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    Great Circle

    £16.99
    Recommended by Tam Zimet, our Deputy Programme Director

    I read Maggie Shipstead's Booker Prize shortlisted novel Great Circle while I was mid-way through a two week (mandatory) stay in hotel quarantine. There was something about Shipstead's sweeping descriptions of sky and landscape that felt truly transportive – even though I spent some mornings pretending that the humming hotel air conditioner was a sea breeze.

    Shipstead is a travel writer – as well as an award-winning novelist – and has given readers a richly drawn heroine in the fictional pilot-adventurer Marian Graves, who disappears during her attempt to circumnavigate the world from north to south.

    The story of Marian's colourful life (plane crashes! shipwrecks! sex! war!) is interspersed with that of Hadley Baxter, an actor living in contemporary Los Angeles who is playing Graves in a studio biopic while weathering a scandal (recognisable to anybody vaguely aware of the very public fallout between the two stars of the Twilight series and the subsequent internet/tabloid discourse).

    It's ambitious, gossipy and imperfect but feels vividly alive, which was just what I needed.

    ISBN: 9780857526809
    AuthorMaggie Shipstead
    Pub Date27/05/2021
    BindingHardback
    Pages602
    Availability: In Stock

    For fans of The Goldfinch, All the Light We Cannot See and The Girls: this monumentally powerful epic weaves together the astonishing lives of a daredevil female aviator and the Hollywood rebel who will play her on screen.

    'Outrageously gifted' RICHARD RUSSO
    'Ferociously clever' GUARDIAN


    From the days of giant passenger ships sliding past Arctic icebergs, to the daring pilots of WWII, to present-day Hollywood and its malcontents, at the core of this story is the indomitable Marian Graves and her twin brother Jamie who are twice abandoned by their parents. Marian and Jamie grow up roaming Montana forests, more comfortable with landscape than with people.
    When a pair of aerobats take their exhilarating show to a nearby airfield, Marian's life is changed forever. Watching them roll, dive, and loop in their mini plane, she can think of nothing else but flying. As she grows into a woman, she sacrifices everything to command the breathtaking sense of freedom, of utter control over her own fate, that she feels when in the air. She becomes one of the most fearless pilots of her time, and in 1949 she sets out to do what no one has done before: fly the Great Circle around the earth, north to south around the poles. Shortly before completing the journey, her plane disappears, lost to history.
    In 2015, Hadley Baxter, former child star and poster girl of the blockbuster Archangel franchise, has just been fired for cheating on her on-screen boyfriend. Struggling to escape the fury of the fans, she grasps at an offer for the comeback role of a lifetime: to play the famed female pilot Marian Graves in a biopic. From the first pages of the script, she feels an instant connection with Marian, a woman who refused to be bound by gravity or any of the other strictures of her time. After filming is complete, her bond grows stronger as she begins to question whether the Great Marian Graves really did die at all.

    Maggie Shipstead is the author of the bestselling and prize-winning debut novel SEATING ARRANGMENTS.With GREAT CIRCLE, she cements her place among a famed list of American Literary Stars as one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

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    For fans of The Goldfinch, All the Light We Cannot See and The Girls: this monumentally powerful epic weaves together the astonishing lives of a daredevil female aviator and the Hollywood rebel who will play her on screen.

    'Outrageously gifted' RICHARD RUSSO
    'Ferociously clever' GUARDIAN


    From the days of giant passenger ships sliding past Arctic icebergs, to the daring pilots of WWII, to present-day Hollywood and its malcontents, at the core of this story is the indomitable Marian Graves and her twin brother Jamie who are twice abandoned by their parents. Marian and Jamie grow up roaming Montana forests, more comfortable with landscape than with people.
    When a pair of aerobats take their exhilarating show to a nearby airfield, Marian's life is changed forever. Watching them roll, dive, and loop in their mini plane, she can think of nothing else but flying. As she grows into a woman, she sacrifices everything to command the breathtaking sense of freedom, of utter control over her own fate, that she feels when in the air. She becomes one of the most fearless pilots of her time, and in 1949 she sets out to do what no one has done before: fly the Great Circle around the earth, north to south around the poles. Shortly before completing the journey, her plane disappears, lost to history.
    In 2015, Hadley Baxter, former child star and poster girl of the blockbuster Archangel franchise, has just been fired for cheating on her on-screen boyfriend. Struggling to escape the fury of the fans, she grasps at an offer for the comeback role of a lifetime: to play the famed female pilot Marian Graves in a biopic. From the first pages of the script, she feels an instant connection with Marian, a woman who refused to be bound by gravity or any of the other strictures of her time. After filming is complete, her bond grows stronger as she begins to question whether the Great Marian Graves really did die at all.

    Maggie Shipstead is the author of the bestselling and prize-winning debut novel SEATING ARRANGMENTS.With GREAT CIRCLE, she cements her place among a famed list of American Literary Stars as one of the greatest storytellers of our time.