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Out of Africa (1937)

by Isak Dinesen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,328821,922 (3.93)339
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)
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» See also 339 mentions

English (68)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (2)  Danish (2)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Competently written with some interesting observations, but overall very dated and kind of bland. So, I starting skimming after a while.

There is probably a lot to pick at with regard to colonialism, power dynamics and race. I'll leave it at this quote from the opening chapter - everyone thinks they are the exception, right?

"Part of the farm was native forest, and about one thousand acres were squatters' land, what they called their sambas. These squatters are Natives, who with their families hold a few acres on a white man's farm, and in return have to work for him a certain number of days n the year. My squatters, I think, saw the relationship in a different light, for many of them were born on the farm, and their fathers before them, and they very likely regarded me as a sort of superior squatter on their estates." ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
I was thrown off at the start of this book by the author's use of the word squatters to describe the native Africans living on her farm and it was several pages before I realized either my understanding of the term did not match the author's or language has changed in the near century between new and now. Getting past such terminology, the author does relate a true and apparently shared affection for the Africans she lived and worked with during her years managing a coffee farm in British East Africa. I appreciated the writing and the author's gift for storytelling, although I wondered throughout how the Africans would tell this tale. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Sep 29, 2019 |
This is the book that contributed the story for the famous movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford ( )
  atufft | Jul 6, 2019 |
This charming memoir discusses the time that Isak Dinesen lived on a coffee plantation in Kenya. With lush, vibrant prose, Africa really comes alive under her pen. I have heard that this book was turned into a movie back in the eighties with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, but I had never heard of it before. I was talking about the book and people would mention a movie, and I was surprised, but I should not have been. I mean, they made Under The Tuscan Sun a movie and that had nothing to do with the book besides the fact that it took place in Italy.

There are some horrific scenes in this book as well, so don't think it's all sunshine and lollipops. At one point, a child accidentally shoots another set of children with a shotgun. She describes everything as she sees it, and talks about how they had to rebuild a child's jaw. Africa is quite a nice sounding place. However, I don't think I could go there and appreciate it like this woman does.

On another aside; I initially thought Isak Dinesen was a man. I suppose it doesn't really matter. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Nope. Not having it. I lost faith in the book awhile ago, but I kept trying anyway and there's no surer way of spoiling a book. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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» 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
Manceron, YvonneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moorehead, AlanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perlet, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolf, RuthTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

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Legacy Library: Isak Dinesen

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141183330, 0241951437, 0143566369

 

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