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Great Circle

by Maggie Shipstead

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4542542,861 (4.17)1 / 66

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» See also 66 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
It got returned to the library about halfway through, and I had been losing patience (the era of Barclay, another selfish, abusive man who claims his cruelty is passion), but I am so glad I returned to it--the end is beautiful and thrilling. ( )
  Bruyere_C | Dec 2, 2021 |
Epic and engaging. ( )
  martinhughharvey | Nov 16, 2021 |
I would be pressing this into everyone's hands if it weren't so damn long. So enjoyable, from the seafaring to the feral childhoods to the Kristen Stewart-style self-destructive starlet sections. I don't doubt that in years to come I'll still think of Marian Graves as a pioneering pilot, even though she's not real. ( )
  alexrichman | Nov 9, 2021 |
This is a hefty novel (and a heavy one at that in hardback), so I'm physically glad to finish it but very glad I read it.

Despite being a Booker prize short-listed novel, this was never a book that was going to win, but that doesn't mean it's not a hugely rewarding novel to read nonetheless. Its subject matter and style is too pedestrian for what the Booker looks for (rightly or wrongly), but it's an immensely readable epic spanning from 1914 to present day.

Centred around the fictional pilot Marian Graves, whilst her flying story is important the real story is one stemming from childhood loss and a difficulty with accepting love and finding a place in the world. The characters are well drawn out, as is the historical, geographical and aviation detail, all of which was well balanced and served to bring the story to life rather than getting bogged down with unnecessary researched detail (I've read too many books where the author can't drop all the research he or she has painstakingly accumulated).

Whilst Marian is the narrator for much of the book, around 20% of it swaps to the perspective of a modern day Hollywood actress playing Marian in a new film. I can see what Shipstead was trying to do with this, using it as a narrative device to include perspectives that would have been impossible through only Marian's perspective, but I'm not entirely sure it was necessary. These sections seemed a distraction from the main narrative and a bit of a cliché storyline (screwed up rich actress, etc.). 150 pages could probably have been saved by getting rid of this, bringing the novel to a more manageable size.

I'm torn on my review for this. By the end I was closer to 4.5 stars, but somewhere in the middle the end seemed exhaustingly far away so I'll be a little mean spirited and give it 4.

4 stars - an enjoyable sweeping epic that just needs a bit of clipping here and there. ( )
1 vote AlisonY | Nov 6, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Shipstead [...] writes with precision on both macro and micro levels, bringing a sure-footed fluency to descriptions of landscape, potted highlights of aviation history and close-up details of people and places [...]
added by Nevov | editThe Observer, Stephanie Merritt (Jun 14, 2021)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shipstead, Maggieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKenna, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Average: (4.17)
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