Airport Novella is a literary supercut, collecting the most common gestures in airport novels. Its four chapters are each dedicated to a particular gesture: nodding, shrugging, odd looks and gasps. Fragments from blockbuster novels like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series nod along beside lesser known works like Trump Tower: A Novel, commissioned by Trump himself and written bestselling author Jeffrey Robinson.
Drawing from the literary collage of Kathy Acker’s Great Expectations and George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, Airport Novella consists entirely of quotations, repurposing fragments of popular fiction to create a new work. Comitta uses a collage technique similar to Christian Marclay’s Telephone and the supercut, that staple of YouTube culture in which patterns found in movies and television are collaged into a single video. He transposes these video techniques in an examination of the most filmic of all literature: the airport novel. In fact, many of the quoted books have already been adapted into movies; some, like those in the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer series, are actually novelizations of TV shows. A full list of sourced texts is included at the end of the book.
As with any good supercut, the repetitions in Airport Novella are both humorous and thought provoking, exposing ideologies hidden — and sometimes not so hidden— between the lines. Reading Airport Novella, it is easy to see how “nodding” is dominated by masculine characters in mystery novels, while “shrugging” is largely relegated to romance. “Odd looks” span genres and mimic the paranoia of contemporary culture, while “gasps” dance between anxiety and climactic release, an oscillation so frequent in this novella that there’s little room for denouement.