In 1913, at the age of six, Elspeth Huxley accompanied her parents from England to their recently acquired land in Kenya, "a bit of El Dorado my father had been fortunate enough to buy in the bar of the Norfolk hotel from a man wearing an Old Etonian tie." The land is not nearly what its seller claimed, but Elspeth's parents are undaunted and begin their coffee plantation. Her mother, a resourceful, adventurous woman, "eager always to extract from every moment its last drop of interest or pleasure," keeps an eye on Elspeth's education but also allows her extensive freedom. Through Elspeth Huxley's marvelous gift for description, early twentieth-century Kenya comes alive with all the excitement and naive insight of a child who watches with eyes wide open as coffee trees are planted, buffaloes are skinned, pythons are disemboweled, and cultures collide with all the grace of runaway trains. With a free-wheeling imagination and a dry wit, she describes the interactions of Kikuyus, Masais, Dutch Boers, Brits and Scots, mixing rapid-fire descriptions with philosophical musings. It is a mixture that suits her land of contrasts and unknowns, where vastly different peoples live and work side by side but rarely come together, like an egg beater whose "the two arms whirled independently and never touched, so that perhaps one arm never knew the other was there; yet they were together, turned by the same handle, and the cake was mixed by both." -- 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 Erica Bauermeister --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Elspeth Huxley (1907-1997) was educated at the European school in Nairobi and at Reading University. Her books include novels, detective fiction, biography, and travel writing.
a beautiful edition. will make a lovely gift. paper, pictures, paintings and story are marvelous.Published 19 days ago by medorz
It was beautifully written but more like a diary than a story. Gave you a wonderful picture of what it was like to live in Africa during those early days of British colonization. Read morePublished 3 months ago by CarinChar
This is mostly a book for young teen girls replete with nature discoveries and African bush culture discoveries. All is told with wondering wide- open, innocent eyes. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jean Gross
Filled with the romance and eagerness of youth, a book both a coming of age as well as a sociology of Africa under the infant yolk of her recent colonisation. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Cosmonaute
Set in early 20th Century Kenya, this book reminded me of Beryl Markham's West With the Night, or even Out of Africa. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Eva Melusine Thieme
Second book of an autobiography that will keep you turning pages if you are interested in Africa, as I am.Published 9 months ago by Vanna L. Schwamb