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By Michael Moore on 08-03-09
Top Notch Writing; Riveting Stories
Ernest Hemingway is on record praising the writing quality of Beryl Markham's book. It is easy to see why. Her writing style is spare, to the point, without gush, brooding or emotional baggage. She makes you feel you're there with her--whether hunting wild animals, watching a championship horse race or flying in search of a downed pilot, and her descriptions and comments are clever, original and memorable. "I managed to overcome my education" is one that comes to mind. "Wishful thinking often smothers reason" is another. Hers is an adventurous and unusual story: growing up as a small child on an African farm in the 1920's, making her living in the 1930's training race horses in Kenya and then flying planes for safari hunters, followed by her "West with the Night" story when she made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight from England to North America in 1936. One interesting side note: her stories tell us much more about Bror Blixen, the husband of Karen Blixen, than did "Out of Africa."
I note from other reviews there is some question whether this book was ghost-written by her husband who was a Hollywood screenwriter. Given her life devoted to hunting, horse training and flying, it does seem remarkable that she could then write a book of such high quality. We don't have to worry about this question, however. The stories are clearly based on her life and experience, which are extremely interesting. Regardless of who actually authored the text, the writing is top quality and well worth the read.
115 of 118 people found this review helpful
By Deborah on 07-04-11
The book is a wonderful story of culture and courage. I've rated many books here, but I must comment on a narrator for the first time. Julie Harris' reading brought the story to life..It brought me to tears and breathlessness during the horse race that I will not forget.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful