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“This book was a joy to read. There isn't really much of a storyline, and there is no plot, so it wasn't the sort of book that makes you want to finish quickly. It is more the sort of book where you simply want to enjoy letting the words wash over you.”see full review » see other reviews »
“I like the visual style and storytelling feel-- more like fable, really. After reading other documents, I know she left a lot out (!) but I still like how this book portrays a time and person. Contrasts nicely with 'Don't Let's go to the Dogs tonight'!”Carol R wrote this review 8 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Made me want to be a pilot! Beryl Markum is an exceptional writer. She really knows how to craft a story.”duceya wrote this review Saturday, November 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The book is a memoir by Beryl Markham, a pioneering record-breaking aviator and horse-trainer. Born in 1902, she came to Kenya when she was around four-years-old and grew up there, and the book covers the years from that childhood to her record-making crossing of the Atlantic in 1936. Her prose in this book was absolutely, utterly beautiful. Don't trust my judgement? Well, maybe you'll take Ernest Hemingway's word for it:
Did you read Beryl Markham's book, West With The Night?... As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers. The only parts of it that I know about personally, on account of having been there at the time and heard the other people's stories, are absolutely true... I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book.
It's particularly her description of Africa I found so mesmerizing. She describes being mauled by a lion, hunting boar with the native Nandi and her brave dog in childhood, scouting elephants for hunts in her biplane, and her experiences with horses from helping one give birth to the breaking of a horse (from the horse's point of view in "Royal Exile") to watching a horse she trained run a race. Writing wise, if anything marred this book, it was that this feels more like a collection of linked short stories than a memoir. Wonderful, beautifully told stories, but I felt that as a memoir it didn't feel connected enough--didn't feel as if it ended so much as it just stopped. Moreover, when I looked up Markham after finishing, I have to admit that (perhaps unfairly) I was annoyed to learn all she had left out. Nothing about her mother, who I had assumed had died before she could remember her--but it turned out had left them. Nothing about her husband she had been married to for 15 years at the time of publication: not a mention--I had assumed she was unmarried. Nothing about her friendship with Karen Blixen (Isak Dineson, author of Out of Africa) with whom she reputedly shared two lovers!
But the picture of colonial Kenya--the people, the landscape, and the wildlife (and her dog Buller and horse Camciscan)--definitely makes this book worth the read.”
“This was an interesting autobiography about a very accomplished woman.”Deborah G wrote this review Tuesday, September 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Book Club Pick”Becky17 wrote this review Tuesday, May 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“an absolutely fascinating book, recommended by a friend. It was hard to put it down and I was sorry when it ended.”Barb S wrote this review Thursday, April 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Given my love for Out of Africa and Karen Blixen, it surprises me that I had not learned of the remarkable Beryl Markham earlier. What an inspiring and suspenseful account of a well lived life. I am with Hemingway - read it.”Leslie T wrote this review Wednesday, April 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Beautifully written book. No extra words. For those interested in Africa in 1920's and 1930's. Note that the illustrated version is well worth the price. This is a very handsome volumne and top-notch book binding.”Walter H. Pierce wrote this review Thursday, March 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“nice historical of Africa and I like true stories”TrishPhillips wrote this review Tuesday, March 12, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No