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|Read Ebook ñ West with the Night á West with the Night is the story of Beryl Markham aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty and her life in the Kenya of the s and s To see ten thousand animals untamed and not branded with the symbols of human commerce is like scaling an unconquered mountain for the first time, or like finding a forest without roads or footpaths, or the blemish of an axe You know then what you had always been told that the world once lived and grew without adding machines and newsprint and brick walled streets and the tyranny of clocks You can be assured that this review will in no way be as well written as Beryl Markham s West with tTo see ten thousand animals untamed and not branded with the symbols of human commerce is like scaling an unconquered mountain for the first time, or like finding a forest without roads or footpaths, or the blemish of an axe You know then what you had always been told that the world once lived and grew without adding machines and newsprint and brick walled streets and the tyranny of clocks You can be assured that this review will in no way be as well written as Beryl Markham s West with the Night Markham was one hell of a woman, yet her story seems to have been lost to history Born in England, but raised by her father in Africa, she never stepped back from a challenge and relished opportunities to look fear in the eye and have fear blink first She was one of the first African bush pilots, the first racehorse trainer in the continent, and later the first person to fly non stop east to west from England to North America And yet, I d never heard of her until I read Paula McClain s excellent Circling the Sun last year In addition to her many other talents, the woman can write Hemingway famously praised this book by writing to a friendDid you read Beryl Markham s book, West with the Night 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 them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen In this memoir, Markham invites us to experience certain episodes of her life note, it s not a chronological or complete memoir by any stretch The writing is so evocative we are there with her in the air gripping the controls as her plane shakes back and forth in stormy turbulence our hearts race with hers as she and her childhood companions move past a lion that has crossed their path and we are jumping up and down in the stands in the final lap of a horse race Markham s writing is meant to be savored Slow reading is a must for this book Skimming will make your mind wander and leave you unsatisfied 4.5 stars Being alone in an aeroplane for even a short a time as a night and a day, irrevocably alone, with nothing to observe but your instruments and your own hands in semi darkness, nothing to contemplate but the size of your small courage, nothing to wonder about but the beliefs, the faces, and the hopes rooted in your mind such an experience can be as startling as the first awareness of a stranger walking by your side at night You are the stranger Beryl Markham was the first woman to fly sol Being alone in an aeroplane for even a short a time as a night and a day, irrevocably alone, with nothing to observe but your instruments and your own hands in semi darkness, nothing to contemplate but the size of your small courage, nothing to wonder about but the beliefs, the faces, and the hopes rooted in your mind such an experience can be as startling as the first awareness of a stranger walking by your side at night You are the stranger Beryl Markham was the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic, going East to West She made it to the coast of Nova Scotia by the skin of her teeth Ice had clogged the air intake to her last fuel tank, greatly reducing the amount of fuel getting to the carburetor The Vega Gull s engine kept dying She kept nursing it back to life until finally the coast appears She crash landed without killing herself and put herself in the record books She grew up in Kenya and always wanted to do what the boys were doing She had a native boy who was a close friend This association allowed her to learn the ways of the tribe She has to be one of the few white girls from that period of time or any period of time who was allowed to go on hunts with the menSo there are many Africas There are as many Africas as there are books about Africa and as many books about it as you could read in a leisurely lifetime Whoever writes a new one can afford a certain complacency in the knowledge that his is a new picture agreeing with no one else s, but likely to be haughtily disagreed with by all those who believe in some other Africa There are a lot of factors in how people experience a place As travellers, it might rain the whole time you are somewhere, or you might have one rude experience with a waiter Paris and I should have knocked the bastard on his doughy fat ass , or you might be experiencing the final days of a doomed love affair On the other hand, the weather might be sunny and breezy, or you might have an amazing hour with a knowledgeable art curator, or you might find new love All of those factors can certainly color our perceptions of a place When you live anywhere for an extended period of time, like Beryl did in Kenya, you have a better chance of experiencing a true Kenya.But then there is a difference growing up an English privileged rose who has horses and all that her heart desires compared to say a young black Kenyan woman who might have a completely different experience growing up in Africa Beryl made one generalization about a local tribe that smacked of the imperial colonial view of a local populationBut physically the Kikuyu are the least impressive of all It may be because they are primarily agriculturists and generations of looking to the earth for the livelihood have dulled what fire there might once have been in their eyes and what will to excel might have been in their hearts They have lost inspiration for beauty They are a hardworking people from the viewpoint of Empire, a docile and therefore a useful people Their character is constant, even strong, but it is lustreless I have a friend who happens to be a Kenyan from the Kikuyu tribe I shared this quote with her, and she had a few opinions about the descriptionThe wench that was my favorite yet another ignorant white privileged bourgeois colonial story which paints a pretty picture of the land but knows next to jack shit about the locals Only what they saw in passing I would gladly tell the dead colonial to stick to horses and planes But really We lost our spark because of the earth We killed for that land We shed blood and tears for it Most of it white And we continue to struggle for it To buy our own to raise our children on And what did she mean lost our spark We don t have diamond eyes Or wear contacts Or have eyes that shine like the ocean blue eyes of a Victorian damsel who wouldn t know dust if it drowned them See And my thoughts are a lot less politeMwanamali Mari Yes, I know I m a pot stirrer I probably missed my calling as a journalist Of course, all of us know that, when we make a generalized statement about a culture or a people, we leave ourselves susceptible to criticism The point is during this period of time, in the pre world war two era especially, books are rife with irritatingly simplistic, condescending statements about native population This was the only one I caught Mwanamali, reading this book, might catch eventhan the one that I did, but