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“I want you to do something for me,” I said.

“Sir?”

“I am an old man and I want you to do something for me. Put down your bicycle,” I said. “Put down your bicycle and look up at the stars.”

The story of a father teaching his offspring the stars can’t be a new one. I know my dad and I have spent many nights staring up into the sky while he pointed out planets and constellations. Canin knows this, and rolls with it. When the neighbor and son are looking up into the sky and the father is explaining (wrongly) the names of the constellations the narrator decides to not go through with his plan. The top paragraph on page 16 is somewhat of an “aw” moment. Dad’s don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re sure as heck trying. At least, that is what my own dad tells me. I think what makes this story feel as good to read as it does is because this story is something we can all relate with. A bond with a parent. The other reason this story is just so dang cute is because they all live happily ever after. Once the narrator realizes that the neighbor is really just trying to do the right thing the narrator chooses to not retaliate against the complaints. The narrator aches for the relationship he had as a child. The man is clinging to his childhood and the tree that was such a big part of it, as he sees himself growing older. “Emperor of the Air” is tragic, beautiful, and warms the heart.

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