoemperlen herself had no knowledge about the correct conjugation of the verb to lie. I could not believe this made it into print. The past participle of lie, meaning to rest in a horizontal position, is lain.
It does not please me to make the statement, again, that my reading experience was ruined by the overwhelmingly long list of errors I found in the text. Imagine if you read a book and found just one spelling error in it. That you even found it made you pause, didn’t it? Did you wonder how that error ever got in there? You carried the thought of that error for more than a few lines, didn’t you? Now imagine a book that was so wholly ridden with errors, that the reading experience was stop-start-stop-start for 361 pages. Black’s story took a backseat while the presentation of it imploded.
I feel I must make the rather bold statement that I doubt Black had this work edited at all, at least not by Schoemperlen or anyone at the Kingston Wired Writers team. I must admit that I doubted this at first–before I even started to read Feeling for the Air–because in spite of what Black wrote in her blog, she gave no credit to Schoemperlen as an acknowledgement. One might expect that an editorial credit from such a major writer would be included. It would be a mark of honour to acknowledge that such a literary powerhouse edited your work. However, in an E-mail exchange with Schoemperlen herself, the award-winning writer claimed that she did indeed edit this novel, and she was mildly irked, to say the least, that she didn’t receive a print credit for it.
After I endured a litany of the very errors Black wanted to avoid (missing words, inconsistency in spelling and the misuse of lie/lay) I seriously have to wonder if Schoemperlen edited it as she claimed, or if Black trashed Schoemperlen’s work and submitted her own original manuscript for publication. I certainly cannot fathom that Diane Schoemperlen would miss these glaring errors over and over again. Look–we’re not talking about hiring an editor to provide Black with guidance with her story and character development. That’s a whole other editorial function. What I am ranting about is the clear editorial sloppiness that Feeling for the Air has become in print. There is no way that an editor would have missed any of the errors I have listed. Dare I say that if Schoemperlen did in fact edit this novel, she missed a truckload of gaffes and thus should not be irked but rather relieved that Black neglected to give her editorial credit.
I am a nitpicky reviewer, which is an understatement if I do say so myself. I will pick out typos and grammatical gaffes and report them in my book reviews. After I wrote one such review where I exposed every single error, the author had her entire book reprinted. I feel that to ignore the editorial elephant in the room that is sloppy writing (or the evident lack of any editing whatsoever) does the reader a disservice. There is no passion gained from reading when the text is abysmally presented. There is no honour found on a page full of errors. I genuinely care about the author and her work, as I have a special admiration for all authors. Any novelist should be pleased that readers would select his or her particular works to spend their time with. That is where I am coming from: in a library bursting with fiction I chose Black’s first novel, and in spite of my unfavorable review I wanted to read its sequel. Readers who do not like particular authors or their works do not choose to spend any more of their time with their books. Supportive readers, however, do. And although I cannot say that I was a fan of either From the Chrysalis or Feeling for the Air, that does not mean that I do not support this author and her future work.
Intelligent readers also do not decide to pick up a novel, spend their time poring over it with a lice comb only to enjoy trashing it in the end. A reader who did not care about the author would not spend so much of his time writing such a thoughtful–and lengthy–review. That all of Black’s posted reviews are glowing with five stars leads me to wonder how genuine they are. Seriously, did the reviewers read these books from cover to cover, or did they just do Black a friendly or family favour by giving her a plug? I mean really–how can all of these errors be missed by everyone? How could a professional editor miss anything? An Amazon reviewer, L. Frankel, however, gets a tip of the hat for writing:
“Feeling for the Air wasn’t completely error free. I noticed a couple of missing words, but I would consider this well within tolerance for a professionally edited book.”
L. Frankel must be referring to only a couple of missing words on any one particular page. As my evidence shows, this whole book is teeming with missing words among dozens of other mistakes that should never, ever see the light of day on a printed page. No, L. Frankel, a professionally edited book should have no errors. Period. If my name was on the cover, I would be ashamed if a reader informed me of even one error. The laundry list below should cause Black to hang her head in shame. Yet, in spite of saying this, I am still a supporter of Black and her work. I would sincerely love to read the third book in the trilogy and I would love it if I enjoyed it. Would another reader give an author a third chance? Most probably wouldn’t. I want to because I like and care about Karen E. Black and her work.
