Great Circle, by Maggie Shipstead (Knopf)

- L.M.

Never mind that a century separates Marian Graves and Hadley Baxter, the two headstrong protagonis­ts of Maggie Shipstead’s sweeping novel Great Circle. One is a tomboy determined to join the ranks of the first female pilots, the other a disgraced star of a Twilight- like franchise whose romantic entangleme­nts have upended her career. The pair are both orphans raised by uncles and united by an impervious­ness to the sexism that casts a pall over their respective moments. Oh, and Hadley’s next part is the lead in a biopic of Marian. The Marian portions rove from Montana to Manhattan to Scotland and Antarctica, and read like a carnival of early-20th-century American history, packed with bootlegger­s, treacherou­s boxcar rides, and tragic shipwrecks. The Hadley chapters, in turn, offer a delectable dissection of life as a celebrity, serving up an intelligen­t skewering of the Hollywood machine and allowing the book to take flight.—

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