With classic simplicity and a painter's feeling for atmosphere and detail, Isak Dinesen tells of the years she spent from 1914 to 1931 managing a coffee plantation in Kenya.
About the Author
Isak Dinesen is the pseudonym of Karen Blixen, born in Denmark in 1885. After her marriage in 1914 to Baren Bror Blixen, she and her husband lived in British East Africa, where they owned a coffee plantation. She divorced from her husband in 1921 but continued to manage the plantation for another ten years, until the collapse of the coffee market forced her to sell the property and return to Denmark in 1931. There she began to write in English under the nom de plume Isak Dinesen. Her first book, and literary success, was Seven Gothic Tales. It was followed by Out of Africa, The Angelic Avengers (written under the pseudonym Pierre Andrézel), Winter's Tales, Last Tales, Anecdotes of Destiny, Shadows on the Grass, and Ehrengard. She died in 1962.
Table of Contents
|1.||Kamante and Lulu|
|The Ngong Farm||3|
|A Native Child||21|
|The Savage in the Immigrant's House||40|
|2.||A Shooting Accident on the Farm|
|The Shooting Accident||81|
|Riding in the Reserve||94|
|A Kikuyu Chief||136|
|3.||Visitors to the Farm|
|A Visitor from Asia||165|
|The Somali Women||170|
|A Fugitive Rests on the Farm||189|
|Visits of Friends||198|
|The Noble Pioneer||205|
|4.||From an Immigrant's Notebook|
|The Wild Came to the Aid of the Wild||239|
|The Roads of Life||241|
|Farah and the Merchant of Venice||248|
|The Elite of Bournemouth||250|
|Of the Two Races||254|
|A War-Time Safari||255|
|The Swaheli Numeral System||262|
|"I Will Not Let Thee Go Except Thou Bless Me"||263|
|The Eclipse of the Moon||265|
|Natives and Verse||265|
|Of the Millennium||266|
|Some African Birds||272|
|Of Natives and History||280|
|The Giraffes Go to Hamburg||286|
|In the Menagerie||289|
|The Naturalist and the Monkeys||293|
|A Strange Happening||300|
|5.||Farewell to the Farm|
|The Death of Kinanjui||320|
|The Grave in the Hills||329|
|Farah and I Sell Out||347|
|Shadows on the Grass||373|
What People are Saying About This
"True to her credo the storyteller's story, her tales are...grips out of, rather than into, an extraordinary mind."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
This is a wonderful book, but I am very disappointed with the nook edition of it. It is not enough to just use OCR and call it a day--if you're going to charge the same as you would for the print edition, someone needs to proofread it, just as someone would proofread the print edition. The name of one of the characters is repeatedly misspelled in the book, because OCR has confused the letters "R" and "K". I found this very distracting, and it is not the quality I would expect if I purchased a print book from Doubleday. Digital books need to be held to the same standards as print ones.
Isak Dineson's memoir is a classic of its kind. Hemingway called it the best book ever written about Africa. Baroness Blixen (who wrote as Isak Dineson) vividly brings to life the African landscape and all its inhabitants--human and animal--in the early years of the twentieth century. In revealing the beauty and unique cultures of that time and place, she reveals her own great humanity. In Shadows on the Grass, she shares additional anecdotes and insights into a vanished time and place.
My favorite book to date. It is surprisingly the only book I can ever recall reading that truly proves that the book is better than movie.
A beautiful trip to an africa that once was.
This grouping of stories pictures an Africa long lost, and a whole time long lost. Dinesen has a lyrical style of writing that transcends the lack of structure. At the bottom, she is an episodic writer with occasional flashes of brilliant insight and a flair for description. Anyone who has seen the movie will benefit greatly from seeing the basis from which it evolved. While not "light" reading, it is a journey worth taking none-the-less.
I understand why this book is still talked about and well known. The author tells about the Africa she knew for the 18 years she lived in Kenya working on a coffee farm near Nairobi. Her actual history is not to be gotten from the book - she traveled to Africa at 28 as wife of a cousin, while there was love in the marriage he cheated and also didn't handle the business end of the farm well, so they separated and divorced 5 years later and she kept the farm. She stayed there until 1931, always trying to find a way to make the farm work, but eventually the banks and her family who had invested in the farm make her realize she has to sell it. She returned to Denmark and there began writing Out of Africa.What we do learn about in the book is just how much and why she loved the country and the people. She recognizes and explains the differences between the tribes and introduces us to the individuals from each tribe that work on her farm or that she meets. She describes a beautiful country and fascinating people. Her writing is slow and calm, but I didn't necessarily find it fancy or beautiful. Instead, I felt it was rather straightforward, blunt even. Which is just how she was in her descriptions. She doesn't make the Africans seem better or worse than they are, she describes them with all the good and the bad, but with her love for them cushioning the descriptions.Africa itself has droughts, grasshoppers, dangerous animals, and warring tribes ,and yet it sounds like a wonderful place to live. She also captures a period of change. She tells of the deaths of friends, African and European, and each death seems to reflect a little bit more of the past way of life that is lost, as Western civilization rushes Africa into the modern age.Shadows on the Grass was written 20 years later and in it she tells more about Africa and then about her life since leaving. She maintained contact with many of the people who had worked for her. In this day when I have lost contact with so many people over the years, I'm astounded by the ability for people who had to dictate to scribes and send a letter across two continents, that they kept in touch all that time. Near the end of Shadows on the Grass, she again begins relating the deaths of those she had known. She hears that her personal servant Farah has died and she struggles to grasp the fact, he had been a constant for 20 years while she was there and then for these years since she left. But then she realizes "more than once before now I had sent him ahead to some unknown place, to pitch camp for me there."In reading these two books, I was able to feel her love for Africa and her desire to spend all her days there. And I mourned with her in the loss of her friends and her home, and the changes that came upon the land.
I read this book as an application project for Honors 9 Geography. The helpful parts in this book was the quotes for the five themes of Geography. The Native people made Place Cultural very easy to understand. I liked that there aren't short little chapters in the book, but instead units in each chapter. I learned alot about Africa, the Native people, and the culture. Dinesen made this book seem real, which it was, I was always seeing pictures in my mind while I was reading. I feel that Out Of Africa was at my reading level and was challenging also. I would recommend this book to people who like to read for fun and if you like long books. The book didn't hold my attention very much because of the length.
I was required to read this book for school and I tried to read and understand it as best as I could. It just didn't work. Every sentence was very long and drawn out and it was really hard to actually stay intrigued. There was one section in the book that was actually interesting and the section was, seriously, only about 3-5 pages. If you have to read this book for school, I'm really sorry for you.