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Circling the Sun: A Novel by Paula McLain
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Circling the Sun: A Novel (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Paula McLain

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9751348,833 (3.94)102
Member:Jaylia3
Title:Circling the Sun: A Novel
Authors:Paula McLain
Info:Ballantine Books (2015), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Beryl Markham, historical fiction, Africa

Work details

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (2015)

  1. 20
    Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Tanya-dogearedcopy)
  2. 10
    West with the Night by Beryl Markham (Tanya-dogearedcopy)
  3. 00
    Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O'Keeffe by Dawn Tripp (Limelite)
    Limelite: Georgia O'Keefe and Beryl Markham were two fiercely independent women determined to carve their own lives outside of acceptable societal norms. Two passionate women, capable of great love, sacrifice, and thirst for a full life. I think they would have admired and liked each other.… (more)
  4. 00
    A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn (carriehh)
    carriehh: Africa, 1920s
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» See also 102 mentions

English (136)  Italian (1)  All (137)
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
This is a fascinating read for its portrayal of the English colonists in Kenya in the early 20th century. Their attitudes to land ownership there was hard to relate to. The tale of Beryl Markham, a woman unknown to me historically, was interesting and once again this author has both informed and entertained. ( )
  HelenBaker | May 25, 2017 |
Beryl Markham had an unconventional childhood in Africa, abandoned by her mother at age 4 and raised by her horse-trainer father. She later went on to become a horse trainer and pilot, and had a string of disastrous romantic relationships. This account of her life is based on Markham's own book, incorporating other sources to fill in the gaps. Highly recommended for those who enjoy history, stories about Africa in the 1920s, and biographies of remarkable women. ( )
  Gingermama | May 10, 2017 |
I listened to the audiobook version of this book and while I very much enjoy audiobooks I do wonder if it changes my perception of the book. By the way the narrator was excellent. I admired Beryl Markham's courage and perseverance though I felt like the author, too frequently, placed her on a pedestal, that even her missteps, e.g., marrying the wrong man more than once, was not a fault. A more nuanced perspective would have been better. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book for its depiction of a strong woman so able and willing to cross gender roles in the 1st half of the 20th century. Also for the many characters significant in Beryl's life and the wonderful description of her part of Africa. ( )
  debann6354 | May 4, 2017 |
This first person narrative is a historical fiction account of Beryl Clutterbutt, a really good story which I enjoyed very much.
She spends her formative years on a horse farm in Kenya in Ngoni, near Nairobi with her father. Her mother leaves the family and returns to England when Beryl is 4 years old. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1931. Prior to that her life was full of unsupervised play on the farm and with her African friends. She becomes an unconventional, modern, determined, independent, liberal thinking woman, who sets out on her own as a horse trainer. She mingles and socializes with the British upper class which has settled on huge farms in the area. Their excess and social mores are an interesting study on their own, the Happy Valley Set. She becomes great friends with author Karen Blixen and then Denys Finch Hatton. After a failed first marriage, she marries English Nobleman Mansfield Markham, with whom she has a son. Markham refuses to go back to Kenya with their son, son Beryl returns alone.
It is Denys, her lover, who introduces her to flying, at which she excels.
I really enjoyed the book because it is well written, Markham's life is really interesting and she is surrounded by eccentric and conventional characters. The descriptions of Kenya are breathtaking. ( )
  MaggieFlo | May 2, 2017 |
Beryl Markham was the first woman to successfully fly across the Atlantic from east to west. Circling the Sun is the fictionalized story of her life, but based on many historical facts. I already knew from the book and movie Out of Africa that life among the white settlers in Kenya in the 1920s was decadent and hedonistic, and I knew that a character based on Markham appeared in the movie. I learned much more about her life in Circling the Sun. Raised by her distant father, married (for the first time) at an early age, she made her own rules because the ones that existed simply didn't apply to her. She became a horse trainer, and much later a pilot, though women weren't "supposed" to do either of those. She flitted in and out of romantic and sexual relationships as she pleased. She didn't think she always made the right decisions, but lived with the consequences. She was a writer too--although that isn't mentioned in this story. Her memoir, West With the Night, is apparently not well known, but was admired by Ernest Hemingway. ( )
  cherybear | Apr 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paula McLainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blanchette, Dana LeighDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chapman, IsabelleTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dinçer, YaseminÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klynstra, LauraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McEwan, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simeonova, IlinaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suursalu, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
The Vega Gull is peacock blue with silver wings, more splendid than any bird I've known, and somehow mine to fly.
Quotations
Before Kenya was Kenya, when it was millions of years old and yet still somehow new, the name belonged only to our most magnificent mountain.
Her absence was still so loud and so heavy, I ached with it, feeling hollow and lost.  I didn't know how to forget my mother any more than my father knew how he might comfort me.  He pulled me—long limbed and a little dirty, as I always seemed to be—onto his lap, and we sat like that quietly for a while.
I grew as tall as Kibii and then taller, running just as swiftly through the tall gold grasses, our feet floured with dust.
This was certain: I belonged on the farm and in the bush.  I was part of the thorn trees and the high jutting escarpment, the bruised-looking hills thick with vegetation; the deep folds between the hills, and the high cornlike grasses.  I had come alive here, as if I'd been given a second birth, and a truer one.  This was my home, and though one it would all trickle through my fingers like so much red dust, for as long as childhood lasted it was a heaven fitted exactly to me.  A place I knew by heart.  The place in the world I'd been made for.
Chpt 62:  Karen buried Denys on the farm, as she knew he wanted it, at the crest of Lamwia, along the Ngong ridge. ... No one could challenge their bond, or doubt how she had loved him.  Or how truly he had been hers.  One day she was going to write about him -- write "him" in such a way that would seal the two of them together for ever.  And from those pages, I would be absent.
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Book description
Haiku summary
Girl loves Africa -
Raises horses; learns to fly -
Soars across ocean
(Time2Read2)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345534182, Hardcover)

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Praise for Paula McLain and The Paris Wife

“McLain has brought Hadley [Hemingway] to life in a novel that begins in a rush of early love. . . . A moving portrait of a woman slighted by history, a woman whose . . . story needed to be told.”The Boston Globe

The Paris Wife creates the kind of out-of-body reading experience that dedicated book lovers yearn for, nearly as good as reading Hemingway for the first time—and it doesn’t get much better than that.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Exquisitely evocative . . . This absorbing, illuminating book gives us an intimate view of a sympathetic and perceptive woman, the striving writer she married, the glittering and wounding Paris circle they were part of. . . . McLain reinvents the story of Hadley and Ernest’s romance with the lucid grace of a practiced poet.”The Seattle Times

“A novel that’s impossible to resist . . . It’s all here, and it all feels real.”People

“Powerful and devastating . . . McLain pulls off a delicate balancing act, making the macho Hemingway of myth a complex and sympathetic figure.”USA Today

“A sweet love story with surprising emotional impact.”Chicago Sun-Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:43 -0400)

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