Black writes that the third book in the trilogy will be published in late 2016. While June is probably too late to offer editorial guidance in terms of plot and character development when the manuscript is probably already finished, I hope it is not too late however to offer my services to read the manuscript and check it for errors and spelling inconsistencies. Because you do know, I will find them. I want to enjoy Black’s fiction. I want to rave about a book by a local author. I love to talk about books that I enjoyed. If Black hires me to edit her third novel, I will do the work for free; all I ask is for an acknowledgement in the published credits.
Now to deal with the novel and what it’s about. Feeling for the Air follows escaped prisoner Dace Devereux and his run from the law. I will try not to give away spoilers, so I will say only that Dace finds his way to Mexico and embarks on a quest to find the migration grounds of monarch butterflies. Dace’s lover and first cousin, Liza, struggles to find his whereabouts while dealing with the pressures of being a new mother to Dace’s baby. I remarked in my review of From the Chrysalis how the progression of action is not explained. Things just happen. The same is true in Feeling for the Air, where stuff happens and the reader is left wondering why and how come. I didn’t even start writing about these deus ex machina moments until I had had enough of them and thought I’d better start giving examples. In each of the passages cited below, stuff happens, and no one knows how:
“How she’d crossed the Canadian-American border, he didn’t know.” (p. 84)
“How he’d ended up there, he wasn’t sure.” (p. 89)
“How he communicated this, Dace didn’t know. ” (p. 162)
“Somehow, over the next twenty minutes or so, she also managed to extract the baby from his carrier…” (p. 262)
“…Dace had found an old infant car seat, God knows where.” (p. 287)
“Liza had always wanted to do something academic though, God knows why.” (p. 311).
I mean, please, just elaborate, will you? Don’t forgo telling the reader how things happened by shrugging off all explanations with a “he didn’t know”. This reveals that not only did the character have no idea, but neither did the author. It is a weak sign of plot development when mysterious unexplained forces are in control.
There’s some pretty heavy stuff here, such as the exposure of a pedophile ring and the suspected guilty parties. Yet Black just springs this on us. All of a sudden we’re supposed to care. And while I realize this story took place in the early 1970’s before people could stream the news on their iPhones, the characters do seem to rely an awful lot on getting all of their news from the newspapers. The characters have an obsessive need to read the local newspapers. It stretches my credibility because I cannot fathom anyone in his early twenties even forty years ago caring one iota about what is written in a small-town newspaper, least of all members of a biker gang. Chapter 34 ends:
“The constable rubbed his temple. ‘You think it was bikers who attacked Joe Armitage?’ he asked. ‘I can see why they might have a beef with him–all those articles he wrote–but I thought we ran them all out of town.'”
The inner speech of most of Black’s characters is identical. There is no differentiation between Dace or Liza, the two protagonists. They are also identically foul-minded, for not only they but most everyone else peppers their inner speech with “What the hell”, “Where the hell”, “Who the hell” and so on. It grew very tiresome to see the constant referrals to Satan’s bedroom in the text. Breast size also dominates the descriptions. These descriptions cover many different women but Black does seem preoccupied with the size of Liza’s pendulous lactating bursting breasts.
Black does have a gift for simile, and after each passage below I had a rare satisfied moment where I paused and smiled. Truly, I did. I crave literary moments when the author gives me pause for all the good reasons.
“She [Thalia] sounded more like a Spanish-speaking auctioneer than a girl.” (p. 151)
“Liza felt small, like a tiny plastic figurine in a giant white bowl.” (p. 172)
“For a moment, they’d both stared at what else was between Kathleen’s legs like it was an inkblot test that they couldn’t quite figure out.” (p. 221).
I also enjoyed the image she created when describing Liza diving into a Mexican lake:
“She’d dive deeper into the water, with her hair streaming out behind her, her only anchor to the past.” (p. 278).
Excellent stuff there, but rare gems found in a novel crafted out of sand.
It is my hope that the editorial content below will be used to correct the manuscript in future printings. The following notations pertain merely to the printed form; most of the plot implausibilities and character wackinesses are not even dealt with here. That is not my function in my role as first officer of the language police. I used the leading collegiate dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition, as my spelling authority.
