HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Out Of Africa by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)
Loading...

Out Of Africa (original 1937; edition 1986)

by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,524641,499 (3.97)277
Member:sageboy
Title:Out Of Africa
Authors:Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)
Info:Guild Publishing (1986), Leather Bound, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Autobiography

Work details

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (1937)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 277 mentions

English (54)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I am not quite certain how to rate or review this memoir, since I had such high hopes that I would be drawn to [a:Isak Dinesen's|7215049|Isak Dinesen|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1432804794p2/7215049.jpg] (Karen Blixen's) personal stories. Instead, I found myself struggling through much of the book but continued on reading it for an upcoming book discussion.

With the exception of a few chapters, much of the book read like a diary or written caricatures of individuals who either worked on or visited Blixen's Ngong farm. The two chapters primarily discussing Denys Finch-Hatton, were among the most interesting and well written. Somehow those chapters seemed to have a flow and purpose to them that some of the others lacked, but that is just my personal assessment. The first chapter also contained some lovely descriptions of the African landscape and coffee plantation. For example: The geographical position, and the height of the land combined to create a landscape that had not its like in all the world. There was no fat on it and no luxuriance anywhere; it was Africa distilled up through six thousand feet, like the strong and refined essence of a continent. The colours were dry and burnt, like the colours in pottery. Those types of poetry-like descriptions almost made the book worth reading in its entirety. As the chapters progressed though, I felt that type of prose became less and less frequent.

Putting aside the fact this book was written from the point of view of a wealthy and privileged white settler living in Kenya, seemingly the stories would have been far more readable had they been edited or rewritten with some common sequential thread or purpose in mind. Although I realize there are many 4 and 5 star rating on Goodreads, I am choosing to give [b:Out of Africa|781787|Out of Africa|Isak Dinesen|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1178296503s/781787.jpg|1189079] 2.5 stars. ( )
  Lisa805 | Jul 23, 2016 |
Meh. This is a perfect example of a book that just wasn't what I wanted it to be. I knew that the book did not get personal as the movie does and that Denison's interesting love life was not part of this book, but I didn't expect that all of the author's personality would be stripped from this "memoir". Instead, this is Denison's musings on Africa. As such, I suppose it is interesting as a capsule of European views of Africa at the time, but I didn't like the tone that the Africans were described in (very belittling) or all the hunting and killing of the wildlife so that the Europeans could have their farms and livestock. It just put a bad taste in my mouth.

I will admit that some of the writing is beautiful and it is interesting from a historical perspective, but, overall, I was just bored and sort of annoyed. I would have just set this aside after the first chapter but I wanted to complete it since it's on the 1001 books to read before you die list. ( )
  japaul22 | Apr 14, 2016 |
Wonderful storytelling, and she writes beautifully. Quite different from the movie, and the romance with Denys Finch Hatton is nowhere in sight. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Apr 11, 2016 |
So good. She had incredible style, can't wait to read another. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Out of Africa tells the story of a farm that the narrator once had in Africa. The farm is located at the foot of the Ngong hills outside of Nairobi, in what is now Kenya. It sits at an altitude of six thousand feet. The farm grows coffee, although only part of its six thousand acres is used for agriculture. The remaining parts of the land are forest and space for the natives to live on.

Most of the natives on the farm are from the Kikuyu tribe. In exchange for living on the farm, they labor on it a certain number of days per year. There are many other tribal Africans nearby. The Swahilis live in Nairobi and down the coast. The Masai live on a large Reserve just South of the farm. Many Somalis live in the area as well, including Farah, the chief servant who helps the narrator run the entire farm. The narrator herself is a Danish woman. She never gives her name while telling her story, although it is mentioned in subtle ways as "Baroness Blixen" and once as "Tania."

The narrator is actively involved with the natives on her farm. She runs an evening school for both children and adults. She gives medical care to anyone who needs it every morning. Once she treats a young Kikuyu boy Kamante, who has open sores running up and down his legs. When she cannot heal him, she sends him to a nearby hospital runs by Scotch Protestants. Kamante is healed and returns home a newly converted Christian. He becomes the farm chef and is an expert at preparing the most complex of European dishes. The narrator even sends him for further training in Nairobi.

For the majority of Out of Africa, the narrator remembers different incidents that took place on the farm, although these events are not described in chronological order. One time there is an accidental shooting in which one native boy shot two others, killing one and seriously injuring the other. Eventually, the elders of the Kikuyu tribe determine that the father of the boy who shot the gun must pay the other families for what they suffered. After numerous debates and the involvement of the Kikuyu Chief, Kinanjui, a certain quantity of livestock is settled upon.

The narrator also has many visitors to her farm. These visitors include many Europeans living around Nairobi, natives who come for large native dances or Ngomas, a old Dane named Knudsen who lives out his days on the farm, and an Indian high priest. Two of her closest friends, Berkeley Cole and Denys Finch-Hatton, spend a large amount of time on the farm. Berkley Cole has his own nearby farm, but he helps keep the narrator's up to standard by bringing in wine, food, and gramophone records. Denys Finch-Hatton has no home in Africa except for the farm, although he spends most of his days on safari. Finch-Hatton and the narrator frequently hunt together. On two separate occasions, they shot two lions together. Finch-Hatton and the narrator have a special relationship. Although the narrator never specifically states that the two are lovers, such a relationship is implied.

As the narrator weaves through her memories of Africa, she shapes a landscape that resembles a type of paradise. On her own farm, she lives in unity with the natives and even some of the animals. At one point, a domesticated deer, Lulu, comes to live with them, which symbolizes the connection of the farm to its landscape. The narrator in general proposes that Africa is superior to Europe because it exists in a more pure form, without the modernizing influence of culture. As such it is closer to what God initially intended, when he created man, it appears like a true paradise.

After describing life on her African farm as idyllic, the narrator concludes the tale in tragic tones. The coffee farm goes bankrupt because of the difficulties of growing at such a high altitude. When the bills cannot be paid, the narrator sells the farm to a foreign firm who plan to divide it up for residential development.

Soon after the farm is sold, another tragedy strikes. Denys Finch-Hatton is killed when his airplane crashes south of Nairobi. The narrator has him buried on the Ngong Hills at a location that looks over the plains. Eventually, Denys's brother, the Lord Winchilsea, places a large obelisk on the grave. It is inscribed with the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Two lions additionally come to later sit on Finch-Hatton's grave, a fact that the narrator finds symbolically fitting given Denys's nobility and character.

Before she leaves Africa, the narrator also works to relocate the natives who live on her farm, since the new owners want them to leave. After much effort, the colonial government agrees that they can all move to a portion of the Kikuyu Reserve. With her affairs settled, the narrator herself leaves Africa after selling her furniture, giving away her animals, and telling all of her friends good-bye. ( )
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dinesen, Isakprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolf, RuthTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anttila, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Draesner, UlrikeAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drudi Demby, LuciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huxley, ElspethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kielty, BernardineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundkvist, ArturTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perlet, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolf, RuthTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Equitare, Arcum tendere, Veritatem dicere
Dedication
First words
I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.
Quotations
A white man who wanted to say a pretty thing to you would write: "I can never forget you." The African says: "We do not think of you, that you can ever forget us."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679600213, Hardcover)

In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.

The Random House colophon made its debut in February 1927 on the cover of a little pamphlet called "Announcement Number One." Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, the company's founders, had acquired the Modern Library from publishers Boni and Liveright two years earlier. One day, their friend the illustrator Rockwell Kent stopped by their office. Cerf later recalled, "Rockwell was sitting at my desk facing Donald, and we were talking about doing a few books on the side, when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, 'I've got the name for our publishing house. We just said we were go-ing to publish a few books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House.' Donald liked the idea, and Rockwell Kent said, 'That's a great name. I'll draw your trademark.' So, sitting at my desk, he took a piece of paper and in five minutes drew Random House, which has been our colophon ever since." Throughout the years, the mission of Random House has remained consistent: to publish books of the highest quality, at random. We are proud to continue this tradition today.

This edition is set from the first American edition of 1937 and commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful. The Random House colophon made its debut in February 1927 on the cover of a little pamphlet called "Announcement Number One." Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, the company's founders, had acquired the Modern Library from publishers Boni and Liveright two years earlier. One day, their friend the illustrator Rockwell Kent stopped by their office. Cerf later recalled, "Rockwell was sitting at my desk facing Donald, and we were talking about doing a few books on the side, when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, 'I've got the name for our publishing house. We just said we were go-ing to publish a few books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House.' Donald liked the idea, and Rockwell Kent said, 'That's a great name. I'll draw your trademark.' So, sitting at my desk, he took a piece of paper and in five minutes drew Random House, which has been our colophon ever since." Throughout the years, the mission of Random House has remained consistent: to publish books of the highest quality, at random. We are proud to continue this tradition today. This edition is set from the first American edition of 1937 and commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

Legacy Library: Isak Dinesen

Isak Dinesen has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Isak Dinesen's legacy profile.

See Isak Dinesen's author page.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
10 avail.
71 wanted
10 pay7 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.97)
0.5
1 14
1.5 2
2 29
2.5 10
3 117
3.5 29
4 219
4.5 35
5 213

Audible.com

5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141183330, 0241951437, 0143566369

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,185,393 books! | Top bar: Always visible