SUMMARY ê Out of AfricaShadows on the Grass

SUMMARY Out of AfricaShadows on the Grass

SUMMARY ê Out of AfricaShadows on the Grass Ö 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 agOutside of Nairobi in what is now Kenya It sits at an altitude of six thousand feet The farm grows coffee although only part o. Karen Blixen alias Isak Dinesen 1885 1962 has the ability to transport you to the early 20th century Africa The Africa when there were still herds of zebras and elephants suddenly appearing in the clearing while you are planting or harvesting acres and acres of coffee As I was leafing the pages of this book I was doing the inhale exhale that my wife normally tells me to do whenever we are spending a weekend in a resort far from the polluted Manila Inhale exhale Chance to put fresh air into your lungs says she to me and my daughter There go the three chests heaving and puffing air as if our lungs have the power to inhale and store oxygen molecules and only exhale them out when we go back to the cityVery powerful novel Imagine uprooting a brilliant Danish writer and asking her to stay for around 20 years in an enchanted land of Kenya in Africa Blixen and her second cousin Bhor von Blixen Finecke are in love so they go to Africa build themselves a house by the side of Ngong Hills few kilometers from Nairobi Then they buy and till acres and acres of coffee plantation This book is partly memoir true to life partly biography although not narrated chronologically and partly fiction Dinesen made it glamorous compared to what really happened according to Wiki entries Thus it defies being neatly placed into a genre The end result however is astonishing that Truman Capote once said Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen is one of the most beautiful books of the twentieth century Have you seen the 1981 movie starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford The one that took home many Oscar awards including Best Picture Yes I have It is beautiful isn't it But as always the book is better than the movie True that some of the beautiful beautiful passages of the books were spoken by the characters but nothing can compare to reading actual prose straight from the pen of Isak Dinesen Her words are magical and you can almost feel the leaves of the coffee shrubs feel the rays of the sun penetrating your skin smell the wonderful grassy breeze coming from the hills This book has that uniue ability to make you feel see touch smell and even taste its setting It is really almost like an out of body experienceWonderful

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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. A Danish noblewoman comes to Africa gets married to a Swedish Baron her second cousin and starts a coffee plantation close to the Ngong Hills in the Kenyan Colony southwest of Nairobi then just a small town before the start of WWI Isak Dinesen nee Karen Blixen finds real love and tragedy while managing it 1913 1931 The unfaithful husband Baron Bror Blixen neglects the Baroness and not interested in the farm he enjoys the company of other women At an elevation above 6000 feet you can imagine the difficulties a great place for coffee beans are at lower levels she will discover to her immense regret These memoirs by the upper class woman of her African experiences tells mostly the truth the interesting stories with hidden secrets after all this was published in 1937 and reputations needed to be protected discretion ruled the age Denys Finch Hatton a British aristocrat Oxford educated oozing charm became her inevitable lover she adoringly writes about but keeps the relationship unstated but you can read between the lines He a big game hunter flyer the adventurer a lost soul escaping the restrictions of England for the freedom of a new untamed land still never comfortable in or anywhere else As the second son of a British Earlwell that says it all the restless man will always be that Numerous native servants some suatters the foreign lady has problems dealing with strangely she's very popular treating them kindly an amateur doctoring their illnesses unusual for those years abandoned by her husband she alone must prevail Still a Somali worker her main servant Farah Aden indispensable helps in her endeavors in the vast wilderness lions roam and roar nearby constant danger to humans and their animals which are many Disasters come regularly and the intervals much too short the intermission ends and the calamities begin again The variety of African wildlife seen and heard amazes insects also appear millions of ravenous locust swarm and darken the skies no place like this on Earth especially in the 1920's a sad memory of the past I will report the beginning of the book starts slow and picks up greatly in the second half when the author reveals about the local society with the complicated relationships between the various races inhabiting the area the rulers and the ruled A fine narrative for the patient reader if you like the colorful setting as the fortuitous couple fly into the clouds high over the incredible country just happy to be together and the rather obvious mournful conclusion A companion piece written almost a uarter century after Out of Africa Shadows on the Grass 1960 gives further details of Africa and what became of the legion of people there she the author met and loved some thrived others the oppositeIf you want information the short book is indispensable and I would recommend this to anyone otherwise an unneeded read

