The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.00
  • Save: $7.11 (42%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by them3rch
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Almost like new
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) Paperback – February 1, 2000


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.89
$5.98 $0.46
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Frequently Bought Together

The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) + West with the Night + Out of Africa: and Shadows on the Grass
Price for all three: $34.42

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Series: Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Edition Unstated edition (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780141183787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183787
  • ASIN: 0141183780
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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.

About the Author

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.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I think a reading club would enjoy both reading and discussing this book.
BT
The Flame Trees of Thika is a wonderfully written book giving the reader a glimpse of what it must have been like to grow up in Colonial Africa.
Stephen Crawford
And a lot of how she makes this work is by seeing the world through such a young persons eyes.
Dan Harlow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Niki Collins-queen, Author VINE VOICE on August 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
The African landscape and the people in "The Flame Trees of Thika" became so real to me that I grieved when the book ended. Six-year-old Elspeth Huxley's parents and friends became my parents and friends. Elspeth said of Tilly, her perfectionist mother, "it was the details others might not notice that destroyed her, the pleasure of achievement." However Robin, Elspeth's idealistic father, "as a rule, had his mind on distant greater matters always much more promising and congenial than those closer at hand."
Other notable characters included Elspeth's neighbors the beautiful, Lattice and her formal husband, Hereward, the kindly Ian, their house guest, who was in love with Lattice; Juma, their Swahili cook, Sammy their Masai/Kikuyu headman and Njombo, the Kikuju laborer's spokesman.
Huxley has the rare ability to understand and convey the culture and viewpoint of both the European colonial settlers and the Kikuyu and Masai people. The materialistic Europeans were critical of the nomadic Kikuyus who do not aspire to change, tame, possess or improve the countryside. The Kikuya, in turn, were mystified at the white man's sense of property ownership and the concept of theft. For the Kikuyu helping yourself to the possessions of the white man "was no more robbing than to take the honey from wild bees."
At the heart of the story is the beauty and the challenge of life in Africa in the early 20th Century.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By whiterabbit on September 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a real literary treasure. I read it first as a teenager. It astonished me then, with its unique portrayal of Africa. Who could fail to love the African wilderness and its diverse people after reading The Flame Trees of Thika?! Africa seen through Huxley's youthful eyes is given a magical quality I have never again encountered (though BBC came close to portraying it in their rendition of this book). And it continues to astonish me now, twenty years later (oh dear, I have dated myself). The spectacular visual imagery from that book are a treasured keepsake, and the book itself is nothing less than a 20th Century masterpiece. It is a priceless gem and well worth the cost.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Sarakani on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is on the same sort of rank and the same genre as Out of Africa. A literary autobiography set in Kenya during an uncertain and enterprising colonial era before the First World War.
It's strongest elements include a deep sensitivity to the travails of animal life up against white hunters and farmers, very full accounts of the Kikuyu people and their rivalries with other Africans and it also paints a vivid portrait of pioneering planters and their servants in the shadow of the Great War.
The vantage of the book is greater than that of Out of Africa by Blixen being a less personal tale. it is a faithful, sometimes harrowing tale culled from an excellent store of memories representing times and scenes gone by. Huxley is not short on romance and tragedy.
This book is an ideal companion to those interested in the British Empire and African anthropology. For naturalists it provides breathtaking accounts of white hunters and their quarry as a retrospective commentary on man's abuse of Africa's wild heritage. Huxley writes quietly, sensitively and impartially providing philosophic insights in a heuristic and magical narrative. Always compelling, this is an important primary text.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1997
Format: Paperback
Elspeth Huxley is in my opinion much underrated. She is a magnificent writer, and should be ranked right up there with Isac Dinesen. Her childhood recollections, both this novel and 'The Mottled Lizard', are not only an insight into a curious cast of East African pioneers, but an unpretentious and innocent view of Africans, colonialists and their common humanity through the eyes of a young girl. Highly recommended reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
In 1913, a little English girl named Elspeth relocated with her family from their native country to begin a coffee plantation in the wilds of Kenya. Similar in a way to Laura Ingall Wilder's adventurous and sentimental "take" on what was surely a very difficult experience for her family, Elspeth remembers Kenya as a wonderful place and tells us with lingering excitement of her experiences there in the short time before the First World War changed nearly everything. A delightful memoir that is a pleasure every time it's read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Just Another Woodchuck on October 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in other cultures and ways of life, this book is a treasure. Yes, there has to be a bit of willing suspension of disbelief that this would be the way a child would see and describe things, but if you can live with the fact that this is an adult looking back on her childhood, it's a small thing to get over. The descriptions I found perfect--very vivid, yet not so extensive that they became boring and slowed down the story. And just in what happens and isn't even excused (her parents leave her with neighbors, she accompanies the neighbor's worker to the city, where he leaves her with some more strangers--we'd be calling the police, and her parents are just slightly inconvenienced! And everyone else there has just left their small children at boarding school, not seeing them for years!), the book gives a lot of food for thought about the realities of life in that time and place.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?