in her defense, Beryl did love many native Kenyans that she met and worked with over the decades of her life Her father experienced some financial difficulties due to a lack of rainsomething, being the son of a farmer, that I m very familiar with Beryl, as a teenager, became a horse trainer and did well It was a boy s club, of course, so it took longer than it should for her to get the business she deserved, but then Beryl was not unfamiliar with being at a disadvantage from the moment she came out of the womba girl There was this great moment in the book where a filly called Wise Child, that Beryl had resurrected from the dead, races against the top stallion in the racing world at the time She did such a great job setting the scene and then describing the race that I felt like I was as invested in the outcome of that race as Beryl I had tears in my eyes.Markham is a lyrical writer whether she is describing horses, planes, landscape or even the process of writing Silence is never so impenetrable as when the whisper of steel on paper strives to pierce it I sit in a labyrinth of solitude jabbing at its bulwarks with the point of a pen jabbing, jabbing I did have a moment of real doubt when Beryl took a job flying big game hunters into the wilds of Kenya to shoot elephants The money was really good, but there is something soulless about shooting elephants She even said, It is absurd for a man to kill an elephant It is not brutal, it is not heroic, and certainly it is not easy it is just one of the preposterous things that men do You may not pull the trigger, but if you are helping these hunters find their prey via an airplane, you are as responsible for the death of the elephant as the men who fire the bullet She had some wonderful, inspiring descriptions of how smart the elephants were and how many times they would fool the hunters Those stories confirmed me in my belief that elephants are intelligent sacred animals and should be left in peace So why do some people feel so driven to hunt these beautiful animals or put themselves in other death defying situations One of the Kenyan guides remarked to Markham White men pay for danger we poor cannot afford it It kind of makes it all sound fake Men trying to prove themselves in manufactured situations I did have some issues with Beryl, but I also found her to be a groundbreaker and certainly a woman whom other women can look up to She took on men toe to toe and proved she could compete with them whether it be on the horse track, in the air, or in the bedroom She was friends with Karen Blixen, better known by her pen name of Isak Dinesen She was such good friends with her that she even shared a man with her by the name of Denys Finch Hatton, an adventurer and hunter The interesting thing about this book is that her love life has been carefully kept off screen Markham was notorious for her marriages and her affairs She was attractive to men, and she was attracted to men Her love life fits with the way she lived her whole life as free as any man andso than most Straight on till morning No map I have flown by has ever been lost or thrown away I have a trunk containing continents The world was hers If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at This letter from Ernest Hemingway to Maxwell Perkins in 1942 sums up the book better than I ever could 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 log book 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 This letter from Ernest Hemingway to Maxwell Perkins in 1942 sums up the book better than I ever could 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 log book 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 them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen But she can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves 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 trueI wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book Ernest HemingwayHemingway almost NEVER sang the praises of other writers, especially not his contemporaries As result, his acclaim for Markham s work can be seen as high praise indeed I ve read this book twice, and it truly is a wonderful read Her writing is beautiful and seems nearly effortless There is, however, quite a bit of controversy surrounding this book and its authorship Some scholars believe that Markham did not actually write the book, that it was acutally penned by Raoul Schumacher, a scriptwriter and acquaintance of Markham s Either way, the point is moot this truly is a bloody wonderful book Oneitem of note notice the ellipsis in the last sentence of Hemingway s letter I looked it up online to see if anything significant was omitted The answer is YES in this part of the letter, Hemingway describes Markham as being a supreme bitch I do not read many autobiographies but when I do I seem to hit the jackpot West with the Night is the memoir of amazing Beryl Markham In case you did not know I didn t , she was the first solo female to fly the Atlantic from East to West Beryl was an English woman who grew up in Kenya together with his father on a farm She was raised among Masai warriors, learned to hunt with a spear and to understand animals Her first major passion were horses not flying At 18 she was the first woman hor I do not read many autobiographies but when I do I seem to hit the jackpot West with the Night is the memoir of amazing Beryl Markham In case you did not know I didn t , she was the first solo female to fly the Atlantic from East to West Beryl was an English woman who grew up in Kenya together with his father on a farm She was raised among Masai warriors, learned to hunt with a spear and to understand animals Her first major passion were horses not flying At 18 she was the first woman horse trainer in Africa As you can see , she had an extraordinary, exciting life, one we cannot even comprehend but we can learn so much from reading about Africa for her was home and her love for the continent is obvious from the poetic praise and the emotion she manages to transmit whenever she writes about the subject Africa is mystic it is wild it is a sweltering inferno it is a photographer s paradise, a hunter s Valhalla, an escapist s Utopia It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one To a lot of people, as to myself, it is just home It is all these things but one thing it is never dull.Beryl was a person who did not like to hold still, she felt the need to change and to find new provocations She starts flying with the help of a friend and, after she buys a plane, she uses her new hobby as a mean for living, giving up on horses At some point Africa becomes too small for her and decides that it was time for her to go back to her place of birth, England Africa is never the same to anyone who leaves it and returns again It is not a land of change, but it is a land of moods and its moods are numberless It is not fickle, but because it has mothered not only men, but races, and cradled not only cities, but civilizations and seen them die, and seen new ones born again Africa can be dispassionate, indifferent, warm, or cynical, replete with the weariness of too much wisdomI was enticed by her adventures but also by her extraordinary writing skills Some chapters really warmed me inside with the poetry, sage and beautiful insights The chapters written from a horse point of view will always remain in my memory I highly recommend this book to anyone, it is literature and autobiography in the same time, a story of Africa and a story of the beauty and loneliness of flying