About the Book:
Beryl Markham's West with the Night is a true classic, a book that deserves the same acclaim and readership as the work of her contemporaries Ernest Hemingway, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Isak Dinesen.
If the first responsibility of a memoirist is to lead a life worth writing about, Markham succeeded beyond all measure. Born Beryl Clutterbuck in the middle of England, she and her father moved to Kenya when she was a girl, and she grew up with a zebra for a pet; horses for friends; baboons, lions, and gazelles for neighbors. She made money by scouting elephants from a tiny plane. And she would spend most of the rest of her life in East Africa as an adventurer, a racehorse trainer, and an aviatrix—she became the first person to fly nonstop from Europe to America, the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic. Hers was indisputably a life full of adventure and beauty.
And then there is the writing. When Hemingway read Markham's book, he wrote to his editor, Maxwell Perkins: "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 as writers . . . It is really a bloody wonderful book."
With a new introduction by Sara Wheeler—one of Markham's few legitimate literary heirs—West with the Night should once again take its place as one of the world's great adventure stories.
About Rachelle Vanderplas:
Rachelle Vanderplas is a long time Utah resident who fell in love with the deep twisting canyons and wild rock formations of the southwest desert early on in life. It was these early experiences that shaped her spirit and kicked off a lifetime of wanderlust. Her travels, both solo and with partners, have led her off the beaten path throughout Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and across the US. These adventures most often combine her curiosity for cultures of the world with her passions for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, kite boarding and trekking.
Her professional life as a senior field geologist with the Bureau of Reclamation over the last 15 years, has led her to expand her skills to include mapping bedrock profiles for iconic structures, such as Hoover and Glen Canyon dams, as well as becoming one of the Upper Colorado Region’s lead Rope Access Technicians.
Recently, between her travels and extended work shifts in the field, Rachelle has been spending more time in the Lake Tahoe area, immersing herself in the world class backcountry skiing, rock climbing and mountain biking available here. Rachelle is an avid reader who always has at least one novel queued up “on deck” with her travel friendly Kindle. Although she enjoys a wide range of genres, she is a sucker for non-fiction, history, and she is especially fond of stories about human challenge, adventure and wanderlust.
Why Rachelle Chose This Book:
In 1936, Beryl Markham flew her airplane across the Atlantic becoming the first person to fly solo East to West. Surprisingly, her flight is just a small piece of the greater journey of her life. She grew up hunting with tribesmen in Africa, became a bush pilot in the remote regions of Africa, all before, professionally training racehorses for the Kenya Derby and flying with her companion throughout the middle east and Mediterranean. West with the Night is Beryl Markham’s vivid memoir of these experiences as she weaves beautifully descriptive accounts of her travels, adventures, human connections, and personal discovery into a journey filled with inspiration and wonder.
West with the Night embraces the timeless antiquity and romanticism of early Africa, new
advancements in flight, and the remarkable achievements of a young woman amongst a conservative generation. Markham’s writing is wonderfully captivating and evokes a spectrum of emotion throughout her book. She can make your heart race from the anticipation of events as they unfold or take your breath away through poetic descriptions between land and sky.