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Publisher's Summary

A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick!

"Great Circle is a masterpiece.... One of the best books I’ve ever read." (J. Courtney Sullivan)

"A breathtaking epic.... This is a stunning feat." (Publishers Weekly)

Number One IndieNext Pick
*A Most Anticipated Book of 2021 according to O, The Oprah Magazine; Lit Hub; She Reads; Town & Country; Esquire; and Bustle*

An unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost - Great Circle spans Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern-day Los Angeles.

After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There - after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes - Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At 14 she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles.

A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian's disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian's own story, as the two women's fates - and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times - collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead.

©2020 Maggie Shipstead (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"The destinies of [Shipstead's] unforgettable characters intersect in ways that reverberate through a hundred years of story. Whether Shipstead is creating scenes in the Prohibition-era American West, in wartime London, or on a Hollywood movie set, her research is as invisible as it should be, allowing a fully immersive experience. Ingeniously structured and so damn entertaining; this novel is as ambitious as its heroines - but it never falls from the sky." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"Inherently epic...Shipstead sweeps readers from earth to sky and back again.... Underpinning it all is a reverence for nature, thrumming in the forests of Montana, the jagged peaks of Alaska and the stupefying ice shelves of the Antarctic. Shipstead’s exhilarating, masterful depictions of Marian’s flights feel like shared experiences that invite readers to contemplate both magnitude and majesty. Great Circle is sure to give even firmly earthbound readers a new appreciation for those who are compelled ever skyward." (BookPage, starred review)

“What if the most interesting man in the world was a woman? Marian Graves, the swashbuckling heroine of Maggie Shipstead’s sprawling new novel, is ‘an odd, tall, dusty, freckled girl’ for whom gender fluidity is a gift, used largely in service of living the untethered life she dreams of.... By her early teens, she discovers the medium that will set her free: flight. In a moment when our quarantined worlds have become so small, Great Circle offers more than just wanderlust; it feels like a liberation by proxy, too.” (Entertainment Weekly)

What listeners say about Great Circle

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