Emphasis in the quoted passages is mine, except where noted:
“Everything was going to be alright…” (p. 1). A frequent error; in this context all right should be two words. The same mistake was made on p. 6: “…Run Dace, just run! I’m alright.” (entire passage in italics); on p. 25: “Well, as long as you don’t break anything, I guess it’s alright.”; on p. 94: “…where was he, was he alright?”; on p. 142: “If you’d like a threesome, it’s alright with me.”; on p. 147: “But you can–you’ll be alright.”; on p. 171: “Dear Uncle Norm had such a deep faith that his son was alright.”; on p. 172: “Everything was going to be alright.”; on p. 259: “I’ll be alright, he thought…” (first part of the citation is in italics); on p. 264: “I mean it’s alright for the guy, isn’t it?”; on p. 291: “Everything’s going to be alright.”; on p. 293: “Everything was going to be alright.”; on p. 314: Everything’s going to be alright.”; on p. 337: “…everything was going to be alright.”; on p. 353: “…and their children turned out alright…”; on p. 353: “Not that everybody thinks I’m alright…”; and on p. 360: “It’s alright. I’ve come to see Liza.”
“He had to keep on keep on trucking or he’d freeze.” (p. 2)
“‘Just watch,’ his old nemesis Savage would crow to his cronies he rubbed his hands in glee…” (p. 3)
References twice on p. 9 to “Canada Geese“; erroneous capitalization of geese.
“She called them soul mates, but it wasn’t the same thing.” (p. 9). From the context it is evident that the reflexive pronoun themselves is required.
“He looked about ten or so, old and enough and big enough to climb over the tailgate…” (p. 13)
“We’re looking for an escaped convict called Darcy Devereux…” (p. 19). His first name is spelled D’Arcy.
“Well, he’s Liza Devereux’ cousin and she’s here, right?” (p. 19). The possessive form of any noun ending in X, regardless of the way the terminating X is pronounced, is always ‘S. Black carries this error over from her previous novel. The same -X’ error is found on pages 23, 31, 40, 51 and 126. Again, I have to ask: how would she indicate possession in nouns that ended in S but didn’t end in an S sound, such as Versailles? How would you indicate possession in nouns that ended in an S sound but didn’t end in a typical English sibilant letter? For example, how would you form the possessive of the country name Kiribati? Or…Dace? There is no consistency with any of Black’s forms of the possessive involving sibilants followed by an apostrophe. However, I am happy to say that on p. 126, Black wrote “Dr. Greg Phillips’s office” and “Phillips’s office” (which is correct) and repeats the form of Phillips’s twice on p. 130. She also wrote “…to compile the class’s final marks.” (p. 173) which also is correct.
“Lois Dempsey looked was looking genuinely puzzled.” (p. 23)
“Unidentified man freezes to death on Ivy League Parkway…” (entire passage in italics; p. 31). On the first line of page one, we learn that the road’s name is the Ivy Lea Parkway. I think this is an unfortunate occurrence of relying too much on AutoCorrect.
A reference to Mallory Town Landing on p. 31. The correct name is Mallorytown Landing.
“He’d pulled the fur-edged hood so closely around his face that he almost no peripheral vision…” (p. 32)
“…would they shoot him or just hand cuff him or what?” (p. 33). Handcuff is one word.
“He’d shown him what’s was what, yes, sirree.” (p. 37)
A referral to the song “I Shot the Sheriff” on December 28, 1972 (p. 37), when it wasn’t released–by Bob Marley–until October 1973. Since the context in the novel stated “a recent pop song”, I take it Black was referring to Eric Clapton’s pop cover, which wasn’t released until July 1974.
Yes, sirree spelled as such twice on p. 37 yet spelled as Yes, siree on p. 38.
“…as if he half-expected to find a busty blond there.” (p. 38). This is a rare example in English where we have gender agreement in the feminine context. Blonde requires the -E. Blond should be blonde on pages 120, 127, 142, 215, 249, 302. Yet it isn’t until pages 217 and 218 that she finally renders it blonde: “…the little blonde’s eyes…” and “…his little blonde friend…”
“…and was making twenty one bucks an hour…” (p. 38). A hyphen is required between the two numbers. Black did spell both forty-two and fifty-eight correctly, a mere two and four lines, respectively, after the initial error. The same error is found on p. 96: “…he’d just turned twenty one“.
“…or one of those little shopping carts to hang to…” (p. 38)
“But he might change his tune if he bought back Dace Devereux dead or alive.” (p. 41). Should be brought.
References to Motel Eight (twice) and Motel 8 (once) on an already very short page, as it is the first page of chapter five (p. 43).
“…that a twenty year old girl who looked like brainy little Liza…” (p. 45). Hyphens are required in this adjective phrase. The same error is found on p. 79 with “…a nine year old at the Children’s Sanatorium in Toronto.” Black’s other instances where she wrote age indicators did employ proper hyphenation.
