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The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an…
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The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood (1959)

by Elspeth Huxley

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The author recalls her childhood in colonial Kenya, just prior to the outbreak of WW1. It's a beautiful read, taking in the scenery, the wildlife and the people - from the servants, the local Kikuyu and Masai peoples, to the fellow settlers- adventurers, wives struggling with a tough life, and a love story...
"The green of the new grass was so intense and fierce that every hillside seemed afire with an emerald flame, rising to meet a sky of glutinous indigo."
The vivid descriptions bring the narrative to life. ( )
  starbox | Nov 3, 2018 |
Kenya
  oirm42 | May 24, 2018 |
Picturesque, flowery, but a far cry from [b:Out of Africa|781787|Out of Africa|Karen Blixen|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1178296503s/781787.jpg|1189079] (see my review of that). Not much more than a self-indulgent, romanticized view of colonialism. ( )
1 vote BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
The series was more story-like than the memoir, which was more a series of vingettes, but still very enjoyable and readable. I also reccomend the two following books of memoirs and her various other writings; murder mysteries set in Kenya, a novel of East African colonization from the African viewpoint, and even a story of English village life. She is an interesting writer, not very well known.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
This is a fictionalized autobiography of Elspeth Huxley's childhood years in Kenya immediately prior to WWl. Her parents were British upper class. Her father was a bit of an adventurer, having traveled widely and prospected for gold before choosing this venture--namely carving a coffee plantation from virgin bush in a remote area of Kenya.

Huxley is a beautiful writer leaving us with an intimate portrayal of the time and place. Yes, we do see the warts of British colonialism and paternalistic attitudes toward the Kikuyu and Maori tribes. But we also see love and respect and laughter and vivid portraits of the countryside and wildlife.

I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who have enjoyed other stories of this period of African history, such as [[Beryl Markham]]'s [West With the Night]. In later years, Markham and Huxley knew each other and were in the same social group.

BBC made a seven part miniseries from this book and I would also recommend it highly. Except for the final installment, it followed the book quite closely. It was filmed on location in Kenya. The scenery, wildlife and depiction of the tribes were stunning. ( )
1 vote streamsong | Feb 2, 2013 |
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To the images of whom Robin and Tilly are reflections, amid the ghosts who sleep at Thika
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We set off in an open cart drawn by four whip-scarred little oxen and piled high with equipment and provisions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141183780, Paperback)

In an open cart Elspeth Huxley set off with her parents to travel to Thika in Kenya. As pioneering settlers, they built a house of grass, ate off a damask cloth spread over packing cases, and discovered—the hard way—the world of the African. With an extraordinary gift for detail and a keen sense of humor, Huxley recalls her childhood on the small farm at a time when Europeans waged their fortunes on a land that was as harsh as it was beautiful. For a young girl, it was a time of adventure and freedom, and Huxley paints an unforgettable portrait of growing up among the Masai and Kikuyu people, discovering both the beauty and the terrors of the jungle, and enduring the rugged realities of the pioneer life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In an open cart, Elspeth Huxley set off with her parents to travel to Thika in Kenya. As pioneering settlers, they built a house of grass, ate off a damask cloth spread over packing cases, and discovered--the hard way--the world of the African. This book recounts Huxley's childhood on the small farm at a time when Europeans waged their fortunes on a land that was as harsh as it was beautiful. For a young girl, it was a time of adventure and freedom, and the author paints an unforgettable portrait of growing up among the Masai and Kikuyu people, discovering both the beauty and the terrors of the jungle, and enduring the rugged realities of the pioneer life.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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