When Kim Roth hears on the kitchen radio that flight FIN 770, bound for London from New York, has crashed off Long Island that evening, she realises that she doesn't know which of the many London-bound flights her mother had just taken. A call to her sister Anna in Johannesburg confirms her worst fears. She is asked to go to the crisis centre in the ballroom of an airport hotel, where five hundred bereaved relatives are told of the plane's three mile descent into the Atlantic. The mechanisms for dealing with tragedy on a massive scale are swiftly put in place; the refrigerated trucks, the grief counsellors, the briefings about the debris field. Rumours of missiles and friendly fire begin to circulate. A fragile comradeship forms among the bereaved. And Kim is forced to re-examine the bitterness and recriminations of her forty-year relationship with her mother, culminating in the final irony of having persuaded her to fly from South Africa to New York.
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