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Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard Paperback – June 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679743332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679743330
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These two collections of Dinesen's tales feature her signature gothic style and romantic subject matter.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Dinesen's stories are the work of a writer with a powerful imagination and a shrewd intelligence." -- The New York Times Book Review

In the classic "Babette's Feast," a mysterious Frenchwoman prepares a sumptuous feast for a gathering of religious ascetics and, in doing so, introduces them to the true essence of grace. In "The Immortal Story," a miserly old tea-trader living in Canton wishes for power and finds redemption as he turns an oft-told sailors' tale into reality for a young man and woman. And in the magnificent novella Ehrengard, Dinesen tells of the powerful yet restrained rapport between a noble Wagnerian beauty and a rakish artist.

Hauntingly evoked and sensuously realized, the five stories and novella collected here have the hold of "fairy stories read in childhood...of dreams...and of our life as dreams" (The New York Times).

"[Dinesen's] imagination could visit, it seemed, any corner of European history and find there a tale tinged with the luster and vivid shadowing of medieval allegory." -- John Updike

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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She is such a great story teller.
Kai Jensen
If any writer comes close to the unforced magic of those stories no-one ever had to write, it must be Isak Dinesen.
Lawrence
Whenever I am asked to list my favorite books, Babette's Feast is near the top.
manndrake

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence on November 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
It's a fact that the best stories of all are those that nowadays are told mainly to children. No grown-up author would dare to invent a story like "The Snow Queen", "Thumbelina" or "Beauty and the Beast", and few would be able to.
If any writer comes close to the unforced magic of those stories no-one ever had to write, it must be Isak Dinesen. Sadly her output of fiction was small: this book, "Seven Gothic Tales", "Winter's Tales", "Last Tales", and her novel, the curious "Angelic Avengers", not quite a parody but not exactly serious, an entire book written in inverted commas.

Is there such a thing as Destiny? Do our intertwining lives somehow form a pattern like an inconceivably vast parquet-floor? Looking around I'm forced to say, No. But the creators of the "Arabian Nights" thought so, and Karen Blixen, at least when she turned into Isak Dinesen, clearly agreed with them, or tried to. Perhaps that's why she liked to dwell in the past, usually the late 18th or early 19th centuries, when it still seemed credible that a life might form an intricate shape, as if poured into a mould.

These stories are conceived and executed with a skill as dazzling as lightning and as quiet as summer grass. You feel she could amaze the reader far more if she chose, but that her profound courtesy prevents her. When she pauses for a moment to explain how her characters feel or why they react the way they do, she tells you things so piercingly correct that you feel almost shocked. At the bottom of these stories is a mystery that is not at all philosophical, a sadness that is not tragic, a poetry not made up of beautiful words, and a wisdom like that of a child who says things that she herself doesn't understand.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "candu66" on November 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
The stories in this book are completely in line with all her other works. Absolutely amazing! I highly recommend it to both newcomers and people who have already taken an interest in this author. But beware! Once you start reading the fantastic stories from this lady, you will want more.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John S. Glascom on December 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This volume contains Babette's Feast which is the basis for the Oscar winning movie of the same name. A simple, beautifully told story of love and redention.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Popham on June 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
People who think writers like Aimee Bender and Kelly Link are as good as it gets need to read these stories by Isak Dinesen, the godmother of perverse romanticism. Allusive, lyrical, throat-punching, era-distorting fiction with its own brand of self-aware humor and dark childishness.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By manndrake on May 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard for one story included in it. That is Babette's Feast. In this story two Norwegian sisters, leaders of a small Lutheran sect, who take in a French refugee as a cook and housekeeper. For Years Babette tends their home and cooks their meals to their liking. One day Babette learns that she has won the national lottery. Because the dangers have past in revolutionary France, the sisters expect her to move back home. Babette asks the sisters to allow her to provide a full course French meal for them before she leaves. They reluctantly agree, and soon boxes and crates and exotic ingredients start to arrive at the house, including a live turtle. I won't give away the ending, which has an O'Henry twist to it. Whenever I am asked to list my favorite books, Babette's Feast is near the top. It is a story of people of two vastly different cultures giving to each other in their own way. A great story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Farrell on July 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Babette's Feast is the centerpiece here. Seeing the film was the impetus for acquiring this volume of stories. The rest is less compelling.
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