“Because addition to everything else…” (p. 45)
“…he must have drank too much tonight” (p. 46). The standard past participle of drink is drunk. Black knows this, for on p. 48 she writes “If only he hadn’t drunk so much.” and on p. 295 “…they’d drunk a little water…”
“Our man D’Arcy Devereux’s been gone a few days, though.” (p. 48). I don’t believe it. Granted, this is a contraction of Devereux has and is not a form of possession, but they are both still rendered by an apostrophe S. Black gets the possessive form right on p. 118: “Mr. Devereux’s only son…” (entire passage in italics) and on p. 120: “…so no doubt D’Arcy Devereux’s escape from…”
“There was a pause and when the cop at other end finally took the phone…” (p. 51)
“As long nobody was yelling at him.” (p. 51). What is it with Black’s phraseology in that she repeatedly leaves out the second required as in expressions such as this? From the Chrysalis was full of secondary as absences, and so is Feeling for the Air. Black knows better, as on p. 25 she correctly wrote “Well, as long as you don’t break anything…”
References to the res and Res, both on p. 52.
“…where Savage or one his henchmen…” (p. 56)
“She’d never driven in Toronto at all, though she practically grown up there.” (p. 75)
“…helped him write a couple of articles refuting Francis’s theories…” (p. 77). Well I’ll be. A correct formation of the possessive. Yes, S-apostrophe-S. So why not X-apostrophe-S when the X is silent?
“…he suggested as if thought had just occurred to him.” (p. 78)
“Why did she her mother, a privileged North American, behave like that…” (p. 78). Some sort of separation is needed between she and her, preferably dashes around her mother but even an appositional comma would do. Just don’t string them together.
“They’d tried everything, gotten hold of a copy the Kama Sutra…” (p. 79)
“He’s done tons of ground breaking research.” (p. 85). In this context, groundbreaking is one word, unless of course Black is referring to research that involves tunnel engineering.
“What was with some girls?” (p. 86). Black meant to write “What was it with some girls?”
“…he would have floored the gas pedal and ran.” (p. 88). The auxiliary verb carries over to the second main verb which is also a past participle, thus “he would have floored the gas pedal and run.” Think of an analogous sentence using the verb to go: One would never say “he would have went“; rather “he would have gone“.
“I’ve dipped into myself a couple of times.” (p. 96). Black meant to write “I’ve dipped into it myself a couple of times.”
“How could a girl make such mistake…” (p. 97)
“…with no more hope than Heathcliff trying to scream Kathy from the grave.” (p. 102). For all of Black’s citations from the literary classics, especially Wuthering Heights, I found it particularly egregious that she misspelled the name of Catherine (Cathy) Earnshaw.
“Never under estimate the powerless…” (entire passage in italics; p. 104). Underestimate is one word.
“…it was almost Millie’s bed time now.” (p. 104). Bedtime is one word.
“You’d know where he was if was in jail!” (p. 106)
“He known a couple of people…” (p. 113)
“Too poor and in her short life time…” (p. 113). Lifetime is one word.
References to dick-head, egg head and egg heads (all on p. 115). Erroneous hyphenation and unnecessary spacing; they are all spelled as one word.
“She’d take him anyway she could.” (p. 118). Anyway is an adverb and is not being used in that context here; it must be spelled as two words. Insert in after him and it becomes more clear that any way must be two words. This exact same quotation also occurs on p. 341.
“The groom had gotten a new blue suit to compliment the bride’s short tulle dress…” (p. 118). The preferred verb form is complement.
“…he’d never been any place…” (p. 120) and “…if she had any place else to go.” (p. 122). Anyplace should be one word.
“Kathleen raised her nail bitten fist…” (p. 125). A hyphen is necessary between these two words.
“…with its annual influx of fresh-faced eighteen and nineteen-year-olds…” (p. 127). It should be eighteen-.
“There were ash trays and Coke cans…” (p. 132). Ashtrays is one word.
“His spirits soared on every hill top…” (p. 134). Hilltop is one word.
“In roadside bars, the juke boxes played…” (p. 137). Jukeboxes is one word.
References to (the) Feds and feds on p. 143, sometimes capitalized, sometimes not.
“Mexican beer wasn’t as light at the American stuff.” (p. 145).
References to mountain-side on pages 147, 293, 302 and 305. Mountainside is one word.
“…he’d wished he’d bought a burro too.” (p. 150). Should be brought.
“He had been fourteen-years-old, so his life…” (p. 159). Hyphens are not necessary.
“…rounded mauve mountain-tops…” (p. 159) and “…we can be up on the mountain-top by noon.” (p. 284). Mountaintop(s) is one word.
I question the use of the Spanish on p. 161, where four Mexican boys are feigning ignorance of English. They say “No hablan Inglés, no hablan Inglés” (where the first letter of inglés should really be in lowercase). This translates to “They don’t speak English, they don’t speak English”. Context would better suit “Nostros no hablamos inglés”, which means “We don’t speak English”. I can’t imagine all four boys referring to themselves in the third person plural.
“Most of the guys he’d knew…” (p. 165).
“…she kept telling himself, she just wanted him home.” (p. 170). The reflexive pronoun is wrong; use him.
“On April 18 , Liza left the house and made her way down the long laneway to the mailbox. It was just past Easter.” (p. 171). In 1973 Easter Sunday was on April 22.
“…Norm had mentioned him when he said Grace.” (p. 171). Erroneous capitalization. When I read this, I honestly thought that a woman named Grace had entered the room.
“…a brown jack-rabbit cut across the front lawn…” (p. 172). Jackrabbit is one word.
“…the brave bright daffodils lay under snow.” (p. 172) and “…while he lay back on his bed…” (p. 231). Hallelujah!
“…she had on a knee length skirt…” (p. 173). Knee-length should be hyphenated.
Inconsistencies in spelling: references to paycheck on p. 39 yet cheque on p. 174.
“What had she done with other letter?” (p. 174).
“She tossed her dish-cloth…” (p. 179). Dishcloth is one word.
“Why do you think he’s spends so much time…” (p. 179)
“…a cloudy, star-less night…” (p. 182). Starless is one word.
As Liza is going into labour, references are made about her dilation. Black goes back and forth with centimetres and centimeters.
Further along in the story of Liza’s labour, Black writes about how the baby “…slipped under her public bone and slid into the midwife’s waiting hands.” (p. 188). It’s the pubic bone.
“…Mary picked up the baby and held out him out to Liza.” (p. 189)
“She had lost most of pregnancy weight…” (p. 193). Insert either her or the after of.
“Damn, this wasn’t getting her any place.” (p. 194). Anyplace should be one word.
“She didn’t still know where she began…” (p. 197). While technically not an error, in English we tend to put the adverb before the verb in sentences like this.
Multiple references to a Diocese on pp. 202, 205 and 232; capitalized for no apparent reason.
“…the windows of a yellow brick farm farmhouse…” (p. 205)
“…she’d found in her home-town library…” (p. 208). Hometown is one word.
“It was well-worth the look on her mother’s face…” (p. 221). No need for hyphenation.
References to actor Jon Voight on p. 226 (which is correct) yet to Jon Voigt in the error-ridden sentence “He looked like a bit like JonVoigt, but not as cute.” on p. 227.
“My family used to visit his when we children…” (p. 228).
“The sound of his heart beat slowed…” (p. 231). Heartbeat is one word.
“Five hundred dollars was a lot of money, especially in American cash.” (p. 236). This statement was made in February 1974, at a time when one Canadian dollar traded at $1.0138 US, so our dollar was in fact stronger than the American at this time.
“…Micah lunged for one of the green backs too…” (p. 236). Greenbacks is one word.
A reference to stepmother on p. 240 when earlier in the text Black had written step-father. I let the hyphenated form pass and thus did not record its page number. I only recalled it when the unhyphenated form later appeared and I do not feel like flipping through pages just to find the earlier reference.
“…everything else she and Dace and had done…” (p. 242)
“…his stressed out life and all…” (p. 243). Please insert a hyphen here.
“…little Miss Florence Nightingale would have bought in all sorts of…” (p. 246). Should be brought.
“She hitched a ride with some big wig Jew’s daughter…” (p. 252). Bigwig is one word. To write it as two is offensive to orthodox Jewish women.
“Can I be the one to go Florida, can I?” (p. 254)
“…the wheezy in-take of a smoker…” (p. 256). Intake is one word.
“At the first golden-arched Mcdonald’s…” (p. 262). Surely Black has seen one of these restaurants. The first D is capitalized. The sentence continues “…Esther stopped to get a coffee at the drive-in window.” I would recommend drive-through window or even drive-thru window.
“…we’ll never get any place.” (entire passage in italics; p. 264). Anyplace should be one word.
“‘Well, what about that investigative reporter who works for the Telegram? Or maybe he’s moved up to the Globe and Mail.” (p. 266). This quotation was made in February 1974, while the Toronto Telegram ceased publication in October 1971. Another reference to a Toronto Telegram article occurs on p. 330.
The first page of chapter 37 on p. 269 had two errors before I even read one word within the chapter. The title of the chapter is Air-borne. It should be Airborne. Black dated most of her chapters with the month and year. At the start of chapter 37, the date was listed as February 1974., with a period after the year. The single period stuck out; it was noticed because it was inconsistent with the formatting of the dates in all the prior chapters. If you think the job of an editor is only to look for misspelled words and the misuse of lie/lay, you don’t know anything about editing. I have graciously left out all comments about the sloppy page layout, formatting, spacing within the text and where sentences are broken up and continue on separate lines. This one little period can be a distraction.
“…drifting back to Maitland at Christmas-time…” (p. 271). Christmastime is one word.
I had no problem with Black’s use of Canadian and American spellings throughout the text, provided they were for different words. I noticed her preferred spelling of license. Fine, yet when I encountered the word as licence on p. 273, then on the first line of p. 274 as license again, I had to note the inconsistency.
A truly awkward senseless sentence near the start of chapter 38 on p. 277: “She had come alive down here in Mexico, or maybe it was the just that the old anxious, information-hunting student part of was hibernating.” What?
“‘Liza,’ he’d begged off, swirling her away from him with one hand…” (p. 280). Since Dace is speaking, the pronoun must be reflexive, himself.
What is undoubtedly the biggest spelling error (so far) is the typo in the name of chapter 39: Mariposa Monanca (p. 283). The Spanish name for monarch butterfly is mariposa monarca, This term is used throughout Feeling for the Air. That it is in such a huge typeface makes this error mortally embarrassing. And no editor caught this?
“…what looked like thousands of monarchs butterflies…” (p. 291)
“…hoped to see any sort of wild life…” (p. 302). Wildlife is one word.
“The Murphy guy with her, started babbling about the monarchs.” (p. 303). Comma is unnecessary.
“…I’m not sure we can just push that old guy of the way.” (p. 303)
“So the fact that my cousin and myself found a monarch colony…” (p. 304). Why the reflexive pronoun? Just use I.
References to edge-wise on pages 304 and 311. Edgewise is one word.
“…to carry the rest the way down the mountain…” (p. 308)
“And if he was really honest, it had pleased to think that…” (p. 310)
“It was a hell of lot more…” (p. 310)
“Even if you didn’t have a shitload of stuff do up north.” (p. 312)
“I don’t give a fuck about a school anymore!” (p. 312)
“…it was who Dace heard it this time.” (p. 314). These two words were transposed. How did that happen?
“…which enlightened people had begun to suspect, was primarily a disease of refugees…” (p. 315). Comma is unnecessary.
“…when she was nine-years-old…” (p. 316). Hyphens are not necessary.
“Nobody is going to look down on you if your don’t finish your PhD…” (p. 316).
“…her mother who once had artistic pretentions…” (p. 316). Misspelling; should be pretensions.
“God, I’m a such fool.” (entire passage in italics; p. 326)
“…just hours before the Toronto Telegram released an article accusing of abusing his power…” (p. 330)
“The old pervert had gotten his just desserts.” (p. 330). Should be just deserts.
A reference to St. Catherines, Ontario (p. 337). It’s St. Catharines.
“…her back pack and the baby carrier…” (p. 340). Backpack is one word. Black spells it as one word on two occasions on p. 342.
“Her backpack kept getting caught in the door jam…” (p. 342). The word is doorjamb.
“His ass had been squeezed into a pilot seat’s for days.” (p. 345). Why the possessive form? Why not just pilot seat?
“…he hadn’t heard a peep out the guy for a while.” (p. 346)
“…would just make everybody feel a hell of lot worse.” (p. 349)
The title of chapter 47 is Home-coming (p. 351). Why is it hyphenated?
Black does refer to genuine Toronto streets in Feeling for the Air, yet Lakeshore (p. 351) is actually spelled as two words.
“And think of Micah and all the things you still want do.” (entire passage in italics; p. 355)
“Oh, God, please don’t let Dr. Diamond show up instead Dace…” (entire passage in italics; p. 356).