Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Circling the Sun: A Novel by Paula McLain

Circling the Sun
A Novel
by Paula McLain
Hardcover, 384 pages
Publisher: Bond Street Books

Circling the Sun is an absolutely beautiful book. The setting, the times, the people, and especially the main character - a woman very much out of her time. 

I don't know how Paula McLain does it, but she brings you right into Kenya in the twenties. I felt everything Beryl felt. Her longings, her shames, hopes, disappointments, struggles and triumphs.

She has brought this puzzle of a woman to life, in full colour. 

The book envelopes you and takes you away. And that is the best thing a book can do.

From the Back Flap:

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife, takes readers to Kenya in the 1920s, where the beautiful young horse trainer, adventurer and aviator Beryl Markham tells the story of her life among the glamorous and decadent circle of British expats living in colonial East Africa--and the complicated love triangle she shared with the white hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa.

    Brought to Kenya as a small child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised both by her father--a racehorse trainer--and the native Kipsigis tribe on her father's land. Her unconventional upbringing transforms her into a daring young woman, with a love of all things wild, but everything she knows and trusts dissolves when her father's farm goes bankrupt. Reeling from the scandal and heartbreak, Beryl is catapulted into a disastrous marriage at the age of 16. Finally she makes the courageous decision to break free, forging her own path as a horse trainer and shocking high society in the process. The British colony has never seen a woman as determined and fiery as Beryl. Before long, she catches the eye of the fascinating and bohemian Happy Valley set, including writer Karen Blixen and her lover Denys Finch Hatton, who will later be immortalized in Blixen's memoir, Out of Africa. The three become embroiled in a complex triangle that changes the course of Beryl's life, setting tragedy in motion while awakening her to her truest self and her fate: to fly.

PAULA McLAIN is the author of The Paris Wife, as well as two collections of poetry; a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Cleveland with her family.