Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories” as Want to Read:
The Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  34 reviews
These eight stories share many of the themes and interests found in West with the Night—Ms. Markham's lifelong fascination with horses, her experiences as a pilot, and her deep love for Africa.
Hardcover, 139 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by North Point Press (first published 1987)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Splendid Outcast, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  318 ratings  ·  34 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
These short stories not on par with West with the Night in terms of style or quality (which may lend validity to the claim that WwtN wasn't 100% Beryl's writing).

Nonetheless, I still enjoyed all the stories and look forward to reading a biography of this intrepid and fascinating woman.

Dec 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dof-didnotfinish
I loved West With the Night, so I was looking forward to this one. Pah! Let's establish right up front that when I was a kid we had horses. I love their soft velvety lips with the prickly chin whiskers, their smooth coats, the way they twitch their skin to flick off the flies, their welcoming nickers, the way they swoosh air out their nostrils, their horsey, sweaty smell.

But they're animals, dammit. I've had it with books that give them human characteristics. As if horse characteristics were
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I remember Beryl Markham's "West With the Night" (which I read 29 years ago) as one of my favorite books ever. Several of these stories seem an extension of her autobiography, and all are beautifully written -- reminding me of the value of punch and brevity in a short story. Plus she writes exquisitely about horses...
Many of these stories are of interest more for historical value--and as fuel to the continued debate about Markham's authorship of West with the Night--than as literature. Even the editor admits that some, particularly those in the third section, are trite, pablum written for the sake of an income rather than out of any real artistic drive. But there are a few gems here. "Something I Remember" comes closest to capturing the tone of West with the Night, and "The Splendid Outcast" packs tension ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The last three stories are a little on the romantic side but I did enjoy the book as whole.
Aug 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: "Out of Africa" fans
Shelves: world, women, african
Consider this a distilled "Out of Africa." The same type of story of a strong woman making a name for herself in the wilds of colonial Africa, with romantic entanglements along the way, is here in "Splendid Outcast." There's even airplane piloting, as in "Out of Africa," but this time the woman is driving. I liked Beryl Markham better than Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen because she was a little spunkier and more charming. I read this as a young adult and it has stayed with me all these years - ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who appreciates excellent short literature.
The only thing more stunning than the lyrical prose of these short stories is the unbelievable fact of them being almost unknown today. They were mostly printed in American magazines such as: Collier's, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, etc. during the late 1940's. Since then they were mostly forgotten until 1987 when they were collected into this anthology by Mary S. Lovell. It would be like ignoring the "elephant in the room," not to mention the controversy that hangs over all Beryl Markham's ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having recently read "Circling the Sun", a historical fiction about Beryl Markham, I was inspired to read stories written by Beryl Markham. This book of short stories was a wonderful introduction to the world of adventure that Ms. Markham lived.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
The stories were uneven, but gave more insight into Beryl's life. Worth reading!
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Based on her book West into the Night I was expecting something awesome. These stories were definitely not in the same category.
Laurel Kathleen
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reminded me of the O Henry short stories where there's always twist at the end. A mash of up those with her awesome autobiography "West With the Night".
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Flashes of brilliance, but a big letdown after West with the Night, one of the most beautiful books I've read.
Lisa Taylor
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Well written short stories of Africa, horse racing and flying
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great set of fiction writing from one of my favorite aviation authors - wish she had written more!
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Although not as well written as West with The Night, this book of short stories by the same author is a nice companion to it.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it liked it
A collection of 8 stories written by Beryl Markham, who is famous for her transAtlantic flight detailed in West with the Night. The stories have to do mostly with her time in Africa training racehorses. The stories were fine, but I didn't find them very memorable. There has been controversy that Beryl Markham didn't actually write her seminal work. Honestly, considering 4 of the 8 stories were co-written with her husband, I could see some validity in the case against her. I read one story a day, ...more
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Actually, since the compiler said that the last four of the eight stories were ghostwritten, I only read the first four. They were all good, but I especially liked the fourth. The first three stories might have been at home as chapters of Beryl's wonderful memoir, West with the Night, but the fourth, "Brothers Are the Same", was written in the third person about a protagonist, clearly not Beryl, inside whose skin she nevertheless puts the reader with vivid immediacy.
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a series of short stories or essays. The first three are excellent and the others very good. Be sure to read the introduction. The richness of her writing is reminiscent of her autobiography 'West With The Night'. Ernest Hemingway said this about that book and it's author: "...She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer....[She] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers. I wish you would get it and read it ...more
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Carol by: Phil
Another book read while I was in Africa. Although there are debates concerning the actual authorship of the stories in this book, I think they should be read and enjoyed as they are no matter who wrote them! Each of the stories has connection to the interesting life of Beryl Markham, either as a pilot, horse trainer or world traveler. Some of the "happy ending" stories were obviously written for the women's magazine readers in the 1940's, but they all contain fascinating details about like in ...more
Feb 04, 2017 added it
Recommended to Liz by: Mom
Her writing is lovely, although the subject matter is remote from my interests.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa, fiction
After West With the Night, this book was a tremendous let down. There are a few gems of short stories in this book, but they are few and far between. Some of the short stories are co-written with another author and they lose the poetic beauty that was found in WWTN. The characters are mostly flat and stereotyped. I would not recommend reading the entire book, but rather picking out the worthwhile selections.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bio-memoirs, africa
This is another Beryl Markham biography that is not at all flattering. Someone else actually wrote it when she was quite old already. I was quite disillusioned actually. She was profoundly selfish. I rather wish I'd never read it. It was ages ago. It does have nice old photographs which are probably the best part of the book.
Davney Stahley
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Not great literature, but as I loved Out of Africa I wanted to read it. I, who was not a great horse lover as a young girl and really don't know much about horses, did enjoy the "horse chapters". The flying chapters, while interesting, were a bit sophomoric. Yet, I do love Beryl Markham.
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2009
I read some of her horse stories in anthologies of 'horse stories for girls' as a child, and read 'West with the Night' in my 20s. I'm imprinted, so I enjoyed some of this collection. Your mileage may vary.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed these African stories. I also plan to read West With the Night by the same author, Beryl Markham.
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Some of the stories are just marvelous and writing so descriptive. Other stories didn't seem fully flushed out.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
"They are not without courage, but they are without resource."
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Delightful . . . collaboration or not !
Catherine Richmond
This is the rare instance where an author's life is so interesting that her fiction pales in comparison to her autobiography.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Abbess of Crewe
  • Vestire gli Ignudi
  • The Oasis of Now: Selected Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Out of Africa
  • Straight on Till Morning: A Biography of Beryl Markham
  • Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented
  • The Driver's Seat
  • Circling the Sun
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Hedda Gabler
  • Twelve Angry Men
  • Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting
  • Silent Days, Silent Dreams
  • Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow
  • Six Degrees of Separation
  • Panati's Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody
  • The Figure in the Shadows (Lewis Barnavelt, #2)
See similar books…
Born in England, Beryl (Clutterbuck) Markham moved to a farm near the Great Rift Valley in Kenya (then British East Africa) with her family when she was four years old. She spent an adventurous childhood among native Africans and became the first licensed female horse trainer in Kenya.

She continued to be a non-conformist and trailblazer in both her professional and personal lives, marrying several