Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Published: 2021 1. First lines. 2. Cover: Penguin 3. Image of plane. Own work. 4. Image of the map from inside cover of book. 5. Sky and Clouds [Public Domain] via Pxhere

Marian Graves’ life is told in this story, from being rescued as a baby with her twin brother Jamie from a sinking ship in 1914. As a teenager, she discovers a love of flying and eventually begins a journey in a small plane to circumnavigate the globe longitudinally. Another strand of the story is in the present day, when young actress Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film about Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica. 

“Circles are wondrous because they are endless.”

BOOK SNAPS: ”Dense and intricate, this story is full of unforgettable characters.”

  • Guardian:Great Circle is peopled by vivid, memorable characters whose fates intersect in ways both inevitable and shocking; whose deaths, when they come, have the blunt, heartbreaking force of truth. The book takes its epigraph from Rilke: “I live my life in widening circles / that reach out across the world.” This is a novel that expands the reader’s horizons, and is moving and surprising at every turn.”
  • Kirkus: ”Ingeniously structured and so damn entertaining; this novel is as ambitious as its heroines—but it never falls from the sky.”


“Anything endless is wondrous. But endlessness is torture, too. I knew the horizon could never be caught but still I chased it.”

”The responsibility of owning so many fine and delicate possessions, so many sparkling bits and bobs that served no real purpose but must not be forgotten or lost or broken, worked on her like a kind of drag, slowing her.” 

“Sometimes, beginnings can be simple.” 


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