Landing Gear

A Novel

Landing Gear

From the award-winning author of The Mistress of Nothing comes a highly imaginative story of colliding worlds and extraordinary connections, revealing the tenuous, often unexpected ties that bind us together.

When everything was falling apart, someone fell into place…

Suburban London housewife Harriet spends her days doing what she’s worst at. She grocery shops for her family who eats too much, parents a son who refuses to communicate, and tries to be a wife to a man who hasn’t embraced her in years. But what starts out as a mundane trip to the supermarket turns her world upside down when a mysterious man named Yacub falls out of the sky from the landing gear of an airplane and lands on her car in the parking lot—and survives. He’s starving and freezing cold—what else can she do other than bring him home to her family?

Suddenly her son has stepped away from the video games and her husband is looking at her once again—even if it’s because they think she’s crazy for taking in a complete stranger who stinks of gas. And just who is Yacub, this young man who escaped from a Dubai labor camp and stowed away in the belly of the plane to travel around the world? Is it an extraordinary coincidence that he’s dropped into Harriet’s life just as a long-buried secret from her past threatens to come to light?

Inspired by real-life accounts of airplane stowaways, Landing Gear showcases the complex texture of modern life, and how we sometimes need help seeing what’s right in front of us.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476751382 | 
  • May 2014


Kate Pullinger on LANDING GEAR

: Award-winning author Kate Pullinger discusses her new novel LANDING GEAR, a highly imaginative story of colliding worlds and extraordinary connections.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Landing Gear includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Kate Pullinger. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Spring 2010. A volcano unexpectedly erupts in Iceland and airspace is shut down over Europe. Harriet works in local radio in London, and with most of her colleagues abroad, she seizes a unique career opportunity. Her husband, Michael, stuck in New York on business, travels to visit an old flame, and their teenage son, Jack, feeling liberated from normal life, takes an unexpected risk only to find himself in trouble. Meanwhile Emily, a young TV researcher, loses her adoptive father to a heart attack, and half a world away, a Pakistani migrant worker named Yacub is stranded in a Dubai labor camp.

Two years later, Yacub, attempting to stow away, falls out of the landing gear of an airplane onto Harriet’s car in a London supermarket parking lot—and survives—while Emily accidentally captures it all on film. Yacub’s sudden arrival in the lives of Harriet, Jack, Michael, and Emily catapults these characters into a series of life-changing events, ultimately revealing the tenuous, often unexpected tie see more

More Books from this Author

The Mistress of Nothing

About the Author

Kate Pullinger
Photo by Jonathan Bean/Litfest

Kate Pullinger

Kate Pullinger is the author of several novels and collections of short stories and collaborated with Jane Campion on the novelization of the film The Piano. The Mistress of Nothing, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, was her American debut. She lives in London. Visit her website at