Marian Graves needed to fly. Enthralled by the airshow and its swaggering pilots that barnstormed her 1920s Missoula, Montana hometown, 14 year-old Marian found her life's pursuit. Hadley Baxter needed a comeback. Caught up in scandal, hounded by paparazzi, and fired from her globally popular romantic fantasy film series, Hadley looks to return to the screen portraying Marian Graves in an independent film about the famed pilot's mysterious in-flight disappearance over Antarctica in the 1950s. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead spans a century in rich, sensuous detail--from turn-of-the century luxury ocean liners to bootleggers, bush pilots, WWII transport pilots, and present-day Hollywood--while interrogating the roles women must play and the gulf between one's personal identity and others' understanding and interpretation of it. In lesser hands, a novel with the narrative breadth and storytelling pointillism of Great Circle would never get off the ground. Under Maggie Shipstead's steady, skillful and meticulous control, Great Circle glides, it cruises, it soars.
Captivating. Truly the best novel I've read all year. The trappings of gendered expectations--their queering, and the consequences for those who queer them--are at the heart of this epic. Here, too, you'll find rich queries on freedom, purpose, flight, desire, and the infinite horizon of loneliness. Can't recommend it enough.
Knopf Publishing Group, May 2021. First Edition. Hardcover. New / New. Item #255553
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK - WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION NOMINEE - The unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost: an "epic trip--through Prohibition and World War II, from Montana to London to present-day Hollywood--and you'll relish every minute" (People).
After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There--after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes--Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles. A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian's disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian's own story, as the two women's fates--and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times--collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead.
Some minor bumps and bruises from publisher shipping. Signed by Shipstead on title page. First printing