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Penguin Essentials Out Of Africa Paperback – May 17 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK (May 17 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241951437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241951439
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2 x 18.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 82 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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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I HAD A FARM in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. Read the first page
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By Peter Holowesko on May 8 2003
Format: Hardcover
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 at too high of an altitude. This book is a collection of her stories most of them about her adventures shared with lover Denys Finch-Hatton. Many of the stories are very dangerous, like when they go lion hunting. These stories show the wild side that Dinesen posses. These stories are in no chronological order and at times make the book hard to follow. The best part of the book is the astounding imagery used. The imagery describes the breathtaking views from the on top the Ngong hills and allows you to feel the lack of oxygen, smell the coffee plants and feel the strong African sun beating down upon your skin. The down side to this book is, even after experiencing many adventurers with Dinesen you will probably feel that you do not know much about her personality. This is due to lack of character development since she is telling the story and never describes herself. You do however learn about the struggle she faces being a European woman living in a minority, in a place with very different and diverse cultures. She has to adapt to these cultures and even though she finds her European traditions very different from those of the Africans, she realizes that there is some common ground between the two. Even though this book can be at times hard to follow I highly recommend reading it. The magnificent imagery makes up for the down sides to the book and causes you to realize why Dinesen fell in love with Africa. You will probably find yourself falling in live with Africa and its people just as Dinesen did. A truly remarkable book.
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Format: Hardcover
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. Don't look for the tragic story of her misguided marriage and the heartbreak and barrenness it brought her, or for descriptions of her love affair with adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton. None of that appears here.
Instead, "Out of Africa" is a storytelling book woven in the imaginative Danish style. Dinesen's finely tuned sensitivity is revealed here, as well as her (again typically Danish) well-developed gift for friendship with many kinds of people. In her case this gift extends to African animals as well, like Lulu, the beautiful gazelle who graced her plantation for years.

Her descriptions of the Kenya of her day are exquisitely written, factual and magical at the same time. Africa is the star of the book, not Dinesen herself, not the tribespeople or the colonials, not her struggles with raising coffee in land "a little too high", nor her political dealings with the government officials. Her writing evokes the Africa she knew well and loved deeply.
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Format: Hardcover
I think that when someone writes his/her memories or an autobiography, more than sharing an experience with the readers he / she wants to come to terms with something that happened and Writing can be a very helpful shink sometimes. When it comes to "Out Of Africa", it seems that in the whole book Karen Blixen -- aka Isak Dinesen or Tania Blixen or Pierre Andrezel -- is trying to come to terms with the lost of her farm in Nariobi.
In my opinion, the last part is the most important a nd I had the feeling that all the others are a preparation for what would happen. The novel bounces between naive humor and native costumes in Africa. It is very clear that the writer is deeply in love with the continent, so it is not possible to have an anlytical approach to the subjet. But, of course, we have to keep in mind that she is telling us part of her live, so who would be able to be analytical ? the writing is nice, but sometimes heavy and boring. It came a time while reading that I had the feeling I was 'reading' in circles -- I mean it seemed that I'd been reading the same thing over and over again. But I think I could see her point: she wants to tell the more experiences and life in Africa she can. I liked the first pages vey much, they are very lyrical and funny somehow, but after a time all these things become boring and very hard to be followed.
Anyway, the book can be read as a prortrait of the portrait of the colonialism in Africa and its impact on natives's lives. But I wonder how accurate it is. We cannot forget that the story is told by an European's point of view, and many times she addmits not undertanding many costumes of the natives.
However, I cannot forget to mention the high points of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Isak Dinesen has in this work brought to life the beauty of living in the African wild. Her story told through the eyes of heart break is able to take the reader into the wilds of Africa, and create a respect for the land, its people and its wild. Her love for every aspect of the land is openly apparent from the very beginning of the book, and we see it even at the very end when she begs the British Governor to allow the natives to remain on her land. This far away land had taken her into its arms when she needed its love the most, and this was her way of paying it back. She broke tradition in many ways - her eventual admittance to the 'mens club' in Nairobi reveals the amazing strength of this woman. She had a farm in Africa, and she truely loved it for everything it was and everything it had shared with her and she with it. This is a book that my mother read, and now I have read and love it. It transported both of us to this far away land and made us fall in love with its beauty - this maybe the reason why my mother returns to Africa every few years to visit the plains of Masaimara. I assure you, you will not regret reading this work - it is one of a kind!
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