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Out of Africa (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books) Hardcover – September 5, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (September 5, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679600213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679600213
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From 1914 to 1931, Danish aristocrat Baroness Karen Blixen owned and operated a coffee plantation in Kenya. After the plantation failed, she returned to Europe and began to write under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Out of Africa reads like a collection of stories in which she adheres to no strict chronology, gives no explanation of the facts of her life, and apologizes for nothing. First published in 1937, Out of Africa is not free of the colonial or racist attitudes of its time; yet, within that context, Isak Dinesen is an enlightened observer and participant as she describes the experience of British East Africa before World War II. She portrays in rich detail the vast land around her, alive with strange and wonderful human populations; the thrilling terror of a nocturnal lion hunt; a shooting accident among the Africans on her farm and its repercussions; raising and freeing an orphaned antelope fawn; getting to know the Africans and the colonial adventurers who found their way into her life. "If I know a song of Africa," she writes, "of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields, and the sweaty faces of the coffee-pickers, does Africa know a song of me?" Out of Africa is that song. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Lynne Auld

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9 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It is a book you will remember and read again.
M.I.
The characters are beautifully portrayed, and my special favorite for a starring role is Du Preis.
Arta S. Baldwin
It is obvious that Blixen loved Africa - something about the continent got under her skin.
doc peterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on February 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Isak Dinesen, nee Karen Blixen, lived in East Africa for almost twenty years making a living as the proprietor of a coffee plantation. Out of Africa is a memoir of her experiences there. But the book is so much more.

The stories are interesting to be sure. They relate to the plantation or the people and events that one way or another impacted her life there. But it is Blixen's writing that I found so sublime. I have never read anything like it. The way Blixen turns a phrase is both lyrical and enchanting all at once - you become literally swept up in the words and imagery. It is obvious that Blixen loved Africa - something about the continent got under her skin. In a similar fashion her words have gotten under mine. I have read Out of Africa several times; each time I marvel at the beautiful language she uses. Read this book and I am sure you will feel the same way.
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Karen Sampson Hudson on August 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) has been elevated to star status by the feminists for her independent stance and courage, but don't read this book because of that. Don't look for the tragic story of her misguided marriage and the heartbreak and barrenness it brought her, or for descriptions of her love affair with adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton. None of that appears here.
Instead, "Out of Africa" is a storytelling book woven in the imaginative Danish style. Dinesen's finely tuned sensitivity is revealed here, as well as her (again typically Danish) well-developed gift for friendship with many kinds of people. In her case this gift extends to African animals as well, like Lulu, the beautiful gazelle who graced her plantation for years.

Her descriptions of the Kenya of her day are exquisitely written, factual and magical at the same time. Africa is the star of the book, not Dinesen herself, not the tribespeople or the colonials, not her struggles with raising coffee in land "a little too high", nor her political dealings with the government officials. Her writing evokes the Africa she knew well and loved deeply.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Forget the movie and read the book instead. Isak Dinesen's love for Africa and her adopted homeland shines through every page as she helps us to vicariously experience like on a Kenyan farm. The book is loosely plotted and Dinesen is not shy about expressing her personal views, so expect some opinionated writing from this lady. She doesn't romanticize Africa, as many writers do. She tells it like it is, which is great, as far as I'm concerned. If you're looking for King Solomon's Mines, foget it, but if you have any interest in Africa, past or present, you're sure to like this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cassone on August 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Out of Africa is an literary accomplishment that will remain in history as portraying Africa as it really was in that era. Karen Blixen was so in touch with the native tribes of Kenya. Her deep respect for their customs and lives is obvious in this book, which wasn't common then among the new European settlers. The way that her fascinating stories unfold is remarkable, making long hours of the night spent trying to put the book down without success.
I saw Out of Africa as a child, and read the book in college, which inspired me to go to Kenya when I graduated. I visited the land that Karen Blixen donated upon her departure from Kenya, which was turned into a town named "Karen", and her home and everything in it have been preserved, down to the lantern she would leave on for Finch-Hatton. Still today the town's people speak of Karen Blixen in great admiration, perhaps giving back what she unconditionally gave to them.
I would recommend this book to anyone who knows how to read!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
Karen Blixen (Isac Dinesen) is one of Denmarks best writers. Out of Africa is her main book that tells the story of her life in Africa. Read the book it is much more than the loveaffair with Dennys Finck-Hatton (Out of Africa with R. Redford and M. Streep)
The book gives a wonderfull picture of Blixens relationship with the natives and have that ancient athmosphere that appears in all colonial litterature.
Read the book it gives a picture of a vere strong woman who knew what she wanted but again and again had to compromise according to her life and the oppotunities it gave her.
The book is one of my favourits because it has got everything. Love, death, hope, history, feminism, nature, africa.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ducky on January 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I decided to read this book because in the book "Catcher in the Rye," Holden says that he "wouldn't mind calling this Isak Dinesen up." So anyway, I agree with him for the most part, and there's no doubt that Baroness Blixen would have some interesting stories to tell over the dinner table. However, the book Out of Africa is a bit less enjoyable than a one on one chat, and her descriptions in general are pretty objective. There were two main things that bothered me:

-Much of the beginning of the book is a sort of 'how Europeans are different than Africans.' I understand that her second class treatment of the natives was an accepted attitude of the time, but it seems that her observations about race take up a goodly chunk of her book.

-Another thing that irked me was that she quotes many secondary sources in the book, and many of them she doesn't translate into English. I unfortunately don't speak either French or German, and so I wasn't able to interpret much of the poetry and references she included.

Aside from those two things, the book is still an interesting, albeit occasionally slow, read. It was hard to really connect with her at the beginning, because she seems to view herself as some kind of high and mighty princess, and I just wasn't that insterested in her point of view. However, I think as the book progresses she opens up more about her own life, and you really start to understand how much she truly loves Africa, her workers, and the farm that she poured her heart into. She tells about the people she befriends and their adventures and quirks. She also does an amazing job describing the African scenery. I'd reccommend it, but keep in mind that it starts off slow.
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