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Book Recommendation: West with the Night

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  • Book Recommendation: West with the Night

    I love it when a book you picked up not expecting to be a horsey book turns out to be a horsey book.

    West with the Night by Beryl Markham is the memoirs of the first woman to solo across the Atlantic the hard way, east to west, flying against the winds. It's gorgeously written, and she's a true artist with language. Paints wonderful pictures of Africa during her childhood.

    But she also loved horses and was raised with them, which I hadn't known. Her father bred TBs to race and had a large farm. There are all sorts of horse anecdotes tucked in regularly among her other memories.

    A beautiful book.

  • #2
    My homeroom teacher gave it to me a zillion years ago-loved it!
    Real Horses. Real Riders. Real Results! www.wvhorsetrainer.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Earnest Hemmingway said this about Beryl Markham: "As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. "

      If you enjoyed West with the Night, try to find a copy of The Splendid Outcast. It is her collection of short stories based on true events from her growing up. More horse stuff.
      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

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      • #4
        IIRC, she was also the first woman in Kenya to get her trainer's license. She raised and trained racing TBs. Her father was also a trainer.

        I read the book several times years ago, and recently listened to the audiobook, read by Julie Harris.

        In the movie, Out of Africa, the character Felicity (who has an affair with Denys Finch-Hatton and goes flying with him) was based on Beryl Markham.

        There's a great biography of Beryl Markham called Straight on Till Morning that you also might enjoy.
        I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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        • #5
          dup

          Dup

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          • #6
            And the movie is pretty good too.
            An amazing woman (think she was involved with St Exupery as well!)

            And of course, her stomping grounds, the Rift Valley in Kenya, is just stunning!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
              There's a great biography of Beryl Markham called Straight on Till Morning that you also might enjoy.
              That is a good one. It gives a lot of the background on the truth behind The Splendid Outcast shorts.
              Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lilitiger2 View Post
                And the movie is pretty good too.
                There's a movie? Do you mean World Without Walls? I've looked for that but can only find it on VHS. Which sadly, I can't play.
                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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                • #9
                  Hoping I can find these at my local library!
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                  • #10
                    I read that a zillion years ago too. L

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                    • #11
                      Loved it I meant to say.
                      Check out Alexandra Fuller's book, Cocktail Hour Under The Tree of Forgetfulness.
                      She writes about her mother and her horses in Africa.

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                      • #12
                        Its A Shadow on the Sun(1988).
                        Looks like its just VHS

                        but really pretty good for what it is

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                        • #13
                          I've just dug out my old copy to re-read, thanks.

                          I was raised on the edge of the Rift Valley and we knew a lot of the names she mentions. I was given the opportunity to school a horse during my gap year (ha - school, at that age, what did I really know!?), but in the years before horse trailers had to ride this green 4 y.o. called Pavan from Njoro to our place, about 25-20 miles. In the blazing sun, by myself, my parents let me do it. Near the end of the ride I decided to take a short cut through a farm, nobody would have a clue where I was and it was during the Mau Mau terrorist uprising.
                          I can't believe it myself, but it is true.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                          • #14
                            Foxtrot's - as amazing as it sometimes seems to me that any of us survived childhood, especially one involving horses, your tale takes the cake.
                            It literally gave me a chill reading the last sentence.

                            On a happier note:
                            I loved the stories of Doris Lessing - when she wrote of her childhood in Africa.
                            No horses, but it made me dream of growing up in such an exotic land.
                            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One of the best books I've ever read in a very long life of constant reading.
                              www.laurienberenson.com

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                                Foxtrot's - as amazing as it sometimes seems to me that any of us survived childhood, especially one involving horses, your tale takes the cake.
                                It literally gave me a chill reading the last sentence.

                                On a happier note:
                                I loved the stories of Doris Lessing - when she wrote of her childhood in Africa.
                                No horses, but it made me dream of growing up in such an exotic land.
                                I hope you also have a chance to read anything by Nadine Gordimer (particularly Sport of Nature), but all her stuff is great, as is Achebe (things fall apart). It is still beautiful and exotic - Lamu! Kiwaiyo! so, although different than it was under Kenyatta (1964-something or other) and certainly the Brits (not loved), still a wonderful place. If you like movies about Africa, a lovely little gem is Mississippi Masala, with Denzel Washington. THe story mostly takes place in MI but has some lovely scenes filmed in Uganda, really gorgeous (and a kick ass soundtrack!)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I love all those books from the Muthaiga Club set in colonial BEA. And isn't it strange that so many of them seem to have written a book or two?

                                  Of course, Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) wrote Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass;

                                  Elspeth Huxley wrote The Flame Trees of Thika (Elspeth's family owned the lion who nearly ate Beryl Markham when she was a child);

                                  Bror von Blixen-Finecke wrote African Hunter and The Africa Letters;

                                  can anyone think of any more?
                                  I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Oh a few- kuki gallmann wrote I dreamed of Africa - about her experiences in Kenya, started a rhino sanctuary, had a number of tragedies, good story,
                                    There is White Mischief , also about colonial brits and a murder, entertaining
                                    There are for the most part white folks stories
                                    Things Fall Apart is not. A very interesting story, Nigerian.
                                    Sport of Nature, for sure!

                                    Ngugi wa Thiong o is wonderful, Petals of Blood or Grain of Wheat all about Kenya, BY a Kenyan (I think!!) wonderful wonderful reading.

                                    An there is always No picnic on Mt Kenya (italian POW climbs Mt Kenya)- I climbed the same point and it;'s pretty glorious.

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                                    • #19
                                      Oh I love that book, and Flame Trees of Thika is an all time favorite.

                                      Beryl Markham died not too terribly long ago and there are some interesting articles about her long and varied life out. Very interesting woman
                                      Last edited by Griffyn; Jan. 11, 2013, 01:05 AM. Reason: added stuff

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                                      • #20
                                        thanks for this thread

                                        I a always looking for good reading material and I am excited about finding all of these that have been mentioned. Of course have read Out From Africa, but not the others. I trust that what is recommended on the BB is not fluff!

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