Official Goodreads page
St. Martin's page
ACCOLADES FOR POXL:
New York Times Book Review Cover Review.
New York Times/ Michiko Kakutani review.
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice.
NPR interview with Terry Gross.
International Dublin Literary Award longlist.
Winner of the 2017 Sami Rohr Choice Prize.
Winner of the 2015 National Jewish Book Award for fiction.
Finalist for the 2015 Edward Lewis Wallant Award.
Amazon.com Best Debuts of 2015.
Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2015.
Jewish Book Council's 15 Books that Shape the Year in Jewish Literature.
Amazon.com Best Books of the Year So Far 2015.
BookPage's Best Books of the Year So Far 2015.
New York Times Book Review's Paperback Row.
Longlisted for the Morning News Tournament of Books.
Amazon.com Book of the Month.
Barnes & Noble Top Books of the Month.
iTunes Best Books of the Month.
The Millions Most Anticipated Books.
Kirkus Prize Nominee.
Esquire Magazine's "Best 149 Words Published This Year."
ALA + Ingram Bestseller.
French, Czech, Spanish and Japanese editions.
Daniel Torday is the author of the novel The Last Flight of Poxl West, a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, and an International Dublin Literary Award nominee. Torday's work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, n+1, The Paris Review Daily and Tin House, and has been honored in both the Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays series. A two-time National Jewish Book Awardee and winner the 2017 Sami Rohr Choice Prize, he is Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College.
PRAISE FOR THE LAST FLIGHT OF POXL WEST
"The Last Flight of Poxl West makes us rethink the impulses behind storytelling... Torday has a painterly eye for detail, and this gift makes the worlds that Poxl [West] traverses in Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and England jump into focus. Torday’s ability to shift gears between sweeping historical vistas and more intimate family dramas, and between old-school theatrics and more contemporary meditations on the nature of storytelling, announces his emergence as a writer deserving of attention." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Expertly crafted…There doesn't seem to be a germane subject for which the author hasn't done his homework, from the leather trade to the cockpit controls of military aircraft to the kabbalah. And all this is rendered in Torday's unobtrusively lyrical prose, superb Rothian sentences that glide over the page as smoothly as a Spitfire across a cloudless sky…an utterly accomplished novel. Daniel Torday is a writer, one with real talent and heart.” --Teddy Wayne, The New York Times Book Review (cover review)
"The Last Flight of Poxl West manages to be about WWII, the Holocaust, the place of novels and memoirs in the lives of their readers, and what the book's narrator makes of all this." --Terry Gross, Fresh Air
"The last sentence of The Last Flight of Poxl West is one of the great conclusions.... The best 149 words published this year." -- Chris Jones, Esquire Magazine
AN AMAZON.COM BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR (SO FAR): "'A wise and generous meditation on memory and aspiration and truth. Poxl West is like a John Irving character reimagined by Philip Roth... the novel Torday has written is unusual and impressive; it’s a rollicking joy ride that leaves you breathlessly excited and a little sad, all at once." --Sara Nelson, Amazon.com Editorial Director
"The Last Flight of Poxl West [is] a lovely novel sentence-to-sentence, and it gets at something deep about how we're all frauds, and all worthy of love."
-- John Green, author of The Fault in our Stars
“A wonderful accomplishment of storytelling verve: tender, lyrical, surprising, full of beautifully rendered details. Torday is a prodigiously talented writer, with a huge heart."
–George Saunders, author of Tenth of December
A BARNES AND NOBLE TOP BOOKS OF THE MONTH: "This debut is a cracking read, filled with instantly quotable lines and richly detailed characters."
"A tour de force — a meta-fiction that encompasses World War II, Holocaust history, the veracity of memory and a nuanced consideration of truth and fact in memoir.... The Last Flight of Poxl West is a noteworthy addition to American-Jewish letters." --Haaretz (Ten Best Books of the Year)
"[A] remarkably layered novel... Torday demonstrates a capacity for human understanding, acknowledging darkness while finding hope that we can become better versions of ourselves. Amidst a plenitude of stylistic and narrative pyrotechnics, there is genuine human wisdom at the heart of The Last Flight of Poxl West."-- JW Bonner, Kirkus profile
"While Torday is more likely to be compared to Philip Roth or Michael Chabon than Gillian Flynn, his debut novel has two big things in common with Gone Girl—it's a story told in two voices, and it's almost impossible to discuss without revealing spoilers. A richly layered, beautifully told and somehow lovable story about war, revenge and loss." — Kirkus (starred review)
"[The Last Flight of Poxl West] is a moving inquiry into the limitations and possibilities of stories, how they have the power to shape, crush, reinvent us." -- Electric Literature
“According to Tim O'Brien, ‘A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe.’ Daniel Torday knows how to tell a true war story, and The Last Flight of Poxl West is a stunning debut. Meticulously researched and beautifully written, The Last Flight of Poxl West resurrects a chapter of World War II that was a complete surprise to me. It's the viscerally-gripping, eye-wateringly moving first-person account of a young Czech Jew who flew missions for the RAF during World War II; it's also a profound and timely meditation on the desire for justice, retribution, and redemption. This book is unputdownable, wise, and unbelievably generous. Its ending left me speechless.”
–Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
"This ambitious, complex novel beautifully interprets and illuminates the past with contemporary eyes and a gentle heart."
--Mary Gaitskill, author of Don’t Cry
“Daniel Torday's The Last Flight of Poxl West interweaves a powerful war story with a profound meditation on the need such stories fill in us, and the truths they can sometimes obscure. Eli Goldstein’s relationship with Poxl West is strange and moving, and the book’s final pages present a deep and revealing pathos. Really good stuff.”
–Phil Klay, author of Redeployment
“The Last Flight of Poxl West is an affecting meditation on the way we all want to touch history, celebrity and heroism while remaining safe in our passivity, and on how many opportunities we miss to do the right thing for others. As its saga within a saga renders viscerally London during the Blitz or the exhilarations and terrors of flying with the RAF, it exposes remorselessly the use we make of others, even those we love most.”
–Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway
"A brilliant—and perhaps even more importantly, hilarious—book about what we make of our heroes, and what our heroes make of us. It's all here: the crime of story telling, the joy of story telling, the story hidden not so well in history, and the pleasures and problems of one word placed so well after another."
–Rivka Galchen, author of American Innovations
"OMFG! What a book! Eli Goldstein has the retrospective candor of Roth's Zuckerman and the sensitivity of a Harold Brodkey narrator, and Poxl West is an unforgettable creation. Plus, things happen in this book, big things like the world wars. A delight!"
–Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure
“The Last Flight of Poxl West is a love story, a war story, a family saga, an intimate view of vast Twentieth Century events, a treatise on the telling of stories, and a damned good read as well. Torday's language is precise and it is grand; and he uses it to describe scenes you will swear he was witness to himself. The details, the insights, the knowledge, the writing, and the unmistakable empathy— these elements add up to a stellar, memorable book.”
–Robin Black, author of Life Drawing
"The Last Flight of Poxl West is a beautifully told and moving story of love, loss, and growing up. Daniel Torday is a stunning writer, and his first novel is full of elegant, thought provoking surprises."
-- Edan Lepucki, author of California
"A riveting debut novel.... Torday's descriptive and powerful prose stands as the book's highlight. [His] restraint as [Eli's] story line takes on new importance shows mastery of his craft, culminating with a tender ending to his narrative." --Publishers Weekly
"This novel by Torday, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, should find an eager audience... Descriptions of the German bombing of London and of the airborne warfare over Hamburg are vividly presented... A well-crafted and moving novel." --Booklist
"An elegant debut of how war affects individuals, how disappointment in our loved ones can turn a life around in seconds, and how that life can be repaired. Torday is a polished writer who creates an unforgettable character for whom the term flight describes his whole life.... This portrait of a Holocaust survivor's experiences is innovative, and its page-turning plot will keep readers on the edge until the very end." -- Library Journal
“Love, lust, literature, war, and a high-flying (literally), continent-hopping protagonist with the very cool name of ‘Poxl’: I was always inclined to like this book. Daniel Torday’s gorgeous prose and moral wisdom made me love it. The Last Flight of Poxl West is a spectacular debut.”
–Daniel Smith, author of Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
"A cleverly nested meta-novel... Toward the end of the novel, Uncle Poxl tells Eli, ‘That is the very crux of telling a story: to tell it better,’ and Torday understands this, using crisply beautiful prose to move us along a narrative that is wry and heartbreaking.” --Janis Cooke Newman, The Miami Herald
"Ambitious and moving... In Torday’s vivid portrait, Uncle Poxl emerges as a character akin to one of Bellow’s zany yet deeply serious 'reality instructors,' like Dr. Tamkin in Seize the Day (1956), a luftmensch (literally, in this case Poxl is indeed an 'air-man') appearing and disappearing out of nowhere."-- Jewish Book World
"The Last Flight of Poxl West... soars: it’s a masterfully crafted, wise examination of the enduring ache of lost love, the veracity of memory, and the disparity between the stories one wants to hear and those one needs.... Torday’s writing style—dazzling, witty, and heartfelt— makes his novel one to remember."-- The Harvard Crimson
"Torday’s first novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, tells stories within stories, all building the larger picture of the danger of promise and the fallibility of heroes. Strewn about the novel are careful, subtle details that speak volumes about the lives of Eli Goldstein, a teenager in Massachusetts, and Poxl West, Eli’s uncle, and the author of the World War II memoir Skylock. I wanted to devour Poxl West in the same way I had The Sensualist, but those small moments—and the ripple effects they created—forced me to pace myself." -- James Scott, The Rumpus