Saturday, July 2, 2016


I liked this one very much. Having read *West With the Night* (Beryl Markham's memoir about training race horses and flying planes), I was a bit leery of a fictionalized treatment. But McLain caught a good deal of Beryl's voice, and so much about Africa in the 1920s, plus aspects of Markham's life that are completely omitted from Markham's own account (including her husbands!) that I was very satisfied. Plus, many of her sentences just sing, in a way that caused me some serious writer's envy :). Many of her more poetic bits are reserved for the scenery of Africa or other characters; her dialog is brisk and brief. "It's not at all long before the last bits of light rinse from the ragged edge of the sky, and then there's only the rain and the smell of petrol." "High overhead, ribbons of stars swirled like milk and a sickle moon lay hard and bright on its side." Of Denys Finch Hatton: "There was an ease and a confidence in him too, that seemed to pull the room toward him, as if he were its anchor or axis." She reuses some traits--several women have feathery brows, and there is a bit too much "bolting." But these quibbles are tiny. I read the book in one day, on a plane home. Would recommend to most of the women readers I know.

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