Memorias de África: Lejos de África; Sombras en la

Memorias de África: Lejos de África; Sombras en la hierba With classic simplicity and a painter s feeling for atmosphere and detail, Isak Dinesen tells of the years she spent fromtomanaging a coffee plantation in Kenya ❮Read❯ ➪ I Blame The Scapegoats Author John O& – Kleankitchen.co.uk Isak Dinesen tells of the years she spent fromtomanaging a coffee plantation in Kenya


About the Author: Isak Dinesen

Pseudonym used by the Danish author Karen Blixen.Baroness Karen von Blixen Finecke Danish k n b le sn 17 April 1885 7 September 1962 , born Karen Christentze Dinesen, was a Danish author, also known by the pen name Isak Dinesen, who wrote works in Danish, French and English She also at times used the pen names Tania Blixen, Osceola, and Pierre Andr zel.Blixen is best known for Out of Africa, an account of her life while living in Kenya, and for one of her stories, Babette s Feast, both of which have been adapted into Academy Award winning motion pictures She is also noted for her Seven Gothic Tales, particularly in Denmark wikipedia



10 thoughts on “Memorias de África: Lejos de África; Sombras en la hierba

  1. Henry Avila Henry Avila says:

    A Danish noblewoman comes to Africa gets married to a Swedish Baron, her second cousin and starts a coffee plantation close to the Ngong Hills in the Kenyan Colony southwest of Nairobi then just a small town before the start of WWI Isak Dinesen nee Karen Blixen finds real love and tragedy while managing it 1913 1931 The unfaithful husband Baron Bror Blixen neglects the Baroness and not interested in the farm , he enjoys the company of other women At an elevation above 6,000 feet you can im A Danish noblewoman comes to Africa gets married to a Swedish Baron, her second cousin and starts a coffee plantation close to the Ngong Hills in the Kenyan Colony southwest of Nairobi then just a small town before the start of WWI Isak Dinesen nee Karen Blixen finds real love and tragedy while managing it 1913 1931 The unfaithful husband Baron Bror Blixen neglects the Baroness and not interested in the farm , he enjoys the company of other women At an elevation above 6,000 feet you can imagine the difficulties, a great place for coffee beans are at lower levels she will discover to her immense regret These memoirs by the upper class woman of her African experiences tells mostly the truth, the interesting stories with hidden secrets, after all this was published in 1937 and reputations needed to be protected, discretion ruled the age Denys Finch Hatton a British aristocrat, Oxford educated oozing charm became her inevitable lover, she adoringly writes about but keeps the relationship unstated, but you can read between the lines He a big game hunter, flyer, the adventurer a lost soul escaping the restrictions of England for the freedom of a new untamed land, still never comfortable in , or anywhere else As the second son of a British Earlwell that says it all, the restless man will always be that Numerous native servants, some squatters the foreign lady has problems dealing with, strangely she s very popular treating them kindly, an amateur doctoring their illnesses unusual for those years, abandoned by her husband she alone must prevail Still a Somali worker her main servant Farah Aden indispensable, helps in her endeavors in the vast wilderness, lions roam and roar nearby constant danger to humans and their animals, which are many Disasters come regularly and the intervals much too short, the intermission ends and the calamities begin again The variety of African wildlife seen and heard amazes, insects also appear, millions of ravenous locust swarm and darken the skies no place like this on Earth especially in the 1920 s, a sad memory of the past I will report the beginning of the book starts slow and picks up greatly in the second half when the author revealsabout the local society with the complicated relationships between the various races inhabiting the area, the rulers and the ruled A fine narrative for the patient reader if you like the colorful setting as the fortuitous couple fly into the clouds high over the incredible country just happy to be together and the rather obvious mournful conclusion A companion piece written almost a quarter century after Out of Africa, Shadows on the Grass 1960, gives further details of Africa and what became of the legion of people there she the author met and loved some thrived others the oppositeIf you wantinformation the short book is indispensable and I would recommend this to anyone otherwise an unneeded read


