Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Book Review - Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

 Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead is a monster of a book with two story arcs. I really liked and admired this book, the characters, the storylines, the writing, and the ambition of this author. 

1914 -  Twin babies, Marian and Jamie Graves are rescued from a sinking ocean liner. These infants are sent  to Missoula, MT and raised by an uncle. Teenager Marian begins a lifelong love of flight when she meets some barnstormers. Alas, she gets a wealthy bootlegger patron who provides a plane, lessons, and then life choices that haunt her forever. Prohibition, Alaska wilds, wartime London - Marian flies the globe and her ultimate destiny - circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Pole.  (cover blurb)

Meanwhile, 2014, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian's disappearance in Antarctica. Her immersion in the character unfolds alongside Marion's own story, as the two women's destinies - and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different places and times - intersect in astonishing ways. 

Plus the side stories of Jamie Graves, the artist, the sensitive twin intertwines with Marian at various points. There's always a deep connection and understanding. 

Plus, there's Caleb, a childhood friend/lover/constant in Marian's life. 

Great Circle is a tour de force.   I could pick any page and give you a sample of lovely prose. The circling of lives, the exhilaration of early flight, and then the fears, yearnings, need for alone time. The expanse of Montana, the skies, the great ice and waters of the earth, clouds, engine hum. You will soar while reading this book. 

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