West with the Night

A wet and windy day, and having been out twice already I thought it was time for an indoor Blip!

Having read and enjoyed Karen Blixen's 'Out of Africa' - and of course having seen the film - I bought 'West with the Night' on eBay, Beryl Markham's account of her life in Kenya. She was many things, but maybe best known for being the first woman to fly the Atlantic east to west - against the prevailing wind - and in fact the first person to fly from England to America.

Before writing this I read a number of reviews of both of these books and as often, they ranged from 100% to zero, from 'a book like this comes around only every 500 books' to 'Booooooorrrrrrrrinnnnnnngggggg.

I thought it was truly wonderful! There has been some debate as to whether it was written by her third husband, but whoever wrote it, and I'm assuming until proved otherwise that she did, was a very intelligent, well-educated and perceptive author with a wonderful command of the English language.

Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, as did several of the reviewers, it must be remembered that it was written in 1933 in the day of the big game hunters and that Beryl was very much a woman of her time. If she was living there today I'm sure she wouldn't be locating elephants from the air to direct the hunters in their search for ivory!

All-in-all I thoughly enjoyed the book and found myself going back time after time to read sections again, such is the wonder of the prose. The style maybe faded a little towards the end, almost as if she was in  a hurry to get finished, but I still rate this as an exceptional book.

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