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African Nights: True Stories from the Author of I Dreamed of Africa Paperback – Bargain Price, March 22, 2000

3.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, March 22, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gallmann's collection of true stories of her life in the Kenyan Highlands reads like a novel. One story flows into the next as Gallmann writes of her interactions with the Kenyan people, other European farmers, and African animals. Central to the stories are the customs and rituals of the Kenyan tribes: the offering of cattle for courtship of a daughter, rain dances, sacrifices to gods and spirits, and female circumcision. Gallmann, an Italian, fell in love with Africa 30 years ago and has since made Kenya her home. These stories examine what Africa has given her, but the author also writes of what the land has taken away: her husband, Paolo, died in a car accident and her son, Emanuele, died of a snakebite. The triumphs and hardships of a passionate life are in these stories, set against the spiritual and mysterious African culture. By publishing these stories and selling her first novel to Hollywood, she hopes to bring the environmental issues so crucial to Africa's future to the world's attention. This is wonderful adventure reading. Michelle Kaske

Review

"Captures perfectly the magic of Kenya, creating an almost overwhelming picture of beauty and drama, pain and joy, death and resurrection....Her discovery of African culture, with its mystery and danger, is recounted in spare, lyrical prose." -- New York Times Book Review on I Dreamed of Africa
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060954833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060954833
  • ASIN: B002KE5V80
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,772,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. M. Calitri on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you are one who often dreams of Africa, then you've probably heard of Kuki Gallman, a brave woman who begins her 2nd memoir with those very words: "I was born in Italy, and from earliest childhood I dreamed of Africa." African Nights, the sequel to I Dreamed of Africa (now a movie in which Kim Bassinger stars), is a reverent anthology about the author's experiences in Kenya. In her first book, readers learned of her life tragedies--her husband's fatal plane crash and her son's death from a poisonous pet snake's bite. The stories in African Nights take place afterwards and illustrate a venerable woman's courage in the face of the wild and beautiful East Africa. Stories such as "Elephant Ballad," "Night of the Lions," and "The Brigadier's Cheetah" pay tribute to the glory of African animals and homage to the humans they encounter. But these are more than stereotypical animal tales set in beautiful Kenya. "A Maasai Woman," one of the most original stories in the book, recreates an afternoon Ms. Gallman spends with the woman in her boma (compound). In less than six pages the author authentically presents a wealth of obscure tribal custom. Sure, most of us never give Africa a second imaginative thought beyond the hackneyed portrayal of the lone warrior with his spear or herds of zebras running from lions. What makes Ms. Gallman's writing unique in the nature writing genre is her deeply religious connection to our African heritage and a poetic ease for sharing it. After reading this book, you may feel that you have breathed the perfume of tropical herbs while hearing the bass vibrations of elepants in a deep green distance. Or you may end up going to Africa to know the Garden of Eden for yourself. If not, this book offers pleasure and wisdom for loving Africa and Africans as the author surely does.
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Format: Paperback
I understand that Mrs. Gallmann's writing style and in fact, even her stories, are not suited to everyone's tastes. But I also feel that the basis for some of these reviews is quite ridiculous. The spelling "errors"? Oddly enough, these are likely not errors, simply European takes on English words. People seem to forget the Kuki is an Italian and, therefore, not necessarily keen to Americanized spellings. The editor likely saw no need to alter these words as they are easily understood either way and, in fact, I myself have seen the words that the reviewer was referring to written in the same manner before. A mild complaint at best, I would say.
I also fail to understand the reasoning behind the anti-colonial reviews written mainly by a few North Americans. I believe we are the last people who should be allowed to speak of colonialism. True, Kuki may be just another white colonial in Africa, a land that has had its fair share of problems in that department. But, she has also done more to bring focus to that country and make the stories of this vast and beautiful continent/country known to the rest of us. Who cares where she has garnered her money from? She obviously comes from a quite wealthy family and she runs a major organization and has worked dutifully on her FARM (yes, it is a farm, remember that. They state explicitly that they have sold livestock from very early on) for close to 30 years.
Alas, not everyone can see the simplistic beauty in her words. A true poet does not have to conform to the normal style of writing. (don't forget - the last few "tales" in "African Nights" were taken directly from her diary - even if words are misspelled, perhaps the misspellings were left in for authenticity's sake).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of short stories is exquisitely written, accurately and magically depicting the sounds, smells, sights, and feelings of life and all its struggles and joys in Kenya. Her stories and descriptions brought me back physically, emotionally, and spiritually to the land and people I love. I savoured each chapter and bought my ticket back to Kenya mid-book. I tell my friends if they want to understand why I am drawn to Kenya, to read this book. It is profound and delightful!
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Format: Paperback
How she does it I don't know. She's incredible, seeing beauty in everything, painting vivid pictures for all to delight in. Presuming it to be only remnants from her perfect book I Dreamed of Africa, I doubted the caliber of this work. I was skeptical but willing - but Gallmann has proved that everything she touches illuminates in melodious detail. Whether it is the amplification of a salmon pink sky, silhouettes at dusk, a tree that appears imbued with knowledge, or a night sky saturated with the sounds that are Africa, Kuki's awareness and ensuing stories are exceptional - encroaching inspirational. There is something in every story that appeals to heart and soul. I almost wanted to frame each story separately as if it were a sapphire or quartz rarity, explicit, precious and real. I'm so impressed by her writing and the lighted manner in which she takes in Africa. It's wonderful.

I liked this book.
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I did volunteer work at Kuki's Ol Ari Nyrio in 11/07 and it was the most amazing experience of my life. I also had dinner with Kuki and she is an artist- attentive, creative, intelligent, and misses nothing. Africa is a place like no other-you cannot expect the norm - truth is always more interesting & stranger than fiction, remember. Kuki is an amazing person and the work she has done for the people & animals in the area, without spoiling the natural habitat or trying to change the people's ways, is well told. The death of her son and husband, so tragic, has led her to different levels in life, where so much work has been done for the good of generations to come. Read her books-they are wonderful!
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