West With The Night
Beryl Markham’s life was a true epic, complete with shattered societal expectations, torrid love affairs, and desperate crash landings. A rebel from a young age, the British-born Markham was raised in Kenya’s unforgiving farmlands. Sh ...more
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"Did you read Beryl Markham's book, West with the Night? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could and would put pen to paper except to write in her flyer's log book. 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 ...more
Beryl Markham was the first woman to fly solo o ...more
Beryl Markham was born in England but moved to Kenya with her family when she was 4. She has amazing stories about surviving a lion attack, becoming a bush pilot, training racehorses, and flying solo across the Atlantic -- and she flew the difficult way, from east to west, against the wind. She is my favorite kind of woman to read about: she's tough and adventurous, but also romantic and sentimental.
Growing up in Kenya, this amazing and fearless lady was not only a wild animal hunter, horse trainer and accomplished pilot, she was also a great story teller and writer (IMHO) as evidenced in West With The Night.
Skinning animals, running with the native hunting parties for wild boar, surviving a baboon attack in her room and a near death encounter with a lion are onl...more
You can be assured that this review will in no way be as well written as Beryl Markham's "West with t ...more
(noun; idiomatic) An abundance or overabundance of something; too much of a good thing.
The above perfectly encapsulates my experience of re-reading Beryl Markham's stunning memoir. The only caveat I'd make is that the last part of the definition makes it sound like a bad thing, when in reality the plethora of descriptive and evocative prose to be found within the 294 pages of this book are about as close to reading nirvana as a I am likely to find in my lifetime.
There ar ...more
It is probably sacrilege to have read West with the Night and not to have loved it more.
To be fair, when I read the book I could hardly put it down. It was a charmingly written memoir of what must have been an extraordinarily interesting person. Beryl M ...more
After reading about Beryl Markham in Circling the Sun and giving it 5 stars, I'd heard this memoir was even better. Is truth better than fiction, I wondered.
Her memories flowed like sweet wine and many were familiar from reading the other book. The writing is lovely; impressive. But some of the early chapters dragged. It consistently put me to sleep, often right after making me think how perfect the word choices were. I suspect for me at least some of the story got lost amid the beauty ...more
Really good - interesting and very well written. I admire her pluck more than I did before.
There is some controversy around this book, with some believing it was actually wr ...more
Some of the chapters were way more exciting than others. But overall the writing is quite impressive, considering she wasn't a professional writer. Things were so different in the time she wrote about! Everything was so new----automobiles, airplanes, telephones.
Beryl Markham grew up in British East Africa (now K ...more
I would recommend this book to all my free spirited friends.
OUTSTANDING and perfectly worded to nuance, beauty, dichotomies, dirt to mountain top reality of her East Anglican Africa (now Kenya farmland /plain prime) of the 1910's, 1920's and early 1930's. Rarely, rarely do you read this depth for physical base fact tied sublimely to the artistic judgment supreme- and not ...more
This book h ...more
We swung over the hills and over the town and back again, and I saw how a man can be master of a craft, and how a craft can be master of an element. I saw the alchemy of perspective reduce my world, and all my other life, to grains in a cup. I learned to watch, to put my trust in other hands than mine. And I learned to wander. I learned what every dreaming child needs to know — that no horizon is so far that you cannot get above it or beyond it. These I learned at once. But most things came ...more
A messenger came from the farm with a story to tell. It was not a story that meant much as stories went in those days. It was about how the war progressed in German East Africa and about a tall young man who was killed in it.
I suppose he was no taller than most who were killed there and no better. It was an ordinary story, but Kibii and I, who knew him well, thought there was no story like it, or one as sad, and we think so now.
The yo ...more
"When you flight, you get a feeling of possession that you couldn't have if you owned all of Africa. You feel that everything you see belongs to you - all the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours; not that you want it, but because, when you're alone in a plane, there's no one to hare it. It's there and it's yours. It makes you feel bigger than you are - closer to being something you've sensed you might be capable of, but never had the courage t ...more
So Beryl's life in a nutshell: She moved to Kenya at the age of four and grew up in a farm. She became the first licensed female horse breeder in the world! She ...more
So, I did read it again and, as Ernest Hemingway said, "I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book." For one thing, unlike some of Hemingway's books [Sorr ...more
So.... as I did with Out of Africa, I checked out a biography and (thankfully) got a good one, Errol Trzebinski's "Th ...more
West with the Night is not only a memoir but could also be considered an action/adventure novel as readers get a rare glimpse into the experiences of a woman bush pilot during the 1930s. Although much of the book does focus on aviation, there are other stories interweaved throughout the book describing Beryl Markham's unconve ...more
Several GR friends read this and enjoyed it, so when it was offer on sale for Kindle I picked it up. It got put to the head of the TBR list after I read Circling the Sun by Paula McClain. McClain wrote quite passionately about the brilliant writing in this memoir, and portrayed Markham as a very interesting woman.
McClain is correct when she writes that it is a shame that Markham’s memoir is far less well known and less read than her quasi rival Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa. While both women ar ...more
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She continued to be a non-conformist and trailblazer in both her professional and personal lives, marrying several ...more