Circling The Sun by Paula Mclainsticker-burst

Circling The Sun

byPaula Mclain

Hardcover | July 28, 2015

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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.

Heather's Review

Great novels transport us, not only to other times and places, but deep inside the hearts and minds of extraordinary people. In The Paris Wife Paula McLain transported us to Paris of the 1920s and the life of Hadley , Ernest Hemingway’s first wife and greatest love. In Circling the Sun she’s done it again with colonial Kenya and the ...

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About The Author

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...
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Details & Specs

Title:Circling The SunFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.53 × 6.62 × 1.44 inPublished:July 28, 2015Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385677219

ISBN - 13:9780385677219

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Bookclub Guide

   1. At the beginning of the book, Beryl reflects that her father’s farm in Njoro was “the one place in the world I’d been made for.” Do you feel this is a fitting way to describe Beryl’s relationship with Kenya, too? Did she seem more suited–more made for–life there than the others in her circle? Is there a place in your life that you would describe the same way?   2. While it is clear he loved his daughter, do you feel Beryl’s father was a good parent? Do you think Beryl would have said he was? Did you sympathize with him at any point?   3. Beryl is forced to be independent from a very young age. How do you think this shaped her personality (for better or for worse)?   4. After Jock’s drunken attack, D fires Beryl and sends her away. Do you understand his decision? Despite all the philandering and indulgent behaviors of the community, do you feel it’s fair that Beryl was being judged so harshly for the incident?   5. How would you describe Beryl and Denys’s relationship? In what ways are they similar souls? How does their first encounter–outside, under the stars at her coming out party–encapsulate the nature of their connection?    6. Karen and Beryl are two strong, iconoclastic women drawn to the same unobtainable man. Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?   7. Why do you believe the author chose the title Circling the Sun? Does it bring to mind a particular moment from the novel or an aspect of Beryl’s character?   8. When Beryl is quite young, she reflects that “softness and helplessness got you nothing in this place.” Do you agree with her? Or do you think Beryl placed too much value on strength and independence?   9. When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds? How does motherhood spur her decision to exchange horse training for flying? Could you identify with this choice?   10. After Paddy the lion attacks Beryl, Bishon Singh says, “Perhaps you were never meant for him.” Do you think that Beryl truly discovered what she was meant for by the end of the novel?

Editorial Reviews

National BestsellerA New York Times BestsellerAn Amazon Best Book of the Year A Kobo Best Book of 2015 A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year An NPR Best Book of 2015Nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction "Paula McLain cements herself as THE writer of historical fictional memoir with Circling the Sun, giving vivid voice to Beryl Markham, a singular, extraordinary woman whose name we all know—and whose story we don't. . . . In McLain's confident hands, Markham crackles to life, and we readers truly understand what made a woman so far ahead of her time believe she had the power to soar." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time"What's certain is that the reluctantly earthbound armchair reader will cherish this gift for the hidden adventurer in all of us. Like Africa as it's so gorgeously depicted here, this novel will never let you go." —Boston Globe "Beautifully written. . . . An emotional vacation to a fascinating moment in world history." —Allison Williams, actress on HBO's Girls, InStyle "Paula McLain has created a voice that is lush and intricate to evoke a character who is enviably brave and independent. . . . Soaring high over the Atlantic at the age of 28, [Beryl Markham] finally embraces the freedom she seeks when she learns to defy gravity." —NPR Books "A full-throttle dive into the psyche and romantic attachments of Beryl Markham—whose 1936 solo flight across the Atlantic in a two-seater prop plane (carrying emergency fuel in the extra seat) transfixed the world. . . . Ernest Hemingway, who met Markham on safari two years before her Atlantic crossing, tagged her as 'a high-grade bitch' but proclaimed her 1942 memoir West with the Night 'bloody wonderful.' Readers might even say the same of McLain’s sparkling prose and sympathetic reimagining." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review"Vigorous, swift and spangled with spectacular imagery. . . . Intricate and ambitious, with a huge cast of characters and luscious descriptions." —The Independent (UK)"An insightful and engrossing read . . . Circling the Sun is a fascinating look inside colonial Kenya and is an even more impressive look at an overlooked but unforgettable figure from history, a woman who lived life on her own terms and a character who will stick in your head for a long time." —Bustle"Paula McLain brings Beryl [Markham] to glorious life, portraying a woman with a great many flaws that seem to result from her zest for life and inability to follow the roles expected of women in the 1920s and '30s. . . . A sprawling novel." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch