Great Circle: A novel (Hardcover)

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Think of this saying: "Oh, the nerve!" This book is all nerve, fluttery and electric and audacious.

This is a novel for fans of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr, and Kate Atkinson's LIFE AFTER LIFE, and BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter. It's for fans of movies like Titanic, and A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall (the books and stories, too, yes). It's for readers who love the big sweep, the epic-ness of lives lived, who will stop reading because they need to soak something in, who carry a book around just in case a reading window opens up.

There are big questions posed here that readers will be forced to ask themselves and to answer for themselves. How do I confront death? How do I confront life?

— Susan


An unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost—Great Circle spans Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern-day Los Angeles.

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.

About the Author

MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels Astonish Me and Seating Arrangements and the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, and the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Praise For…

Great Circle is a of the best books I’ve ever read”
—J. Courtney Sullivan

"A breathtaking epic... This is a stunning feat."
--Publishers Weekly [starred review]

"Inherently epic... Shipstead sweeps readers from earth to sky and back again... Underpinning it all is a reverence for nature, thrumming in the forests of Montana, the jagged peaks of Alaska and the stupefying ice shelves of the Antarctic. Shipstead’s exhilarating, masterful depictions of Marian’s flights feel like shared experiences that invite readers to contemplate both magnitude and majesty. Great Circle is sure to give even firmly earthbound readers a new appreciation for those who are compelled ever skyward."
--BookPage [starred review]

"The destinies of every one of these people, and many more unforgettable characters, intersect in ways that reverberate through a hundred years of story. Whether Shipstead is creating scenes in the Prohibition-era American West, in wartime London, or on a Hollywood movie set, her research is as invisible as it should be, allowing a fully immersive experience. Ingeniously structured and so damn entertaining; this novel is as ambitious as its heroines—but it never falls from the sky."
--Kirkus Reviews [starred review]

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525656975
ISBN-10: 0525656979
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Pages: 608
Language: English

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