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Publisher's Summary

West with the Night is the story of a remarkable woman molded and shaped by many things: the African jungle, a certain dog, horses, airplanes, friendships with white men and black. There is no life, no story quite like it.
©1942, 1983 Beryl Markham. Recorded by arrangement with North Point Press, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC; (P)2003 The Arthur and Luce Klein Audio Collection, The Yale Collection of Historical Sound Recordings, Yale University Music Library

Critic Reviews

"Julie Harris' reading of aviatrix Beryl Markham's biography and celebration of Africa is an essential audiobook. Enjoy the magic of the spoken word and Harris' lovely performance." (AudioFile)

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This is high literature with expert narration !

A beautifully written story of the early adventures of a young woman who grew up in the heart of Africa in the early 20th century. Beryl Markham's command of the English language in describing the wilderness of Africa on the ground or from the air is a pleasure to read. Julie Harris's narration is superb.

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great story overall

The beginning was quite tedious, but the last few hours were interesting. The performance was amazing, I was reading the book before I purchased the audio book and I did not enjoy it at all, but the audio brought life to the novel.

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One of 5 Books to Have on a Desert Island

Beryl Markam's "West with the Night"; is magnificent. I'd read it years ago and was agog at her beautiful descriptive writing and her ability to express deep, universal feelings. Such a keen observer, Markam is first and foremost an active participant in her life. She doesn't watch the days go by but leaps into the African bush, training race horses and flying.

Actually, I never finished "West with the Night" the first time I picked it up. I didn't read the final chapter which is the book's title and about her 1936 solo flight across the Atlantic from east to west. The reason? I wanted always to have the promise of reading more, more of her writing and more of her story. I savored what was ahead. Be that as it may, I re-read the book and finished the last chapter, enjoying her literary gift even more than I'd remembered or expected. Oh my. If I can have only 5 books on a desert island, "West with the Night" will be one of them.

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A Reflection of Her Time

Any additional comments?

Perhaps this was not the best time to read West With the Wind by Beryl Markham. It’s August 2017 and our country is embroiled in racial and political turmoil, which definitely affected the way I felt as I read this book. It was well written. I generally like memoirs, and West With the Night was a good one. Many of Markham’s stories were engaging and entertaining. However, her language was frequently infused with racism. Her lifestyle and attitudes were those of White privilege and entitlement. I was also horrified by Markham’s descriptions of elephant hunting. She was very proud of the fact that she was the first person to track elephants for hunting by plane. I do realize that all of this was a reflection of the times in which she lived, but that does not excuse or make any of those elements acceptable. At the end, I had mixed feelings about West With the Night. It’s totally out of step with my values and I have a big problem with parts of the book. But I cannot deny that it is very well written and an interesting memoir. Would I have chosen to read the book knowing it’s down side? Probably not, but I can’t say that I’m sorry that I read it. Beryl Markham was a notable twentieth century woman and for that reason, it was a valuable read.

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Too pleased with its own turns of phrase

Markham is what you might expect of an early pilot, that technically-adept group focused on mastering a risky craft. I bet any early pilot's narrative would focus entirely on his own experience, & go on & on with his thoughts about it. There is really no backstory for anyone who appears in these pages except for the author.

Hemingway liked this book, but imo he was also long on his own prose and overly pleased with himself for putting words together.

So this is a fine book with nice turns of phrase and engaging vignettes & scenes, but if you expect it to make a difference that Beryl is female you will be disappointed.

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Interesting history of Beryl Markham

I enjoyed learning about Beryl's life and the challenges she faced both chasing down elephants and similar prior to her historic flight that ended in a bog.

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Incredible story, not enthusiastic about the narrator

Beryl Markham's writing is exquisite, her words and story as poignant and beautiful now as they must have been when first published. The narrator, though, was in my opinion, utterly awful: emphasis at the wrong time, tremulous voice, noisy nose breathing...almost couldn't finish the book as a result.

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I will READ this book instead

I was really looking forward to the book after reading Circling the Sun, but I couldn't make it through the first chapter. The reader spoke so quickly & didn't feel authentic.
In my opinion the person reading can make or break the story.
There was no feeing, no dialect, no pace.
I will read this book because I'm interested in this story.
If you have listen to Circling the Sun before this book, you will see what I mean.

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  • Nancy
  • United States
  • 07-15-17

Not what I was looking for

OK, this is just me. I knew a little about the author's life so I was interested in learning more about her untraditional lifestyle and varied experiences. I'll admit that I did get that but it was written with too much flowery prose and pretentious philosophy for my taste. A memoir does not need to be a litany of dry facts but this presentation goes too far.
The narration contributes to all the negative aspects of the book.
I really wanted this to be an interesting and enjoyable book but I couldn't wait for it to end.

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One of my all time favorites

A true story- Africa, horse racing, early aviation, adventure and a brave heroine. What more could you ask for? A wonderful turn of phrase? Check. Inspiring narration? Check.