This story of two feckless brothers who nearly became pioneers of aviation is deftly told in the language and format of an encyclopaedia entry. I love Mangla’s story, it’s ridiculous, funny and dark, and such a brilliant example of getting the tone of your piece exactly right and how much can be conveyed by the perfect phrase in the perfect place (“gravely impaired judgement”, “an impeccable collection of ivory mustache combs”). This is a story about family, about striving, about failure. And it’ll also make you laugh.
First published in BOOTH, 2015 and available to read online here