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THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
West with the Night is a memoir by the aviation pioneer Beryl Markham describing her childhood in East Africa (now Kenya) in the 1920s and 1930s, growing up with zebras, baboons, and lions as her neighbors. Markham was famous for her attempt to be the first person to fly non-stop westward across the Atlantic from Europe to New York. She almost made it, crashing on Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, but still then becoming the first to cross the Atlantic east-to-west solo. This adventurous side of her is evident from her youth, especially seen in her experience learning to train horses and with her time as a bush pilot scouting elephants. Ernest Hemingway was a fan of this classic of outdoor literature, describing it as marvelously written and a “bloody wonderful book”.
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GREAT QUOTES FROM WEST WITH THE NIGHT
“You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. You learn to watch other people, but you never watch yourself because you strive against loneliness. If you read a book, or shuffle a deck of cards, or care for a dog, you are avoiding yourself. The abhorrence of loneliness is as natural as wanting to live at all. If it were otherwise, men would never have bothered to make an alphabet, nor to have fashioned words out of what were only animal sounds, nor to have crossed continents - each man to see what the other looked like.”
- Beryl Markham, West with the Night
"Did you read Beryl Markham’s book, West with the Night? She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together. But she can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers."
- Ernest Hemingway (from a letter to Maxwell Perkins)