  2. Matthew Matthew says:

    An interesting collection of anecdotes from Africa in the early 1900s It is better than a history book because you get to learn about it from the words of someone who lived it The colonialism approach of the time that is seen in the writing can be construed as imperialistic and, at times, racially inappropriate However, I would say that the author is writing what she knows at the time and never gets malicious to or speaks down about anyone in her story even if there are undertones that migh An interesting collection of anecdotes from Africa in the early 1900s It is better than a history book because you get to learn about it from the words of someone who lived it The colonialism approach of the time that is seen in the writing can be construed as imperialistic and, at times, racially inappropriate However, I would say that the author is writing what she knows at the time and never gets malicious to or speaks down about anyone in her story even if there are undertones that might be considered inappropriate today In fact, I think she does a pretty good job of giving us a glimpse into native life in Africa only one generation removed from no outside influence.Another thing I did not really see in the book is any hatred between religions or judgement of people because of who they are People of different religions, races, and social standing all seem to respect each other and give each other a wide berth when necessary i.e the Christians come to mourn a person, then they leave to allow that person s Muslim friends come in to mourn in their way I did not sense any animosity throughout the story Many of the main characters are Somalis and I kept thinking about all the conflicts there over the past 50 years or so none of that is seen here I would have to look into the background of this story a bitto see when she wrote this, but I am wondering if some of her inspiration with World Wars raging was to show an Africa before all of that and all the changes it was heading towards.This is a must read for history and memoir buffs


