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Penguin Essentials Out Of Africa [Paperback]

Karen Blixen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 17 2011 Penguin Essentials
Karen Blixen's "Out of Africa" is the lyrical and luminous memoir of Kenya that launched a million tourist trails, beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. 'I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills...Up in this high air you breathed easily ...you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.' From the moment Karen Blixen arrived in Kenya in 1914 to manage a coffee plantation, her heart belonged to Africa. Drawn to the intense colours and ravishing landscapes, Blixen spent her happiest years on the farm, and her experiences and friendships with the people around her are vividly recalled in these memoirs. "Out of Africa" is the story of a remarkable and unconventional woman, and of a way of life that has vanished for ever. "With its lyrical and luminous picture of Kenya, it launched a million tourist trails". ("Guardian") "A compelling story of passion and a movingly poetic tribute to a lost land". ("The Times"). A work of sincere power ...a fine lyrical study of life in East Africa - Harold Nicolson, "Daily Telegraph" Karen Blixen was born in Rungsted, Denmark, in 1885. After studying art at Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914. Together they managed a coffee plantation in Kenya until they divorced in 1925. She continued on the farm until a collapse in the coffee market forced her back to Rungsted in 1931. Although she had written occasional contributions to Danish periodicals since 1905 (under the nom de plume of Osceola), her real debut took place in 1934 with the publication of Seven Gothic Tales, written in English under the pen name, Isak Dinesen. "Out of Africa" (1937) is an autobiographical account of the years she spent in Kenya. All of her subsequent books were published in both English and Danish, including "Winter's Tales" (1942) and "The Angelic Avengers" (1936). Among her other collections of stories are "Last Tales" (1957), "Anecdotes of Destiny" (1958), "Shadows on the Grass" (1960) and posthumously "Ehrengard" (1963). In the 1950s she was mentioned several times as a candidate to receive the Noble Prize in Literature. Baroness Blixen died in Rungsted in 1962. In 1991 her house was opened as The Karen Blixen Museum.

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A work of sincere power ... a fine lyrical study of life in East Africa -- Harold Nicolson Daily Telegraph A compelling story of passion and a movingly poetic tribute to a lost land The Times With its lyrical and luminous picture of Kenya, it launched a million tourist trails Guardian

