Women's Classic Literature Enthusiasts discussion

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West with the Night > West With the Night: Whole Book (Spoilers Allowed)

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message 1: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Discussion for the whole book.


message 2: by Ginny (last edited Aug 03, 2018 05:29PM) (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 190 comments It seems there is a controversy about who actually wrote this book. I am reminded of Frankenstein--there are a very dedicated few who absolutely maintain that Percy Bysshe Shelley was the real author, although the evidence is it was written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. In her book The Lives of Beryl Markham, Errol Trzebinski supposedly "sets the question of authorship to rest" with evidence (?) that it was actually written by Beryl's third husband, Raoul Schumacher. This idea is dismissed by Paula McLain. https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...

The prose is brilliant, and the argument is made that this writing came out of nowhere. Schumacher was a writer, and claimed (after Beryl left him) that "Markham had written “not one damned word”. A fascinating character and intriguing stories. Can it all be considered classic literature?


message 3: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Thank you for the article, I loved the point about how her accomplishments seem to be more of a footnote to her love life. Totally doesn't surprise me.

I'll be interested to see what my fellow readers think of the "controversy". Do you think she wrote it or is this another case of a man taking credit for something he didn't do?


message 4: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1205 comments Mod
I really wonder if the "controversy" is just that the book's content isn't what people expect from a woman. I haven't quite finished yet, but so far there isn't anything about a personal life or her marriages that would have happened.

I did come across this bio http://womanpilot.com/?p=67


message 5: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Charlene wrote: "I really wonder if the "controversy" is just that the book's content isn't what people expect from a woman. I haven't quite finished yet, but so far there isn't anything about a personal life or he..."

That's so sad. I wonder why more people don't know of her?


message 6: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (burmisgal) | 190 comments Charlene wrote: "I really wonder if the "controversy" is just that the book's content isn't what people expect from a woman. I haven't quite finished yet, but so far there isn't anything about a personal life .."

I liked the fact that what was important to her were the stories. Perhaps a bit embellished, but each one full of humour and suspense. I didn't realize until the end that she never talked about her sex life. Quite a relief, really. Just what a memoir should be, in my opinion. Great adventures with a little or no self-pity and recrimination.


message 7: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1205 comments Mod
Anastasia wrote: "Charlene wrote: "I really wonder if the "controversy" is just that the book's content isn't what people expect from a woman. I haven't quite finished yet, but so far there isn't anything about a pe..."

Also, from what is presented in the book, Beryl would be a good role model for girls. She accomplished so much in a much more restrictive time period.

But I did not get the impression that Beryl was financially insecure. So the fact that she had money probably helped her be able to achieve her accomplishments.

Location probably was a key factor too. I am not sure if I think she would have accomplished as much if she had lived in England her whole life. It felt like there were less restrictions on Beryl in Kenya.

It did seem like Beryl was upper class in Kenya even if she was training race horses or flying.


message 8: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1205 comments Mod
I did put Straight on Till Morning: A Biography of Beryl Markham on hold at the local library and should be able to pick it up after work.


message 9: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
After reading through the book I just find it hard to believe that someone who hadn't been there to experience those things had written it. Perhaps her husband gave her some tips but....I don't know it just doesn't seem like something someone who wasn't there could write about.


message 10: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
There are a lot of good quotes in this book, I kept having to pull out my quote book to write them down.

Did anyone else feel at the beginning that she sounded....very colonially? I felt like there was a difference in tone/attitude towards Africa and its people from Book 1 vs Books 2-4.


message 11: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1205 comments Mod
I just finished up Straight on Till Morning: A Biography of Beryl Markham.

So I think why not many know about her is that her son died in 1970s. She has 2 grand daughters but was never acquainted with.

She spent the last years of her life living on the charity of her friends. Plus she was apparently very financially irresponsible and left a lot of debt around unpaid. So there was never anyone actually invested in keeping her accomplishments remembered.

Plus she never talked about those accomplishments much so friends probably assumed she didn't care for the accomplishments.


message 12: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Charlene wrote: "I just finished up Straight on Till Morning: A Biography of Beryl Markham.

So I think why not many know about her is that her son died in 1970s. She has 2 grand daughters but was nev..."


Was the book published during her lifetime? Or afterwards? She seemed to care somewhat in the book.


message 13: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1205 comments Mod
Anastasia wrote: "Charlene wrote: "I just finished up Straight on Till Morning: A Biography of Beryl Markham.

So I think why not many know about her is that her son died in 1970s. She has 2 grand daug..."


Straight on Till Morning was published right toward the end of Beryl's life and the author did interview her. The book did seem well researched. But it was also the only biography about Beryl Markham that was at my local public library.

Straight on Till Morning did align with West with the Night. Once Beryl got into flying, she stopped horse training which West with the Night implied. So when she was writing her book; flying was dropped. When she went back to horse training in the mid 1950s, she didn't write after that. It was like she didn't talk about different chapters of her life after they were closed.

Straight on Till Morning did imply that Beryl stopped flying was her friend Tom Campbell Black's death. Whether or not that was the reason, I am not sure I completely believe it.


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