  3. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    So.Well introductionI was doing a repair to the ceiling when from that elevated position I noticed this slim volume attempting to hide from my hawk like vision, but too late, for I swooped down and caught in in my talons and read it tucked up in my nest I found it beguiling, lyrical, full of longing, it also reminded me of the Orwell story Shooting An Elephant I let the book settle over several nights in an attempt to digest it, but perhaps after six months or so it might have worked its way So.Well introductionI was doing a repair to the ceiling when from that elevated position I noticed this slim volume attempting to hide from my hawk like vision, but too late, for I swooped down and caught in in my talons and read it tucked up in my nest I found it beguiling, lyrical, full of longing, it also reminded me of the Orwell story Shooting An Elephant I let the book settle over several nights in an attempt to digest it, but perhaps after six months or so it might have worked its way through my system, now I am not even certain anyquite what it was precisely that so ensorcelled me, aside from that it reminded me in addition to Orwell also of Sancho Panza view spoiler which occurred to her too, writing of her relationship with her Somali servant and Majordomo Farah, she says he and I became a true unity, as picturesque, I believe, as that of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, fortunately there is no escape from the vision of Cervantes hide spoiler.I had seen a couple of five minute chunks from the film of the same name, from which I had the impression that it was the epic love story of two American actors set against the back drop of the First World War, well the book is nothing like that It features only one actor, a Swede who needs to walk across the Masai reserve at a time when it is thick with hungry lions with a taste for raw swede, the Baroness gives him a bottle of wine and sends him on his way Amazingly he does survive, apparently because the Masai appreciated his mime skills they had no common language in the Baroness account One thing that I certainly like was how Baroness Blixen described her dreams, which seemed curiously similar to how I experience my own dreams, however she also says that in seventeenth century books of manners it was considered bad manners to discuss dreams so.racismUnfortunately it seems impossible to avoid the subject of race, racism I guess comes in as wide a range of flavours as any other idea, perhaps in the Baroness case Tribalism might be a better word, the Kikuyu, the Masai, the Somali, the Arab, the Indian, the Norwegian, and the Swede all seem to have their own set and immutable characters, at the same time these fixed identities seem to have come about through historical processes and events, in the case of east Africa the slave trade and the differences between the pastoral and warlike Masai and the settled and frequently enslaved Kikuyu are in her mind the factors which shaped those peoples to be what they were in her day The divergence in her view between the white and the dark races in her view came about through the invention of the steam engine This reminded me of Robert Burns Ploughman in to a Mouse I m truly sorry Man s dominion Has broken Nature s social union, or as she has it When the first steam engine was constructed, the roads of the races of the world parted, and we have never found one another since p.153 , for her the occasional man who is out of time andakin to an earlier era canreadily understand and be understood by the Natives.Natives is her key term, at first it seemed to be used just to describe the Kikuyu, but eventually other highland peoples, but the Somali don t seem to be Native in the same way, and while her blacksmith who is from the Punjab view spoiler and sends all his wages home, receiving in exchange photographs of the family hide spoiler isn t a Native there is a clear sense of superiority and inferiority in her text At the same time she isn t hateful, although I felt her conception of racism is sharpened by a sense of her own inferiority She s the woman from Denmark who is suddenly exposed to a culture which in its way wassophisticated and worldly than her own, the east African highlands were long part of the world of the Monsoon, the horizons of these people were not bounded by the edges of their villages, but by Arabia and India Slavery and the trade in elephant tusks made for a deep history that I suspect Baroness Blixen was a little in awe of Perhaps racism always springs from feelings of inferiority or guilt towards others.Fundamentally, as Sancho Panza observed, there are only two families in the world, and the Baroness is an aristocrat I suspect that had the farm been in Jutland rather than Kenya that her observations about the Natives would have had the same sense of irreconcilable difference, and of an equally distinctly felt sense of superiority and inferiority Of course had the farm been in Jutland then the attempt to grow coffee would have been evenquixotic.the farm Blixen always refers to the joint stock capital enterprise as the farm , this I think symptomatic of the aristocrat, as they use words differently A farm to me suggests three cows each of whom one addresses politely by name, a sow and her boar in a cleaned stall, a gaggle of geese and hens waiting at the back door of the farmhouse, waiting for someone to come out and to sprinkle some grain The Blixen enterprise is different, there are shareholders, the viability of the farm is determined by the international price of coffee, the Blixens have 600 acres given over to coffee plants and in addition pasture lands to feed the oxen needed to haul the coffee to Narobi from where the railway carries it to the coast on its way to the waiting coffee pots of the world, the farm has a pond the dam to create it is two hundred foot long This is no cosy little operation, this is an industrial enterprise that is part of a global economy At the same time she tells us almost from the first that the farm is too high up, the kind of error one could have avoided by looking in a book, failure to be able to satisfy the shareholders is just a matter of time, the writing isn t just on the wall it s in the landscape for all to see In places she regrets the coffee and imagines how if she had a dairy it would have thrived the short distance to Narobi meaning there would be a ready market for fresh milk, butter and cheese, ultimately the farm will be divided up for suburban housing.AristocracyLike I say, aristocrats use words differently, so when she saysThere is a particular happiness in giving a man whom you like very much, good food that you have cooked yourself , what she means is the pleasure of having a friend round and a trained servant in the kitchen who will cook dinner in a European style.She has in common with Danish aristocrat Tycho Brahe a penchant for keeping inappropriate animals in the house, but Blixen s descriptions of the beauty and haughty nature of the gazelle doe and how she bullied the hunting dogs away from her place by the fire are delightful.It s not just the difference with the Natives , she was concerned about she also complains to the governor general of the colony about the quality of the settlers, which presumably was not to her taste.When the end comes, her first instinct is to shoot her dogs, though eventually she decides against this but it stuck me as not just as aristocratic response to the unviability of the plantation in the world economic climate but specifically a bit Beowulf really.Time travelThe country that isdeveloped industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own futurepreface to German edition of Capital wrote Karl Marx, or as I might paraphrase travel is time travel That idea is well established in popular usage, we might think of a visit to Tokyo or Seoul as futuristic, glimpses of what our own metropolis might look like in someor less distant future Though for most of us Narobi probably represents aimmediate looking future with mobile phones doing away with money and becoming a key financial and identity tool The baroness mentions the custom among the Kikuyu of claiming compensation even for death and serious injury, after a while she comes up with the word weregild to describe it, and essentially many of her stories turn upon or show the differences in thinking between the settlers and the squatters for so too the natives on the farm are described view spoiler it s not entirely clear if the squatters were living in the area before the farm was established or if they moved there afterwards, in anycase their legal right to reside in the region of their birth was tied up in the legal existence of the coffee plantation as a going concern and when the plantation is wound up Blixen petitions for the Kikuyu to be allowed to live nearby hide spoiler , but as the use of the term weregild implies, these differences in mentalitie are in fact symptomatic of time travel, a 20th century mind coming to terms with pre modern ones.She wonders at the old African who in making his statement about the wounding of three boys due to the discharge of a firearm who after some thought begins his account of the evening in question by discussing things which had occurred fourteen oryears earlier, but when she gets going, in the manner of Sancho Panza, her own narrative style also rambles with seven league boots on, from Lion skins to the King of Denmark via her uncle the chamberlain and the order of the elephant, to the pain killing powers of a letter from said king when the letter is firmly pressed on a young wounded Kikuyu, a touch of Le Roi Thaumaturge perhaps, again time travel, though maybe the habit of Royal families of visiting hospitals after disasters and atrocities is a faint echo of such belief patterns Her ramblings though are beautiful, I would have liked to quote some but her lyricism can bubble on for three paragraphs Naturally there are lots of hunting stories, though twisted by her own personality in one a hunting dog tricks her into running out rifle in hand to take aim at a domestic cat in a tree The dog is deeply amused and spends most of the day laughing at her, it is that kind of book.shooting an elephantReading I wondered what a contemporary Kikuyu would make of the Baroness book, her white saviour complex and that the people on the farm knew that she had such a complex and that on one occasion at least they all got to laugh together over her silliness This book is two in one, the first Out of Africa completed shortly after her return to Europe, the second written much later For all the assumption and belief in her own superiority when you take something small, like tens of thousands of colonists, and deposit them in the midst of a big different environment like the Kenya colony, over time it is the big environment that wins out, the Baroness returns to Denmark but as an exile She describes how the natives give the whites nicknames, calling one Englishman the elephant and Blixen describes how she saw him after he retired and went back to Britain standing outside the elephant house of London zoo looking as forlorn and lost as his namesakes One senses the same is true of her, the books stand testament to it, just as Orwell as a young policeman thought he was the one in charge but finds out in Burma that he s forced to act by those he is nominally in charge of, so to the Baroness fails to colonise even her plantation, but Kenya succeeded in colonising her from the heart outwards view spoiler the old women had the fashion of shaving their heads and over time this came to seem to Blixen as the epitome of feminine beauty, though seemingly she didn t adopt the style for herself hide spoiler


