West with the Night by Beryl Markham is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in the European pilgrimages to Kenya in the 1920’s and early women aviators. Additionally, if you loved Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (aka,Karen Blixen) or just watched the movie with Meryl and R.Redford. Most of the characters in the movie are in Beryl’s memoir. Although, in Beryl’s case, unlike Isak, she omits her love life and instead zeroes in on her childhood, her flying career and her lyrical description of landscapes.
Every review I read before and after I actually read the book seemed to have the same impression as I did, that her writing is superb. E. Hemingway was jealous after reading her singular memoir.
Her story is a life filled with risk, her writing – keen observations as if from a distance, high above in her beloved solitary, lonely sky. Her grasp of English words, in a flurry of detail, spread in an almost fictional timeline is musical. She narrows in, then out to the relatable human race. Her prose is poetic. She writes of people with a universal stoicism, haughtily English and yet close to the heart.
I urge all adventurers and lovers of words to read it.