This is perhaps my favorite book I've ever read. Plot-wise, it is the autobiography of a woman who grew up in East Africa in the early 20th century. It is marvelous -- the quote from Hemingway should sell it if we can't. There are some racist undertones that are probably appropriate for the time and place of this book, albeit shocking now.
Scholars debate whether this book was actually written by Hemingway himself. He was her lover, and so seldom praised other writers' works. Markham, after penning this masterpiece, never wrote anything else. The book does have a Hemingway flavor to it.
Jenny B. reviewed The Illustrated West With the Night on
Helpful Score: 3
Beryl Markham writes beautifully, so well that it is like remembering something you had forgotten. She writes about Africa, horses and flying in a mostly non-technical way. It is filled with descriptive prose and philosophical musings. My favorite part: "No map I have flown with has ever been lost or thrown away. I have a trunk containing continents." I think her accounts are true, but at the end of the book you are not left a detailed timeline and an factual account of Africa as much as an impression of what Africa was like while she lived there. This is one of my favorite books.
the most wonderful book I ever read! I love Africa, am a female private pilot and her words put other authors to shame. My husband, who seldom reads female authors, highly recommends this 5 star book to anyone who loves to read!
I have reservations about Ms. Markham being the true author of this book, as it's quite literary and full of metaphor and similie. It reads entirely too 'clean' to be written by someone other than a professional writer. I suspect this is the handiwork of her third husband.
As for the stories, they are entertaining, engrossing, and amazing. The stories, in particular, about her ferocious dog, Buller, had me laughing out loud. Her love for Africa truly shows itself in the pages of these books.
The pictures in this illustrated version serve to give more depth to an already very-real story of a woman's courageous life from living with the Masawai people to her solo, plane-flight journey from England to Nova Scotia.
Ernest Hemingway himself praised this memoir as so well written: "She (Beryl Markham) can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers." This is a stunning memoir of her life as an aviator in Africa. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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.
Beryl Markham is a magnificent, brilliant, talented writer.If you are a student of creative writing , journalism ,or simply a lover of a well written book, I beg you to read this book and anything else she,herself,has written.
Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter to Maxwell Perkins and spoke of this book, "WEST WITH THE NIGHT".Let his words be the review :
"Did you read Beryl Markham's book,WEST WITH THE NIGHT? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could and would put pen to paper except to write in her flyer's logbook.As it is, SHE HAS WRITTEN SO WELL,and marvelously well,that I WAS COMPLETELY ASHAMED OF MYSELF AS A WRITER.I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words,picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing the together and sometimes making an okay pigpen.But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers.The only parts of it that I know about personally,on account of having been there at the time and heard the other people's stories, are absolutely true....I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book." ( ERNEST HEMINGWAY)
I read all of the "adventure in africa" books I can find... how did this slip by me all these years, this was excellent!
The book is basically a memoir about growing up in Africa, horses, and flying in the early part of the 20th century. Extremely well written and engaging, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
I've subsequently learned that it may in fact have been penned by Hemingway... maybe or maybe not, but its good enough that it could have been.
Initially recommended by an Alaskan friend, having just been in Kenya I was fascinated with this book. It's an "easy" read but there's meat on the content bones. Much of it is the story of her growing up in "British East Africa" and some of it is more self-serving than entirely truthful, but it gives a good feel for Africa and for the early years of flight. Her "big" achievement, being the first to fly across the Atlantic from Great Britain going west, was almost a footnote. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
A book I adored in my childhood, still sweet and wonderful now that I'm thirty. Really naturally gifted author, amazing life-story. The treatment of race in the book raises ambiguous feelings in the reader.
An enthralling tale of a pioneer pilot, not to mention a woman pilot. The details of her early life in Africa are equally interesting, perhaps more so. Wonderful narrator. I had read this book about 20 years ago and it made such an impression on me that I was eager to listen to it - I LOVE audio books! I highly recommend.
D. A. (wandasue) - reviewed The Illustrated West With the Night on
This is Beryl Markham's memoir of growing up in East Africa (she was English). She became interested in aviation and for a while carried mail and supplies to remote corners of Africa. She was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic going from east to west (England to Nova Scotia). Quite a woman for her time.
I can't say enough good about this book. My parents had it for quite a while before I decided to read it, because I thought "I'm not interested in flying, in Africa, or what it was like back in the 20s & 30s." But Beryl Markham makes everything profoundly meaningful with her graceful prose and her gift for invoking places, people and situations. Alternately hilarious, poignant, gripping, poetic or tragic, it withstands countless re-readings. Here is a tiny sample, involving a young race-horse & a herd of zebra:
"I think Balmy was aware of the dictum "noblesse oblige," but, for all her mud-rolling, she never got very close to a zebra or even oxen without distending her nostrils in the manner of an eighteenth-century grande dame forced to wade throught the fringes of a Paris mob. As for the zebra, they replied in kind, moving out of her path with the ponderous dignity of righteous proletariat, fortified in their contempt by the weight of their number."
This one story alone is worth the price of admission.
This is a true account of Beryl Markham and her life in Africa. She was a horse trainer and one of the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her descriptions of Africa are breathtaking. This is the story of a truly remarkable woman!