Circling The Sun by Paula MclainCircling The Sun by Paula Mclainsticker-burst

Circling The Sun

byPaula Mclain

Hardcover | November 15, 2017

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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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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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Title:Circling The SunFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.53 × 6.62 × 1.44 inPublished:November 15, 2017Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385677219

ISBN - 13:9780385677219

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Out of Africa insight I loved this book - have read others by the author and this was my favourite.
Date published: 2018-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Curious how true to reality A fictional account of Beryl Markham. The first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. This covers her childhood and early years in Kenya. She was part of the Happy Valley set and so many of them are frequent in the book. Interesting read and curious as to how accurate it is to her real life.
Date published: 2018-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED THIS!! I LOVED this book! Though, not as much about her flying life as I would have liked, a fantastic story- I was hooked until the last page!!
Date published: 2018-07-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting read Not the kind of book I will remmember, but a rather interesting read.
Date published: 2018-06-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome I enjoyed this story so much, the description of the setting made me feel as if I were there, the weaving story line kept me engaged from start to finnish
Date published: 2017-12-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not my favourite I've read a few Paula McLains' and while this book provided a strong female character I wasn't completely blown away by the story.
Date published: 2017-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! This was an amazing book, I couldn't put it down once I started!
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! What can I say about this book! So many stories and characters living in interesting places. I was drawn into the characters right away. The story is such a beautiful one that keeps the readers emotions on edge. Wow! great book!
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strong Female Character Very strong female character that is portrayed in a very well written book. A must read if you like Paula McLain.
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a story! Great addition to your library.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Worth the read Found this hard to get myself into, however once in the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good This book is described as a "historical fictional memoir" but it could easily be mistaken as a true memoir of Beryl Markham. The film "Out of Africa" was about Beryl Markham also. I did enjoy the book but I think, had I known her, I would not much have liked Ms Markham. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I really liked it! Circling the Sun was a pleasant surprise. I had previously read The Paris Wife also by Paula McLain and not really liked much about it. I gave this novel a try because I love historical fiction and the plot of British ex-pats in colonial Africa really intrigued me. is a historical novel which bases its plot on the life and events of Beryl Markham in a fictional way. Beryl Markham was not only the first female to fly solo over the Atlantic from Europe but she was also many other things. Beryl was a farmer, a horse trainer, a wife, a pilot and later in life, an author. She was an independent thinker and very ambitious. Raised on a farm in Kenya by her father, Beryl learned to fend for herself even after consecutive failures. She wrote a memoir about all of her adventures in 1942 but it was not well received at the time. Her memoir West with the Night wouldn't become popular until it was re-released in 1983, 3 years before Beryl's death. If you are intrigued by the life of Beryl Markham I would highly suggest reading Circling the Sun .
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Was pretty good Not a bad read especially with its historical background. I would rather watch Out of Africa though.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Woman Ahead of her Time Based on a real character, it was interesting to read the life of the strong, independent free-spirit Beryl. But, overall, the book was just ok, a bit disappointed because it had received such positive hype.
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Complex Character Interesting story...based on a real person. Enjoyed the book.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really interesting Really interesting read. Sometimes I got a bit confused with the cast of characters because it seemed like there were a lot. Enjoyable to read about this part of history. It seemed like they just constantly went back and forth between Kenya and Britain. I hadn't realized that boat travel like this was so commonplace.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Womp womp, not worth the hype I really wanted to like this book but I just couldn't, it fell flat for me. Beryl started out as an independent wild child then as she got older started relying on man after man. I wanted to see her horse training career through to a triumph but she randomly throws it all away at the very end to learn how to fly. Every climax of the book be it marriages or babies or deaths happened so suddenly with no build ups worked in. Just wasn't my favourite.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slow to start but a rewarding payoff I had read more than half this book, which isn't short, before I developed an attachment to the characters or plot. Once I got past that I found it took off more quickly and there was a rewarding payoff for the characters and story. Given how interesting this actual story is, I was surprised to not love this book. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Vibrant and unforgettable 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 remarkable, tumultuous life of Beryl Clutterbuck, a woman who was more adventurous, passionate, and willful than Hemingway himself. Like The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun could have been a biography, but the freedom of fiction lets McLain takes us deeper into Beryl’s world, from her childhood running barefoot beside her Masai friends, to her entanglements with the hedonist expatriates of Kenya (who include Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa), to her pioneering exploits as a champion horse trainer and pilot. From the outside, Beryl is a woman who seems to be a force of nature, her drive to challenge the expectations of society and to define her own freedom mirrored by the unseen potential of her horses and the wildness of the Africa she loves. But McLain shows us another Beryl, whose courage is assailed by doubt, and whose longing for freedom is sabotaged by a love that is as reckless as it is intense. Beryl is a woman who pours her entire self into everything she does, who makes mistakes but owns them, who is determined to live life on her own terms, and is willing to pay the price for that freedom. Beryl's life is an adventure that could have been a lost corner of history, but with Circling the Sun Paula McLain has given us a vibrant, lasting portrait of an extraordinary woman. She is a woman you won't soon forget.
Date published: 2015-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Circling the Sun Hard to put down. There is so much happening, and all in the beautiful description of Kenya at that time, the physical and social context. Beautifully written.
Date published: 2015-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wonderful I loved The Paris Wife and was so excited to see a new book by this author. I was not disappointed. She puts so much effort into research and although fiction, I know that there is a lot of truth to her characters. Am looking forward to her next book.
Date published: 2015-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Circling the Sun Paula McLain chose her subject well Beryl breaks down barriers from a young age She is fearless She loves her father ,she loves horses and life in Africa And her scandalous love life knows no bounds !
Date published: 2015-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written I couldn't put this book down. Paula McClain paints a picture of colonial Africa that is gorgeous and harsh at the same time.
Date published: 2015-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect for book clubs. A beautifully written book, perfect for book clubs. I highly suggest, at said book club meeting, including a screening of 'Out of Africa' and serving lots of South African wine.
Date published: 2015-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect for book clubs. A beautifully written book, perfect for book clubs. I highly suggest, at said book club meeting, including a screening of 'Out of Africa' and serving lots of South African wine.
Date published: 2015-06-09

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