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West with the Night: A Memoir Paperback – January 22, 2013
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One of the most beautifully crafted books I have ever read, with some of the most poetic prose passages I could imagine, such as the following, resonating with a stately and timeless quality so absent in our modern life:
There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.Born in England in 1902, Markham was taken by her father to East Africa in 1906. She spent her childhood playing with native Maruni children and apprenticing with her father as a trainer and breeder of racehorses. In the 1930s, she became an African bush pilot, and in September 1936, became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Markham's West with the Night was originally published in the early 1940s and disappeared, only to be rediscovered and reprinted in the 1980s when it became a smash hit. This latest incarnation is a lavishly illustrated edition. Though Markham is known for setting an aviation record for a solo flight across the Atlantic from East to West-hence the title-she was also a bush pilot in Africa, sharing adventures with Blor Blixen and Denys Finch-Hatton of Out of Africa fame. Hemingway, who met Markham during his safari days, dubbed the book "bloody wonderful."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Once started I could not stop. Beryl was an incredible writer. Every sentence here is rich in emotion, sensory and time. Had she been more prolific she may have become one of the great writers of her time. But this book is real about an extraordinary woman's life and achievements. From her career in horseracing to being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean we get to relive the time with her as she writes.
As with all books I love I was sad when it ended and even more so that there will be no more books by this woman.
This is not a memoir. It is a series of individual, not necessarily related, stories that stand on their own, each one excellent. If you want to learn about British East Africa in the early 1900's, or read exciting, heart-racing (yours) stories about near-death (and death) experiences, a little girl running with the natives killing lions, hunting wild boar, and later fly-scouting for elephants, a horse race that defies the law of physics, amazing feats in aeroplanes, or if you just want to read a beautifully written book, this would be the one. I'm going to read it again because I liked it that much.
She lived with her father in Kenya (then called British East Africa) at a time when British Colonialism was coming to a close, successfully educated herself as a horse trainer (which was probably unusual for women in the late 1920s/early 1930s, most especially in Kenya), and then became the first female pilot in Africa, going on to break distance records and set records for flying which even males had not yet accomplished. She leaves a great deal out of this book (her many husbands and lovers, many other flights she took, the years she lived in the U,S.), but if you want to know about Africa in the 1920s and 1930s, want to know about horse training, or want to know about flying in that period, then put this fascinating book on your list.