BY Harsimran Kaur ON Oct 07 , 2021 IN BOOK REVIEWS, GREAT CIRCLE/MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD/FICTION/SHORTLISTED FOR BOOKER PRIZE 2021
The circle of life ratifies us to disembark on a journey to give wings to our proclivities, pursues us to imperceptibly puff off the waff of wind from ambiguities, decimate the illicit vapours of vacuum and finally distort our colourful existence to meet the insatiable end. Every now and then, we are left with a desire that propels us to sharpen the edges of our fused existence to make it more relevant. Every existence has a meaning, and Marian Graves infallibly knew her volatile stump on Earth was not a misbegotten parable but an unceasing and well-orchestrated story punctuated by the vulnerabilities of life.
Shortlisted for Booker Prize 2021, “Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead, is not only an expedition around latitudes and longitudes, but marks an indefatigable journey to experience freedom and belongingness. The protagonist Marian Graves dreams of being a pilot, and her ineluctable passion for flying takes her on a discernable fidgety of an invigorating beginning trapped by an impassable end.
The book talks about human megalomania to achieve what seems far, and an intriguing need to covet the segments of our own fascination. This all leads to solitude and isolation infusing greed to achieve more and own our dreams. Marian Graves end was just a beginning to unfinished compendiums and discordant conjectures. Her life full of redemptions and persuasions is let loose by her intrinsic desire to choose freedom over captivity of prejudices and inhibitions. Half a century later, the Hollywood biggie-wiggie Hadley Bexter adorns the role of Marian Graves fortuitously opening a can of worms to unravel her mysterious journey around the globe.
The book fastidiously positions Marian Graves as a person who is absolute in her perceptions of life and responds with fire and brimstone. Her abandonment as an infant with her twin Jamie Graves brings them under the tutelage of their Uncle Wallace Graves. Their growing up under inconceivable circumstances helps them to dissect their own path of survival.
Flying was metonym to Marian Graves. From giving sinking tyres an inflated push to restoring the disoriented care pedals, Graves further pursued her dream to circle the oceans and mountains. She relentlessly equipped herself with the nuances of an airplane and gaining solid hold over lifts, weight and drags. From being a cargo flyer to landing on bushes, she exuded a sense of self-pride. Her conspicuous relations with her lovers intravenously bridled her, to which she fancied freedom.
Great Circle is a story of a woman of self-determination and perseverance eloquently written to elucidate the purpose of life.