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Great Circle: A novel – tekijä: Maggie…
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Great Circle: A novel (vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Maggie Shipstead (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1466144,708 (4.25)3
Jäsen:MissLissa23
Teoksen nimi:Great Circle: A novel
Kirjailijat:Maggie Shipstead (Tekijä)
Info:Knopf (2021), 608 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:to-read

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Great Circle (tekijä: Maggie Shipstead)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
"Our flight is in defiance of the sun and its daily traverse. Come west, the sun says. It tugs at us, runs off like a child trying to entice us to follow. But we must go north, leaving the light behind."
---Marian Graves

If you love a big book you can sink into and seldom come up for air; a book that makes you start rationing your reading time because you just don't want it to end; historical fiction that includes real historical figures by a writer that appears to be at the top of her game...well, this just might be the book for you.

The fictional protagonist, Marian Graves, born in 1914 and shipwrecked as an infant along with her twin brother Jamie, longs to fly from her earliest days. Set in Missoula, Montana, Marian and Jamie are living with their uncle, an artist and alcoholic who seldom knows their whereabouts or what they're up to. She gets her start flying across the border into Canada, during Prohibition, for the local bootlegger. But like everything in the lives of women, it comes at a price and she soon finds that the mysterious and handsome man who can give her what she wants most, her own plane to fly, is also her worst enemy.

A century later, Hadley Baxter, a scandal-ridden Hollywood starlet, is picked to play Marian in the biopic of her life. It would seem that the two have little in common, but Hadley also lost her parents not at sea, but in a plane crash, and like Marian was brought up by a wayward uncle, a Hollywood producer, strung out on drugs. And Hadley suffers from some of the same barriers that Marian faced seventy years ago just brought up to date by social media.These two threads continue throughout the book and although I thought Marians story was more compelling the author managed to make the connections between the two characters work as the novel progressed.

The research that went into the novel was extensive as Shipstead combined the intertwining stories of the early female aviatrixes and came up with the idea that Marian would at some point in her life attempt to complete a longitudinal great circle around the planet, that would end tragically. But even at that, the author keeps you guessing.

This is a big, big book in so many ways. You might think 615 pages is too long but Shipstead needed every one of those pages to cover not only Marian's remarkable story, but the history that took place during that time. Not a word is wasted as we travel through Prohibition and the Depression, WWII POW camps and the women pilots gathered by (real life) Jackie Cochran, who were used to transfer planes from one location to another but never to fly planes in battle because, well, just because. It just wasn't done. The male pilots wouldn't like it. And finally the post-WWII years when Marian attempts her last flight. In the meantime, Shipstead covers gender identity, the use of artists to portray military life and battles, barn stormers in the early 20th century and more in order to to create a richly expansive story.

So real was Marian's character that at some point in the book I had to google her because I was sure she was a real character. All the characterizations are deep and rich and lively and felt so real to me they nearly jumped off the page. Top-notch historical fiction. ( )
2 ääni brenzi | Jun 19, 2021 |
Like the very best of historical fiction, this novel offers an epic story, following characters through entire lives, covering the full sweep of experience, and in this case, across much of the 20th-century world. Despite being a big rambling book, very little of it is wasted, and there are few dead ends or extraneous bits; it all feels essential, and I loved every bit of it. ( )
  RandyRasa | Jun 2, 2021 |
If you're into soap operas, you'll ADORE this rather long fiction book. But for me it was a great slog. Could have been two or three good books, but I admit to getting bored with all the extraneous (and meaningless) sleeping around by anybody and everybody. Sometimes it was hard to keep track of the plot because of the seesawing between early twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It wasn't my thing, but lots of others really enjoyed it.
I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group via NetGalley. ( )
  jetangen4571 | May 23, 2021 |
Do not be daunted by the page count of this book. This phenomenal story needs all of them! Wow!
The timeline alternates between Marian's intriguing and adventurous life, and the actress chosen to portray her in a current day film.
The story flows with a moderate paced ease while the expertly fleshed out characters and amazing details kept me spellbound for hours. Covering fifty years of changes in history, travel, loss, war, love - this book is a sweeping lifetime adventure.
The time period, politics and world events are well researched and so wonderfully crafted into Maria's story it's hard to believe this is fiction. I particularly liked the intertwining of the modern day actress uncovering of the missing pieces of Marian's story as she was researching her role. It really pulled the entire plot together making this book a spectacular read. I highly recommend!
*Thank you Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Maggie Shipstead, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this fantastic book in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  Penny_L | May 12, 2021 |
As a reader I am inspired by stories that set my imagination afire, bring chills to my spine, tears to my eyes, and comfort in this baffling world. Great Circle is that kind of novel.

As a genealogist, I am fascinated by the hidden stories of my ancestors. I can never learn enough to fully flesh out the details of their lives. What it was like to leave their homes and reinvent themselves in a new land? What lead to the seduction that left them unmarried mothers? How did they face the devastation of a child drowning in the canal they had to pass every day? I only know that they survived, for a while, and then they died, taking their secrets with them. As someday, I will, too.

Life throws us into despair--all of us. We give in and give up, or we resist and struggle to the surface of the water, take another breath, and reinvent our life in the after-world. Sometimes there is freedom in reinvention. Sometimes it saves us.

Great Circle is one of those massive reads that sweep us across time and history, a long journey into character's entire lives. They are orphaned or neglected and unprotected by unreliable adults, and make their way as best they can. They lose loves and are loved by monsters. Dreams are fragile and come with a cost. Again and again, they must reinvent a life with a new name or in a new place or with a new love or the end of a love.

First, there is the story of orphans Marian Graves and her brother Jamie who run wild with neighbor boy Caleb, their adult caretakers unreliable. When barnstormers pass through, Marian becomes obsessed with the idea of flying. Caleb cuts her hair so she can pass as a boy to earn money towards flying lessons by secret moonshine deliveries.

Barclay was a criminal, and he was rich, and he was used to getting what he wanted. And he wanted Marian from the first time he saw her as a girl. She entered into a dreadful bargain: he would pay for her flying lessons, and she understood the unspoken agreement that someday she would be his.

Trapped into an abusive and controlling marriage, Marian escapes, disappears into Alaska, reinventing herself as a bush pilot. When WWII broke out, she volunteers for the British Air Transport Auxiliary, ferrying warplanes. She meets Ruth, who becomes her great love, and Ruth's gay husband Eddie. But it is Caleb she still turns to when broken.

After the war with its many losses, Marian is offered financing to fund her dream of flying around the world, pole to pole, she only trusts Eddie to be her navigator. After Antarctica, they are believed to have been lost at sea.

Then there is Hadley, also an orphan and abused by her uncle, who became a beloved child actress, and has a breakdown at age 20. Now, she has a change to reinvent herself in a movie about Marian's life, based on the journal Marian left behind at Antarctica before she disappeared.

Hadley goes on a quest to learn about Marian, discovering the truth of what happened on that great circle trip from pole to pole.

Marian's story gives Hadley a sense of freedom and control. And, and it can free us, too, showing us how to live with courage even in the darkest of times. How we must know what we want, and to always work for our dreams.

This past year has been a horror show of death and fear of death, political clashes and unimaginable chaos, outbreaks of hate and violence. We know full well the disappointments and pain of this world.

A story can help us to heal. To know we are not alone, that there is a way to get through the hell and live into a moment of joy and moments of grace that can be enough to live on. This is the gift of literature.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Apr 11, 2021 |
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