  4. BrokenTune BrokenTune says:

    There is something strangely determinate and fatal about a single shot in the night It is as if someone had cried a message to you in one word, and would not repeat it I stood for some time wondering what it had meant Nobody could aim at anything at this hour, and, to scare away something, a person would fire two shots or There is some truly beautiful writing in this book When describing the land and the wildlife of Africa, Dinesen i.e Karen Blixen truly shines as a writer and I cThere is something strangely determinate and fatal about a single shot in the night It is as if someone had cried a message to you in one word, and would not repeat it I stood for some time wondering what it had meant Nobody could aim at anything at this hour, and, to scare away something, a person would fire two shots or There is some truly beautiful writing in this book When describing the land and the wildlife of Africa, Dinesen i.e Karen Blixen truly shines as a writer and I can only believe that it is this aspect of her book that resonates with so many who rate this book, Out of Africa, highly I mean, the film of the same title is not really based on and has little to do with this book, so clearly readers must see something else in the book that appeals to them and I m guessing it is the lyrical description of the African landscape If the book contained itself to her impressions of the land, I would have loved this book, too Unfortunately, no amount of lyrical prose was able to outweigh the aspects of the book that really drove me nuts, noneso than the way author writes about the people of Kenya and, by doing so, what we learn about the author herself After reading only a couple of chapter I was utterly conflicted whether the author s constant racism was a result of her genuine believe that white Europeans were supreme to the primitive natives or whether her offensive descriptions of the Natives was a result of some sort of mistake in articulating what she really meant.Seeing the she continued to generalise about African people and compare them to animals throughout the book, it leaves little argument against the assumption that Dinesen really believed in the superiority of the white Immigrants So the next question that occurred and as one fellow reader pointed out also is, how much of the casual racism was a result of the time that Dinesen lived in Well, seeing that she lived in Africa between 1915 and 1931 Out of Africa was published in 1937 , it is of course to be expected that her views are reflecting the s of a less enlightened time, which is somewhat ironic as she fills the book with literary and philosophical references in an attempt to show off her worldliness and pretends to present herself as an enlightened, witty and intellectual woman This in particular made me want to smack her with a copy Markham s West with the Night Markham may have had her shortcomings but she did not need to fuel her self confidence by patronising anyone, least her African neighbours As much as Dinesen s racism may have been a reflection of her time, it became clear when reading the first story in Shadows on the Grass, that Dinesen s believe of superiority must have been ingrained in herdeeply than just as an expression of a sentiment that was popular within her social circles Shadows on the Grass was published in 1960 So, at that time Dinesen had not only returned to Europe, but had also widely travelled, was at home in the artistic and literary circles of Europe and the US, and as any enlightened intellectual of the time would have been exposed to current affairs of the world such as the beginning of the civil rights movement in the US, the demise of the colonial systems as a result of the moral issues raised with supremacist theories after WWII, etc Yet, the first story in Shadows on the Grass contains the same racist bullshit as Out of Africa including the followingThe dark nations of Africa, strikingly precocious as young children, seemed to come to a standstill in their mental growth at different ages The Kikuyu, Kawirondo and Wakamba, the people who worked for me at the farm, in early childhood were far ahead of the white children of the same age, but they stopped quite suddenly at a stage corresponding to that of a European child of nine She even goes on to say that she found some pseudo scientific theory to support her musings on the qualities of different races Of course, this only takes up one paragraph in the book and she does not present any arguments that may contradict her opinions How is this supportable by the justification that she was a writer of her time Had she been of her time I would have expected her to move on, but no What the book also told me about Dinesen is that she hadappreciation and compassion for animals than for human beings She was against killing animals for sport except lions lions were fair game, apparently , which was quite unusual for a member of the society she lived in, and also considering that the love of her life, Denys Finch Hatton, organised safaris for wealthy big game hunters And yet, when confronted with the victim of a shooting accident, a child who had been shot accidentally, all she can say is the followingWhen you are brought suddenly within the presence of such disaster, there seems to be but one advice, it is the remedy of the shooting field and the farmyard that you should kill quickly and at any cost And yet you know that you cannot kill, and your brain turns with fear I put my hands to the child s head and pressed it in my despair, and, as if I had really killed him, he at the same moment stopped screaming, and sat erect with his arms hanging down, as if he was made of wood So now I know what it feels like to heal by imposition So, her first instinct is to shoot the child The second insight she gains is that she deludes herself into thinking she could heal by laying on hands Actually, there isabout her delusional exploits as a medic when deciding to become the primary medical care giver to the Natives on her farm Granted, any first aid may have been better than none, but at no time does she pretend to want to find out if what she s doing is of any medical help, and it looks like failures didn t make her stop to think, eitherI knew very little of doctoring, just what you learn at a first aid course But my renown as a doctor had been spread by a few chance lucky cures, and had not been decreased the catastrophic mistakes that I had madeSo, again while some of the writing is great, I just cannot muster any sympathy or liking for the author, who, to me, came across as an ignorant, utterly delusional, racist, ever pretending to be something she was not


  5. K.D. Absolutely K.D. Absolutely says:

    Karen Blixen alias Isak Dinesen, 1885 1962 has the ability to transport you to the early 20th century Africa The Africa when there were still herds of zebras and elephants suddenly appearing in the clearing while you are planting or harvesting acres and acres of coffee As I was leafing the pages of this book, I was doing the inhale exhale that my wife normally tells me to do whenever we are spending a weekend in a resort far from the polluted ManilaInhale exhale Chance to put fresh airKaren Blixen alias Isak Dinesen, 1885 1962 has the ability to transport you to the early 20th century Africa The Africa when there were still herds of zebras and elephants suddenly appearing in the clearing while you are planting or harvesting acres and acres of coffee As I was leafing the pages of this book, I was doing the inhale exhale that my wife normally tells me to do whenever we are spending a weekend in a resort far from the polluted ManilaInhale exhale Chance to put fresh air into your lungs,says she to me and my daughter There go the three chests heaving and puffing air as if our lungs have the power to inhale and store oxygen molecules and only exhale them out when we go back to the city.Very powerful novel Imagine uprooting a brilliant Danish writer and asking her to stay for around 20 years in an enchanted land of Kenya in Africa Blixen and her second cousin Bhor von Blixen Finecke are in love so they go to Africa, build themselves a house by the side of Ngong Hills, few kilometers from Nairobi Then they buy and till acres and acres of coffee plantation This book is partly memoir true to life , partly biography although not narrated chronologically and partly fiction Dinesen made itglamorous compared to what really happened according to Wiki entries Thus, it defies being neatly placed into a genre The end result, however, is astonishing that Truman Capote once saidOut of Africa by Isak Dinesen is one of the most beautiful books of the twentieth centuryHave you seen the 1981 movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford The one that took home many Oscar awards including Best Picture Yes I have It is beautiful, isn t it But as always, the book is better than the movie True that some of the beautiful beautiful passages of the books were spoken by the characters but nothing can compare to reading actual prose straight from the pen of Isak Dinesen Her words are magical and you can almost feel the leaves of the coffee shrubs, feel the rays of the sun penetrating your skin, smell the wonderful grassy breeze coming from the hills This book has that unique ability to make you feel, see, touch, smell and even taste its setting It is really almost like an out of body experience.Wonderful