About the Author

Karen Blixen was born in Rungsted, Denmark, in 1885. After studying art at Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914. Together they managed a coffee plantation in Kenya until they divorced in 1925. She continued on the farm until a collapse in the coffee market forced her back to Rungsted in 1931. Although she had written occasional contributions to Danish periodicals since 1905 (under the nom de plume of Osceola), her real debut took place in 1934 with the publication of Seven Gothic Tales, written in English under the pen name, Isak Dinesen. Out of Africa (1937) is an autobiographical account of the years she spent in Kenya. All of her subsequent books were published in both English and Danish, including Winter's Tales (1942) and The Angelic Avengers (1936). Among her other collections of stories are Last Tales (1957), Anecdotes of Destiny (1958), Shadows on the Grass (1960) and posthumously Ehrengard (1963). In the 1950s she was mentioned several times as a candidate to receive the Noble Prize in Literature. Baroness Blixen died in Rungsted in 1962. In 1991 her house was opened as The Karen Blixen Museum.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More depth than fluff Dec 22 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is definitely not the script for the movie of the same name. It is a wonderful personal account by a women who ran a 6,000 acre farm on the outskirts of Nairobi in the early part of the 20th century. The book provides a wonderful insight into the trials of the time as well as the colonial social structure that has not survived to our modern times. It is easy to see how author Karen Blixen would be an attractive subject for a screenwriter.
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Format:Paperback
The novel, Out of Africa is a personal account by the author of her 17 years living in Kenya and running her coffee plantation. There are substantial differences between this account and the movie that was based on this account and other sources. I particularly enjoined the language used by Karen Blixen which was probably typical of the times, and the fact that her various discourses often focussed on the indigenous people who lived there and who worked for her during these years. It is a wonderful snapshot of the era.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Love Poem to East Africa Nov. 10 2000
By Noah
Format:Hardcover
A quintessential, lyrical love poem to East Africa. Karen Blixen's years of joy, discovery and struggle unfold beautifully in "Out of Africa"...which she wrote years later (under the pseudonym Isak Denesen) after returning to her native Denmark. What is absent from the book which one finds in the Oscar-winning film are the relationship struggles with her long-time companion Dennys Finch Hatton. Here she keeps her focus on the many friends, employees and characters she met along the way in the operation of her coffee plantation during the early 1900s...and avoids writing romantically about Finch Hatton. Her love affair with Africa though is beautifully and eloquently expressed throughout "Out Of Africa." Those readers who may be interested in reading more about her and Finch Hatton might be interested in reading her "Letters From Africa."
"Out Of Africa" is essential reading for those contemplating a journey to Kenya or Tanzania. It reads like a very colorful and sometimes haunting work of fiction, and is all the more fascinating because this remarkable woman and writer actually experienced it all.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written June 28 2005
Format:Hardcover
I consider Out of Africa to be the best-written portrayal of Africa by a foreign writer. She did a great job in her portrayal, indicating that she was well versed not only with the land, but also with the native African peoples she met and knew as well as their way of life. The fact that Karen respected that way of life made her to have a deep understanding of their customs and lives at a time of colonialism where European settlers lived an exclusive life from the natives and only dealt with them as sources of cheap labor. I could not help recalling other titles set in the colonial era such as DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE and NOWHERE IN AFRICA. However, Karen towered above the others in her unique style of recounting her stories.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Julie Harris does a perfect read June 16 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
It's amazing how each media gives a completely different feel of this fabulous book. Dinesen's book gets 5 stars. The movie gets 5 stars for telling the stories in the book as well as its beautiful handling of the relationship between Karen and Denys. The audiotape of the book would get 5 stars as well, if it was unabridged. Julie Harris gives me goosebumps (in a good way!)
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3.0 out of 5 stars An incomplete version April 16 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
If you want the full version of Out of Africa, this is not the audio book for you - its abridged.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I could almost see the mountains Dec 29 2003
Format:Hardcover
Upon hearing of this book from catcher in the Rye I decided to read it on a whim. Isak Dinesen's love for the land that she called home shown through in every remarkable story she told about her farm. The smell, feel, look, and even life of the land was so wonderfuly painted that I lost myself in it. I found myself not wanting to stop reading, but dreading the approaching end of the book. A must read for those who love to travel even if it is only in their minds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a return to africa May 26 2003
Format:Hardcover
how can the reader not adore her? ten stars for karen blixen........and 100 for africa........where we honeymoned in 1970. i went back to nairobi with izak dinesen.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely but incomplete
Blixen writes beautifully. It is interesting to note that English was not her native tongue but that she paints with it a beautiful portrait of Kenya between the world wars, its... Read more
Published on March 6 2004 by GEORGE R. FISHER
5.0 out of 5 stars A hymn of praise and love for what was once Africa
Out of Africa is the very best of many memoirs of Africa in the early part of this century, the era before two World Wars changed that continent completely. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2003 by Peggy Vincent
4.0 out of 5 stars Struggles
Isak Dinesen's novel Out of Africa is a recollection of her time spent in Africa while struggling to cope with the immensely different cultures and struggling to run a coffee farm... Read more
Published on May 8 2003 by Peter Holowesko
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
This book is not longer than other books, but it is not a fast read. It is not such that you cannot put it down. Yet it is the best book I have ever read. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2003 by M.I.
4.0 out of 5 stars Some scattered fragmented passages can't derail the power
For anyone who's ever had to leave somewhere and never forgotten it, this is a must read.
You really get a strong sense of heartache here when Blixen is forced to give up her... Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2002 by JR
5.0 out of 5 stars luminous and magical as the African moon over her farm
Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) has been elevated to star status by the feminists for her independent stance and courage, but don't read this book because of that. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2002 by Karen Sampson Hudson
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