The Power to Soar

I just finished reading a book called, Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain, a powerfully written novel about Beryl Markham, a woman brought up wild in Kenya, Africa. If you loved Out of Africa, this unconventional story is for you.

Beryl was involved with Deny’s Finch Hatton and hungered for his love for most of her adult life. She endured societal scandals as well, swept up in a love triangle between him and the writer and Baroness Karen Blixen who also loved him deeply.

What stays with me was Beryl’s fearlessness, a pioneer in her own right. She was one of the first women racehorse trainers,

3 thoughts on “The Power to Soar”

  1. Thank you for the book recommendation. Out of Africa is one of my favorite reads. The below passage was written by Isak Dineson after she had to leave Africa, never to return, and went to live in her native country of Denmark. There, she meditated every day facing the direction of her home in Africa & Finch-Hatton’s grave. Her home outside of Copenhagen, where she is buried under an immense tree, is a spiritual, beautiful place, it is a museum now. It is well worth a visit. I hear her home, also a museum now, in Nairobi, is also a spiritual place. I plan on journing there one day with my sister.

    “If I know a song of Africa,
    of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back,
    of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers,
    does Africa know a song of me?
    Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on,
    or the children invent a game in which my name is,
    or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me,
    or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”

  2. As you know, Monica, I enjoyed this book, too, although I think Markham’s memoir (“West into the Night) is stronger from a writing perspective. I read it after “Circling the Sun” as I had the background to really enjoy Markham’s memoir.

    I have been to Karen Blixen’s (Isak Dineson) home in Nairobi, a highlight on my first trip to Africa many years ago. in many ways, it’s just like the settings in “Out of Africa.” Africa remains “in my blood” since I have been fortunate to have traveled there three times. It’s possible I will return someday again as East Africa is magical.

    I like the quote you selected, Nora, especially with reference to the Ngong Hills, a place important to Beryl Markham, too. I love these hills. I will keep positive thoughts that you and Monica will some day walk on the earth where Karen Blixen and Meryl Markham journeyed – to Kenya and the Ngong Hills.

    1. Thank you Marilyn. I understand the memoir is stronger and I look forward to reading soon. Thank you for recommending Circling the Sun to me.

      I also hope Nora and I will visit the Ngong Hills together. This is my wish.

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