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The Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories (1987)

by Beryl Markham, Mary S. Lovell (Editor)

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2518106,288 (3.54)25
A collection of stories by the amazing Englishwoman Beryl Markham known during her life primarily as a daredevil aviator.

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Beryl Markham's [West with the Night] is one of my all-time favorite books, and [[Mary Lovell]] made a career out of biographies of aviatrix from that time, so this was an easy choice. Lovell divides the stories up by who she speculates may have contributed to them, deciding the last few were, at best, collaborations between Markham and her husband or others. Interestingly, the earlier stories are the better of the bunch, suggesting that the collaborations may have done little more for Markham than obscure her own talents. All of the stories feature strong women; many feature aviation; and some feature horses - again cementing Markham's influence whether she wrote every word or not, and I'm betting she wrote them all only relying on her collaborators for editing.

The collection, and the individual stories, are not up to the quality of [West with the Night], but that shouldn't argue against reading the book if you're interested in Markham and her exploits. Lovell's interludes explaining the impetus for the stories and how they fit into Markham's life are worth the read alone.

4 bones!!!!
Recommended ( )
  blackdogbooks | Dec 27, 2022 |
The stories in this collection originally appeared in magazines such as Collier's, Ladies Home Journal, The Saturday Evening post, etc in the 1940's. Beryl Markham's biographer Mary S. Lovell began putting the collection together prior to the author's death and after the success of the republication of [West With The Night]. The author passed away just before it was published. To someone familiar with Markham's life whether from Lovell's book, or Paula McLain's [Circling the Sun] or the television documentary in the late 80's 'World Without Walls' the first couple stories will fit in as pieces to what we have read and heard before. Lovell writes a very good intro to each story and notes where and when it was originally published. Lovell thinks these early stories were enhanced from real events and are not really 'true' stories but built from things in Markham's life.

There has always been a controversy over how much of Beryl Markham's stories were written by her. Lovell thinks that three of the last four stories of the eight here were written by her husband based loosely on ideas from Markham. They are apparently in a writing style similar to the husband and quite different from Beryl's other writings. These were all originally published under the name Beryl Markham. I found each of the stories interesting but the interest varied. Worth reading for those familiar with Beryl Markham but none of these wowed me. I was hoping for something much more. ( )
  RBeffa | Aug 28, 2020 |
From the author of West with the Night comes an enthralling collection of eight short stories written by Beryl Markham that brilliantly captures the spirit of this fascinating and utterly beguiling woman...all set in Africa, explore the author's fascination with horses, her experiences as a pilot, and her love for Africa.
Written in the '40s for magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal and Collier's, these eight stories belong both to their time and to their author, the aviatrix and horse-trainer whose bestselling "West with the Night" detailing her 1936 solo flight east to west across the Atlantic was recently reissued. About horses, flying and romance, the early autobiographical stories in particular are vivid with details of African custom and landscape gleaned from the author's early life in Kenya. The last four stories, more obviously fictional and broadly romantic, are likely collaborative efforts of Markham with either her third husband, writer Raoul Schumacher, or her friend and fellow writer, Stuart Cloete; they are more commercial and less satisfying. That this accomplished woman wrote tales so determinedly romantic seems rather odd; yet, as Mary S. Lovell observes in helpful and clearly written introductions, such was the magazine market in those war years. West with the Night and this volume comprise Markham's known written work. ( )
  MasseyLibrary | Mar 14, 2018 |
My first thought starting this book was, it's no West With the Night. And it isn't, but it has a separate charm. She's a natural storyteller and the words seem to flow together with ease. Some of these short stories are legitimate page-turners. Had I read this book first and then discovered the clearly superior West With the Night, I would have wept at the thought that this was all there would be from her. West was so engaging and beautiful and profound. But catching the short stories second became a fresh and knowingly brief respite. If you just read one Markham, make it West With the Night. Yet you won't regret reading both, so do give it a shot. ( )
  libbromus | Oct 6, 2015 |
Read during Summer 2003

A collection of short stories mostly written by Beryl Markham(some are suspected ghostwritten by her third husband.) They had previously only been published in magazines and were collected by Mary Lovell during her researchs for her biography of Markham. The first few of life in Africa are wonderful and very reminiscent of 'West with the Night' but the later tales are, as Lovell notes, overly romantic and written perhaps to make some money in the post war years. Still, very enjoyable.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Markham, Berylprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovell, Mary S.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Beryl's grandaughters Fleur and Valery
In memory of their father Gervase Markham
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