Of her memoir Ernest Hemingway said, "She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer....[She] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers."
©1942 Beryl Markham; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
This narrator/author combination rather reminded me of a professor I had in college. He was cursed with a rather plain voice, but once you got past that and listened to what he was saying, it was bitingly funny and terribly insightful. This book is much the same.
I listen while commuting, and I frequently encounter a narrator/author combination that I'll have to turn off after about 30 minutes so that I don't fall asleep while driving. This book is emphatically not one of those. The memoir is beautifully written and wonderfully told; it is infused with magnificent landscapes, dear friends, captivating adventures, and delightful humor. In short, it is the best audio book I've listened to this year.
Hello I just wanted to put in my 2cents on this great book. I did not listen to it, I read it aloud to my family on a long trip. There were a few paragraphs I skipped over for the benefit of my sensitive 10 year old.
This is a first hand account of the early days of flying in Africa, told by a strong woman, but in the most beautiful lyrical style. It would be great for everyone interested in flying or Africa, but especially for young women.
What a story! And beautifully narrated.... The beauty and adventure and exquisite language will carry you dream-like through this book, and you'll be glad you can listen again.
Markham's lyrical, well-wrought story of her African childhood, understanding of horses and the natural life of Africa, and passion for aviation and adventure deservedly received Hemingway's choice praise. The narrator flawlessly captured the many voices of the characters without sentimentality and with perfect pacing. This was such an engrossing listen it was hard to hit the pause button.
I have listened to "West With the Night" twice now. Anna Fields voice is so perfect for this story. She does a wonderful reading. Ernest Hemingway loved Beryl Markham's book, and recommended it to Max Perkins, this was the main reason that I purchased, and listened to, "West With The Night". The other reason is, I love East African literature from this era. Markham's words evoke images of the people, the tribes, the animals, and of course The Continent of Africa. It all becomes very real. Three dimensional without pasteboard colored lens glasses. Markham’s words through Anna Fields voice conjure up the experience of landing an ancient plane in a torch lite field, at night, in a wild unforgiving country. The second time I listened was even better. Markham loved her Africa, it was her home, she live out her life there. She always returned to her Nairobi, like Lord Delamere she had found a home, and it was East Africa.
Sadly, Anna Fields is simply the wrong reader for this book. West with the Night is certainly one of the great books of the English language, and wonderfully evocative of the time and place. But an American reader just doesn't work with it. Unfortunately, the wonderful Donada Peters reading of this book is not yet available on Audible. Hold out for that.
The prose makes for extremely difficult listening. Reminds me of someone writing with a dictionary in their laps, trying to use every word. A little punctuation would go along ways.
The story is still intriguing, and there is no doubt Beryl led a remarkable life. Despite a few insightful moments, much of the book is just an excuse to try and write romatically of Africa. There are many better books of Africana, though doubtless Beryl was a notable figure of the time. This filled in a few of the gaps of her personal history of which I had passing familiarity, but did little to further my understanding of this period in African history.
A remarkable book by a remarkable woman. It's well narrated but I'm a little puzzled why they chose an American reader for the story of a British woman.
I love this book, but why an American narrator was chosen for this recording eludes me!! Don't buy the audio version, but definitely read the book!
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