MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Circling the Sun

A Novel

by Paula McLain

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain X
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2015, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2016, 400 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. At the beginning of the book, Beryl reflects that her father's farm in Njoro was "the one place in the world I'd been made for." Do you feel this is a fitting way to describe Beryl's relationship with Kenya, too? Did she seem more suited–more made for–life there than the others in her circle? Is there a place in your life that you would describe the same way?

  2. While it is clear he loved his daughter, do you feel Beryl's father was a good parent? Do you think Beryl would have said he was? Did you sympathize with him at any point?

  3. Beryl is forced to be independent from a very young age. How do you think this shaped her personality (for better or for worse)?

  4. After Jock's drunken attack, D fires Beryl and sends her away. Do you understand his decision? Despite all the philandering and indulgent behaviors of the community, do you feel it's fair that Beryl was being judged so harshly for the incident?

  5. How would you describe Beryl and Denys's relationship? In what ways are they similar souls? How does their first encounter–outside, under the stars at her coming out party–encapsulate the nature of their connection? 

  6. Karen and Beryl are two strong, iconoclastic women drawn to the same unobtainable man. Do you understand how Beryl could pursue Denys even though he was involved with Karen? Did you view the friendship between the women as a true one, despite its complications?

  7. Why do you believe the author chose the title Circling the Sun? Does it bring to mind a particular moment from the novel or an aspect of Beryl's character?

  8. When Beryl is quite young, she reflects that "softness and helplessness got you nothing in this place." Do you agree with her? Or do you think Beryl placed too much value on strength and independence?

  9. When Beryl becomes a mother herself, she is determined not to act as her own mother did. Do you feel she succeeds? How does motherhood spur her decision to exchange horse training for flying? Could you identify with this choice?

  10. After Paddy the lion attacks Beryl, Bishon Singh says, "Perhaps you were never meant for him." Do you think that Beryl truly discovered what she was meant for by the end of the novel?



Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Ballantine Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  A Glimpse of Beryl Markham

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Waiting for an Echo
    Waiting for an Echo
    by Christine Montross
    Dr. Christine Montross had been a practicing psychiatrist for nearly a decade when she decided to ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Flight Portfolio
    by Julie Orringer
    At once a sweeping historical narrative, an insightful character study and a tender romance, Julie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Color of Air
    The Color of Air
    by Gail Tsukiyama
    Daniel was raised in Hilo, Hawaii by Japanese immigrant parents. Having traveled to the U.S. ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Volunteer
    by Jack Fairweather
    Though many found The Volunteer a challenging read, First Impressions responses were overwhelmingly ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Woman Before Wallis
    by Bryn Turnbull

    The true story of the American divorcée who captured the Prince's heart before Wallis.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    With or Without You
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A moving novel about twists of fate, the shifting terrain of love, and coming into your own.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Every Bone a Prayer
by Ashley Blooms

The the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.