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A review of the book out of africa

In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be. Her whole life was before her. Her marriage was in shambles. Her husband proved a poor manager of the farm, and his sexual indiscretions had left her with a parting gift of a case of syphilis.

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Baroness Blixen kept her title though. Most people would have, given the nature of these events, thrown in the towel and made their way back to Denmark, battered and bruised and hoped that people had short memories of them ever being gone, but Blixen was made of sterner stuff. She decided she was going to turn this series of unfortunate events into a triumph, and for a decade and a half she did just that.

  1. I remember looking for this book at the time, but being unable to find it, so the opportunity to read it now was too good to miss.
  2. The Life of a Storyteller, p. The first two focus primarily on Africans who lived or had business on the farm, and include close observations of native ideas about justice and punishment in the wake of a gruesome accidental shooting.
  3. Although the colonists imposed British law and economic control upon this new domain, they saw themselves not as conquerors or oppressors, but as benign stewards of the land and its people. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought.

She created an oasis for her friends to visit. They had been over vast countries and had raised and broken their tents in many places, now they were pleased to round my drive that was steadfast as the orbit of a star.

They liked to be met by familiar faces, and I had the same servants all the time that I was in Africa. I had been on the farm longing to get away, and they came back to it longing for books and linen sheets, and the cool atmosphere in a big shuttered room. She collected an eclectic group of friends, mostly lost Europeans who escaped to Africa from something or came in search of themselves. He did cut a figure in his own age, but he did not quite fit in anywhere.

  1. However, Farah was a Somali of the Habr Yunis , a tribe of fierce, handsome and shrewd traders and cattle-dealers.
  2. Out of Africa has been noted for its melancholy and elegiac style — Blixen biographer Judith Thurman employs an African tribal phrase to describe it.
  3. Europeans[ edit ] The other characters who populate Out of Africa are the Europeans — colonists as well as some of the wanderers who stopped in Kenya.
  4. Shadows on the Grass[ edit ] In 1961, at the age of 76, Blixen published Shadows on the Grass, a short compendium of further recollections about her days in Africa.

His friends in England always wanted him to come back, they wrote out plans and schemes for a career for him there, but Africa was keeping him. Fortunately for me, I have the ability to time travel and escape this world at will by simply opening the pages of a book. There is the moment when Blixen witnessed giraffes being loaded on a ship to be sent to Hamburg. The world had suddenly shrunk, changed and closed around them.

They could not know or imagine the degradation to which they were sailing. For they were proud and innocent creatures, gentle amblers of the great plains; they had not the least knowledge of captivity, cold, stench, smoke, and mange, nor of the terrible boredom in the world in which nothing is ever happening.

Do I wish that they can? Or do I hope they forget the freedom they once had? All I see is a deadness in their eyes, an accusation of, how can you do this to me? How can you let these smelly, noisy creatures mock me, yell at me, rattle my cage, and stare at me when they should be bowing their heads in reverence? So do you free the giraffes and watch them gallop away? Do you shoot them in their alien looking heads so they die free?

Or do you do what we all generally do in such circumstances, which is to watch them be hauled away in chains?


We think about the sadness of it and then move our thoughts on to something else. Blixen experienced the typical problems that afflict farmers everywhere, which is Mother Nature not cooperating. That is a terrible, tremendous experience, and the farmer who has lived through it will never forget it. His smile looked like he was capable of just about any expression of joy, even dancing, in that moment when the first drops began to fall.

Karen Blixen showing some of the elegance her visitors in Kenya must have enjoyed. Drought, grasshopper plague, and being situated too high in altitude for coffee beans to grow as well as they should, all contributed to the final demise of the Blixen Kenyan farm. In 1931, the place was sold, and she moved back to Denmark.

Out of Africa Review

The only way she could return to it was to write about it. With pen in hand, her blood could move a bit more briskly about her body, her hands could remember the labor, and her mind could sift back through those conversations she had with the people she cared the most about. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http: