The Flight Portfolio: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Julie Orringer, author of the bestselling The Invisible Bridge, tells the absorbing story of a young American, Varian Fry, who with great courage sets out to save as many artists/intellectuals, Jewish or not, from the Nazis in 1940 France. Based on a true story this novel, with its eccentric cast of fascinating characters and suspense on nearly every page, is a beautifully crafted page-turner.


— From The Flight Portfolio


MARSEILLE, 1940. Varian Fry, a Harvard-educated journalist and editor, arrives in France. Recognizing the darkness descending over Europe, he and a group of like-minded New Yorkers formed the Emergency Rescue Committee, helping artists and writers escape from the Nazis and immigrate to the United States. Now, amid the chaos of World War II, and in defiance of restrictive U.S. immigration policies, Fry must procure false passports, secure visas, seek out escape routes through the Pyrenees and by sea, and make impossible decisions about who should be saved, all while under profound pressure—and in a state of irrevocable personal change. In this dazzling work of historical fiction—one that illuminates previously unexplored elements of Fry’s story, and has, since its publication, brought us new insight into his life—Julie Orringer, award-winning author of The Invisible Bridge, has crafted a gripping tale of forbidden love, high-stakes adventure, and unimaginable courage.

About the Author

Julie Orringer is the New York Timesbest-selling author of two award-winning books: The Invisible Bridge, a novel, and How to Breathe Underwater, a collection of stories. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, the MacDowell Colony, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

Praise For…

“A gripping, tender novel.” —The New Yorker

“Magnificent . . . a deeply researched, almost unbearably tense, bruised-knuckle hybrid. Part real history and part love story, it’s also a deeply moral work, asking tough questions about what matters most to us personally—and to the world.” —The Boston Globe

“Sympathetic and prodigiously ambitious. . . . [Orringer’s] Marseille breathes as a city breathes.” —Cynthia Ozick, The New York Times Book Review

“Gorgeous. . . . Classic storytelling through a transgressive lens. The Flight Portfolio offers a testament to . . . the enduring transformative power of art, and love, in any form.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Extraordinary. . . . Orringer has delivered a story with a splendid cast of characters and an intoxicating portrait of a time and place. . . . There’s suspense and tragedy, unexpected twists and deliverance.” —The Seattle Times
“Passionate and thoroughgoing. . . . [The Flight Portfolio] brings to light a truly inspiring episode in history.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Varian Fry lit a small, bright lamp in a world of darkness, and in the deft hands of Julie Orringer—under the spell of her masterful prose, her feeling portraiture, her classic spy-thriller plotting, and her vivid re-creation of that beautiful and terrible world—I found the radiance of Fry’s courage, flawed humanity, and steadfast resistance shedding an inexhaustible light on our own ever-darkening time.” —Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow
“The novel seeks a kind of redress: restoring, to history’s vast panorama, a granular sense of how life on the borderlines of fascism feels . . . Orringer’s true subject, the moral peril of being alive, is a grandly timeless—and timely—one.” —T Magazine
“Magnificent. . . . Brilliantly conceived, impeccably crafted, and showcasing Orringer’s extraordinary gifts, this is destined to become a classic.” —Publishers Weekly(starred review)
“The novel exudes atmosphere. . . . Through cinematically detailed descriptions [and] multilayered, nuanced characters both real and imagined, Orringer has breathed life into 1940 France. . . . The Flight Portfoliocompellingly juxtaposes the conflicts and tragedies of a world at war with the equally compelling inner wars of the human soul.” —Pittsburg Post-Gazette
“Meticulous, bighearted, gorgeous, historical, suspenseful, everything you want a novel to be.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less
“Altogether satisfying. . . . An accomplished storyteller at work.” —Kirkus Reviews(starred review)
“Thoughtful and absorbing. . . . Orringer is a meticulous researcher, and the novel’s cloak-and-dagger thrills keep the pace lively.” —BookPage
“Superb. . . . [The Flight Portfolio] will both warm and break your heart.” —Business Insider

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307949714
ISBN-10: 0307949710
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
Pages: 576
Language: English
Series: Vintage Contemporaries