April 21, 2021

Circling the Sun: Book by Paul McLain

Author Paula McLain continues to be one of the darlings of historical fiction with her latest book, Circling the Sun. The main character is horse-trainer/aviatrix Beryl Markham who was part of a love triangle in Kenya with Karen Blixen (better known as Isak Dinesen who wrote Out of Africa) and safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton.

The book captures the flavor of colonial Africa in the 1920s while imagining the thoughts of the independent-minded Ms. Markham. Beryl grew up motherless and was raised by her father and the Kpsigis tribe who shared their estate. We follow her life through bad relationships, financial worries and her success as a trainer of race-winning horses.

In all honesty, while a compelling read, Circling the Sun is not as successful as The Paris Wife. For a better snapshot of the era, the African setting and the woman, read Beryl Markham’s own memoir, West With the Night. No less than Ernest Hemingway wrote “this girl can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers … it really is a bloody wonderful book.”

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