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Air Burial

Novel | On the road with grief, loss and all the things love can mean. 

Published by Carroll & Graf

Grief opens doors, sometimes unexpected ones, as Caroline Davies, a 29-year-old event planner, is about to discover. In Chicago to bury her father, Caroline has orchestrated the funeral down to the make-up on his face. Why, then, does she feel so blank? After indulging in a few too many – strong drinks, harsh words, taboo kisses – Caroline runs away. Her partner in crime is 58-year-old Virgil Harris, her uncle, who’s on the run from secrets of his own. 

Praise for Air Burial


“…explores the varieties and intensity of love with wisdom and eloquence.”

  • Robert Stone


“Jean Shields seems to have discovered a new, wonderfully paradoxical genre: the realistic romance. Air Burial is a sensual odyssey – on the road, of the heart, in the body – always attending to the pressing questions of desire and intoxication, never settling for simple answers, and meanwhile employing an astonishingly lyrical and intelligent prose style. There’s nowhere you wouldn’t trust this writer to take you.”

  • Antonya Nelson

"...soulful yet unsentimental."

  • Publishers Weekly

Cover of the novel Air Burial, by writer Jean Shields Fleming.
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