  6. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    Out of Africa was first published in 1937, after the author s return to Denmark Shadows on the Grass consists of fouressays The first three were written in the 1950s and the last, titled Echoes from the Hills , was written in the 60s They just add a fewdetails about events and characters mentioned in the original book.The movie Out of Africa, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, was produced and directed by Sydney Pollack It was based not only on Blixen s Out of Africa, but Out of Africa was first published in 1937, after the author s return to Denmark Shadows on the Grass consists of fouressays The first three were written in the 1950s and the last, titled Echoes from the Hills , was written in the 60s They just add a fewdetails about events and characters mentioned in the original book.The movie Out of Africa, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, was produced and directed by Sydney Pollack It was based not only on Blixen s Out of Africa, but also Judith Thurman s Isak Dinesen The Life of a Storyteller, Errol Trzebinski s Silence Will Speak and Blixen s Letters from Africa, 1914 1931 The movie and Out of Africa Shadows on the Grass are quite different The movie is best classified as a couple s love story The book, if it is to be classified as a love story, is of a love between a woman and a land, Africa,specifically the Kenyan highlands and the Ngong Hills, southwest of Nairobi where she had her coffee farm She moved here in 1914 after marriage to her Swedish second cousin, Baron Bror von Blixen Finecke She remained almost eighteen years, running the farm alone after she and her husband were divorced in 1925 Much of her writing is under the pen name of Isak Dinesen, her father being the Dane Wilhelm Dinesen This book is not an autobiography of her life She writes of the land and the people on her farm She says very little about family or her personal relationships, except those with her workers In fact not one word is mentioned of her husband, and very little about her lover, the English big game hunter Denys Finch Hatton What you are told is of his airplane crash in 1931 and of his burial on her land In fact you do learn who she was by following her thoughts and what she does The book isa set of essays on events that occurred on the farm and her relationship with Kikuyus, Somalis and the nomadic Maasai It is not complete and it is not told in chronological order One whole section is devoted to short, short tales about animals, about African folklore and about customs These read as fables, each with a message She loved the Africans for their stories She is a lovely storyteller herself She writes about the way the Africans honor that which is written, by relating amusing stories You learn about traditions, the dances and festivals, clothing and food This is a book about the African world she lived in, and it is beautifully, lyrically described particularly the landscapes, the air, the views She is also adept at seeing animals They are not merely furred beasts They have souls They have personalities Her stories about animals are funny and moving, and will appeal to all animal lovers I was brought to tears, not when Denys died, but when she had to leave Kenya The farm failed it was a hopeless endeavor I cannot give thisthan three stars Some sections are hard to follow Some sections are overly philosophical, but the real problem I had is of how she speaks of the natives in a paternalistic, if not racist tone I do understand that this was the era of colonialism She respects the natives , some of them at least, and she acknowledges the wisdom and abilities they have and which Whites often lack, but she doesn t see them as equals She looks down on them She sees them with condescension This disturbed me I am of a different era In the beginning sections I wasn t sure if I was simply misinterpreting her words, but her outlook became blatantly evident in her first essay of Shadows on the Grass, the one entitled Farah.The narration of the audiobook by Susan Lyons was excellent The author writes of her African life having returned to Denmark Sections are nostalgic in tone and Lyons reading reflects this Clear and easy to understand After a humorous line she pauses You have a chance to think and then smile


  7. blue-collared mind blue-collared mind says:

    I start with the famous paragraph If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for meI almost gasped when I I start with the famous paragraph If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for meI almost gasped when I read this the first time I certainly drew a slow breath in and re read it a few times Most of the book s paragraphs are almost as beautifully finished and as musical as that The graceful thing Dinesen Blixen does is to write about the difficult, mundane matters she faced as if the very farm and its people made the decisions for her You see what a queen of a small country would have worried over and what would have amused and angered her as well Her Danish background gave her the framework to write this as fables in the daily epic of life in Africa and also allowed her to write friends and staff as archetypes and as heroes That means we are not reading a completely factual account of her time in Africa, but the sensory story that we do have istender andillustrative than any day by day account would or could ever be I also re read this often People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness, which the world of the day knows not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom The thing which in the waking world comes nearest to a dream is night in a big town, where nobody knows one, or the African night There too, is infinite freedom it is there that things go on, destinies are made round you, there is activity to all sides, and it is none of your concern. That s what this is a dream, written about a moment long gone but still beautiful


  8. Carol Carol says:

    I cried four times while reading this book For the beauty of the writing fireflies , the sentiment the zoo animals, lulu and for gratitude that this woman existed and wrote these words down It s my favorite type of writing descriptive and evocative She is able to make me feel like I am there with her I think she noticed and felt so much that she had to be a writer I also admire her and how she lived her life This was a strong woman who seemed to keep a sense of innocence that allowed I cried four times while reading this book For the beauty of the writing fireflies , the sentiment the zoo animals, lulu and for gratitude that this woman existed and wrote these words down It s my favorite type of writing descriptive and evocative She is able to make me feel like I am there with her I think she noticed and felt so much that she had to be a writer I also admire her and how she lived her life This was a strong woman who seemed to keep a sense of innocence that allowed her to feel and see the gentle beauty in everything and everyone that is around us always


  9. Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance says:

    Between the river in the mellow English landscape and the African mountain ridge, ran the path of this life The bowstring was released on the bridge at Eton, the arrow described its orbit, and hit the obelisk in the Ngong HillsKaren Blixen, Out of Africa This is a group read I participated in, and I am certain that I will not be able to do it enough honor with my review in attempting to convey this rich, lyrical and beautiful memoir of Karen Blixen s years she spent running a coffee pBetween the river in the mellow English landscape and the African mountain ridge, ran the path of this life The bowstring was released on the bridge at Eton, the arrow described its orbit, and hit the obelisk in the Ngong HillsKaren Blixen, Out of Africa This is a group read I participated in, and I am certain that I will not be able to do it enough honor with my review in attempting to convey this rich, lyrical and beautiful memoir of Karen Blixen s years she spent running a coffee plantation in British East Africa in 1914 I will try to insert a few of my favorite passages to give you a glimpse of its essence.This to me was so beautifully written it does not read as a non fiction book Karen Blixen had a gift of understanding life Her intrinsic ways with the land, the people and its animals, her kindness and strength simply shine through in so many passages of this book As a worldly woman of its time she was born in 1885 , she started writing down her thoughts and memories after her return back to her home country in Denmark at the age of 49 These were also adapted into film starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in 1986, winning the Academy award for best picture of the year, which I will watch next This book may not be for everyone, though I find it a journey to appreciate The descriptions of the land and the people she encountered in Africa are vibrant and easy to imagine as you readUp in this air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought Here I am, where I ought to beKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaHer love for this place shines through and throughWhen you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find out that it is the same in all her musicKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaShe had gained the trust and understanding of the different tribes around her It took a long time and communicating partly with hands and feet to get thereThe lack of prejudice in the Natives is a striking thing, for you expect to find dark taboos in the primitive people It is due, I believe, to their acquaintance with a variety of races and tribes, and to the lively human intercourse that was brought upon East Africa, first by the old traders of ivory and slaves, and in our days by the settlers and big game huntersKaren Blixen, Out of Africa Technology was rarely used in these parts of the worldI have never seen an old Native who, for things which moved by themselves without apparent interference by man or by the forces of Nature, expressed anything but distrust and a certain feeling of shameKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaWild animals were all around herNo domestic animal can be as still as a wild animal The civilized people have lost the aptitude of stillness, and must take lessons in silence from the wild before they are accepted by itKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaAs in civilized countries all people have a chronic bad conscience towards the slums, and feel uncomfortable when they think of them, so in Africa you have got a bad conscience and feel a pang, when you think of the oxen But towards the oxen on the farm, I felt as, I suppose, a king will be feeling towards his slums You are I, and I am youKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaHerself, she had several dogs, horses and cows And in this book, she actually spends a lot of different parts, talking about all the different wildlife of Africa Here a passage of Giraffes she described that were on a ship, as they were shipped to Hamburg Germany, to a zoo You can tell her dislike of the use of animals in that wayThe Giraffes turned their delicate heads from the one side to the other, as if they were surprised which they might well be They had not seen the Sea before They could only just have room to stand in the narrow case The world had suddenly shrunk, changed and closed around them They could not know or imagine the degradation to which they were sailing For they were proud and innocent creatures, gentle amblers of the Great Plains they had not the least knowledge of captivity, cold, stench, smoke and mange, nor of the terrible boredom in a worked in which nothing is ever happeningKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaThe natives often wondered, when she took a plane up high, if she actually saw GodWhen you have flown over the Rift Valley and the volcanoes of Suswa and Longonot, you have traveled far and have been to the lands on the other side of the moon You may at other times fly low enough to see the animals on the plains and to feel towards them as God did when he had just created them, and before he commissioned Adam to give them namesKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaIn other parts, she spent time explaining about the vegetation, and the drought Some weeks were sweltering hot, and at some point there was an infestation of insectsBut the ancient mango trees have a dense dark green foliage and give benignant shade they create a circular pool of black coolness underneath them More than any other tree that I know of, they suggest a place to meet in, a center for human intercourse they are as sociable as the village wells Big markets are held under the mango trees, and the ground round their trunks is covered with hen coops, and piled up with watermelonsKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaI do feel that Blixen understood and valued the native s ways and customs Every tribe had different rules and ways of living or dying And many friends come and go in her life on the farm Some friendships formed long lasting bonds and mutual understanding and respect Some were of a shorter wile, but none were given anyor less time in her writing I felt there wasequality and sense of mutualism as all worked together and had their place As an outsider , Blixen was very open minded and respectful, well educated, strong and sensitive to the matters of her squatters on the landThe pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, bright and delicate colors, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of. Karen Blixen, Out of AfricaTowards the end of the book, you get a sense of her sadness about having to leave AfricaIt was not I who was going away, I did not have it in my power to leave Africa, but it was the country that was slowly and gravely withdrawing from me, like the sea in ebb tide The procession that as passing here, it was in reality my strong pulpy young dancers of yesterday and the day before yesterday, who were withering before my eyes, who were passing away forever They were going in their own style, gently, in a dance, the people were with me, and I with the people, well contentKaren Blixen, Out of AfricaAlthough I have included a few quotations from the book, it is simply not enough to tell everything in between There is much that happened and many details about the people, the land and the animals and their stories I simply can only supply a glimpse I felt very content reading this book It found me at the right time you could say My edition has the Shadows on the Grass essays in the back, which she wrote 25 years later I believe, and I may read them as well There wasn t really an end or a summarized closure to Out of Africa , so maybe this will have that feel to it retrospectively I am rating this 5 stars, since I felt that I was able to get to know a person so well through the writing, without her ever much saying anything about herself at all It waslike a window into her world of thoughts and so well done, it will certainly stay with me for a while Again, not for everyone, but I enjoyed it


  10. Cecelia Cecelia says:

    This was a beautiful book I began reading it three years ago and set it aside in favor of lighter literature, but I resumed it this winter and found that the rich, unhurried prose soothed my spirits and carried me away Reminiscent of Richard Llewllyn s How Green Was My Valley , O.O.A is a work of love, a sensitive soul s lyrical tribute to a beloved landscape The passages are often long and I found I neededstamina than I m used to in order to keep up with Dinesen s meandering s of m This was a beautiful book I began reading it three years ago and set it aside in favor of lighter literature, but I resumed it this winter and found that the rich, unhurried prose soothed my spirits and carried me away Reminiscent of Richard Llewllyn s How Green Was My Valley , O.O.A is a work of love, a sensitive soul s lyrical tribute to a beloved landscape The passages are often long and I found I neededstamina than I m used to in order to keep up with Dinesen s meandering s of mind and memory, but almost each trek took me to a sudden summit or unveiled an unexpected emotional vista approachable through no better route I d say the book was sad but that the sorrow was the cleansing kind, nothing bitter or belittling There were mica bits of shimmering humor that reminded me of James Herriot They often cropped up as Dinesen talked about the miscommunications between herself and her servant s or squatters Loved it


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