Isak Dinesen ß 9 SUMMARY

Out of AfricaShadows on the GrassF its six thousand acres is used for agriculture The remaining parts of the land are forest and space for the natives to live o. “Between the river in the mellow English landscape and the African mountain ridge ran the path of this life The bowstring was released on the bridge at Eton the arrow described its orbit and hit the obelisk in the Ngong Hills” ― Karen Blixen Out of Africa This is a group read I participated in and I am certain that I will not be able to do it enough honor with my review in attempting to convey this rich lyrical and beautiful memoir of Karen Blixen’s years she spent running a coffee plantation in British East Africa in 1914 I will try to insert a few of my favorite passages to give you a glimpse of its essenceThis to me was so beautifully written; it does not read as a non fiction book Karen Blixen had a gift of understanding life Her intrinsic ways with the land the people and its’ animals her kindness and strength simply shine through in so many passages of this book As a worldly woman of its time she was born in 1885 she started writing down her thoughts and memories after her return back to her home country in Denmark at the age of 49 These were also adapted into film starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in 1986 winning the Academy award for best picture of the year which I will watch next This book may not be for everyone though I find it a journey to appreciate The descriptions of the land and the people she encountered in Africa are vibrant and easy to imagine as you read “Up in this air you breathed easily drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought Here I am where I ought to be” ― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaHer love for this place shines through and through “When you have caught the rhythm of Africa you find out that it is the same in all her music” ― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaShe had gained the trust and understanding of the different tribes around her It took a long time and communicating partly with hands and feet to get there “The lack of prejudice in the Natives is a striking thing for you expect to find dark taboos in the primitive people It is due I believe to their acuaintance with a variety of races and tribes and to the lively human intercourse that was brought upon East Africa first by the old traders of ivory and slaves and in our days by the settlers and big game hunters” – Karen Blixen Out of Africa Technology was rarely used in these parts of the world “I have never seen an old Native who for things which moved by themselves without apparent interference by man or by the forces of Nature expressed anything but distrust and a certain feeling of shame”– Karen Blixen Out of AfricaWild animals were all around her “No domestic animal can be as still as a wild animal The civilized people have lost the aptitude of stillness and must take lessons in silence from the wild before they are accepted by it” ― Karen Blixen Out of Africa “As in civilized countries all people have a chronic bad conscience towards the slums and feel uncomfortable when they think of them so in Africa you have got a bad conscience and feel a pang when you think of the oxen But towards the oxen on the farm I felt as I suppose a king will be feeling towards his slums ”You are I and I am you””― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaHerself she had several dogs horses and cows And in this book she actually spends a lot of different parts talking about all the different wildlife of Africa Here a passage of Giraffes she described that were on a ship as they were shipped to Hamburg Germany to a zoo You can tell her dislike of the use of animals in that way “The Giraffes turned their delicate heads from the one side to the other as if they were surprised which they might well be They had not seen the Sea before They could only just have room to stand in the narrow case 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 a worked in which nothing is ever happening”― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaThe natives often wondered when she took a plane up high if she actually saw God “When you have flown over the Rift Valley and the volcanoes of Suswa and Longonot you have traveled far and have been to the lands on the other side of the moon You may at other times fly low enough to see the animals on the plains and to feel towards them as God did when he had just created them and before he commissioned Adam to give them names”― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaIn other parts she spent time explaining about the vegetation and the drought Some weeks were sweltering hot and at some point there was an infestation of insects “But the ancient mango trees have a dense dark green foliage and give benignant shade; they create a circular pool of black coolness underneath them More than any other tree that I know of they suggest a place to meet in a center for human intercourse; they are as sociable as the village wells Big markets are held under the mango trees and the ground round their trunks is covered with hen coops and piled up with watermelons”― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaI do feel that Blixen understood and valued the native’s ways and customs Every tribe had different rules and ways of living or dying And many friends come and go in her life on the farm Some friendships formed long lasting bonds and mutual understanding and respect Some were of a shorter wile but none were given any or less time in her writing I felt there was euality and sense of mutualism as all worked together and had their place As an “outsider” Blixen was very open minded and respectful well educated strong and sensitive to the matters of her “suatters” on the land “The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream but in this that there things happen without any interference from his side and altogether outside his control Great landscapes create themselves long splendid views bright and delicate colors roads houses which he has never seen or heard of― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaTowards the end of the book you get a sense of her sadness about having to leave Africa “It was not I who was going away I did not have it in my power to leave Africa but it was the country that was slowly and gravely withdrawing from me like the sea in ebb tide The procession that as passing here it was in reality my strong pulpy young dancers of yesterday and the day before yesterday who were withering before my eyes who were passing away forever They were going in their own style gently in a dance the people were with me and I with the people well content” ― Karen Blixen Out of AfricaAlthough I have included a few uotations from the book it is simply not enough to tell everything in between There is much that happened and many details about the people the land and the animals and their stories I simply can only supply a glimpse I felt very content reading this book It found me at the right time you could say My edition has the “Shadows on the Grass” essays in the back which she wrote 25 years later I believe and I may read them as well There wasn’t really an “end” or a summarized closure to “Out of Africa” so maybe this will have that feel to it retrospectively I am rating this 5 stars since I felt that I was able to get to know a person so well through the writing without her ever much saying anything about herself at all It was like a window into her world of thoughts and so well done it will certainly stay with me for a while Again not for everyone but I enjoyed it