Monday, 9 January 2012

Book Review: Sagittarius Rising - Cecil Lewis

Amazing story, superbly written.

First published in 1936, this is an autobiography of the author set during the first world war. That said, it also includes some of his time after this when he went to China to teach flying. It is an amazingly well written book. During the time of his story, he studied poetry and in my opinion it shows in his intelligent and melodic writing style.

Sometimes I like to 'dog ear' pages or underline things if I think that in the future I would like to pick up the book again and go find something striking, something profound or poetic. I didn't bother with this because after a few pages I just knew this was a book that was going to be full of such things.

In terms of an autobiographic story it flows with a lively pace and is graceful and humble in many ways. Cecil appears to have lived a charmed life. After everything, the war ended when he was 20 .... when the average lifespan of a pilot was measured in a few weeks and days ! He went through so much and lost many friends.

Some of the scenes stay with you long after you have closed the book and nodded off to sleep! I was flying over the Somme most nights while I was reading this. I was also flying back to England without telling anybody, or I was cloud scudding at 300 feet over the beaches looking for an airfield.

There are a couple of passages where I couldn't breath through laughter. His first loop the loop, the time one of his inventor gadget loving fellow pilots made a grenade launcher (oh how I cried at this) and the time he tried to swing his own prop.

Oh yes,  for sure, I will be reading this book again.

I wholeheartedly loved this mans story and in particular the poetic way he delivers it to the reader......What an amazing life a man can lead.

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