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on May 7, 2014
One marvel to me is how Mrs. Huxley keeps her six year old self alive in the telling of this wonderful tale.
Her six year old thinking, energy and expressiveness enliven every page.
She as her parents do accept things and the people as they are. They do not judge nor
proselytize. They are all warm, loving and fun loving people. For the time, eccentrics.
As a matter of fact some of the repartee that flies between Lettice and Tilly, sometimes Tilly and Robin
could have come from a Noel Coward script for the 1920's theatre.
The backdrop and ever looming beauty and terror of the African bush is so rich one can smell it.
And it is so sad to see that in 100 years little has changed between the tribes, the whites and the bush
All surviving, just barely.
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on February 21, 2018
This is a wonderful book and is the full-sized edition, with dust jacket. Having lived in Nairobi near Karen Blixen's farm I am very much into the stories of colonial life in Kenya a hundred years ago. This book is well-written and it provides an interesting look at colonial life from the eyes of a young woman who grew up there. While you no longer see eccentric farmers riding tamed zebras to the Norfolk, the Norfolk is still there and so are the flame trees.
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on September 16, 2014
First, the illustrations are a Major bonus for the price of the book! The story is fascinating, of a time and place most of us have not nor will experience. It is honest and can be unsettlingly raw; I hate to hear of pain to animals, and was undone several times, but this is Africa and a native culture with survival on its mind. Each person was drawn clearly and dispassionately, yet with compelling personalities set in very challenging circumstances. A terrific read on pioneering and the individuals who chose to settle in that harsh, foreign land, the continent, native animals and history- I loved it even when I hated the reality of it.
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on July 27, 2017
I really enjoyed this as a story or should I say biography and the bird's eye view of the African culture at that time was intensely interesting.
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on June 16, 2012
I fell in love with this book from the very first page. I am an avid reader of books about pioneers in East Africa, British/German East Africa and such, so I already knew very well the scenery. This book however grabbed me and took me to 1909 Kenya. It is incredibly rich in information while at the same time as funny and naively surreal as Jerome K. Jerome or Sue Townsend. Very often it gets also as poetic and nostalgic as Karen Blixen, though in such a light and inobtrusive way that you find yourself wondering what was that brought tears to your eyes (it does-especially if you've been to Africa and can recall it). Reading this book I grew affectionate to the characters, and loved every human being or animal portrayed to pieces, and followed their tales holding my breath. Awesome and classy writer, I look forward to read more by her pen (she's no longer among us of course but I'll buy all her books now that I know).
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on September 6, 2013
I got this book for my wife at her request as a present. She really enjoyed reading this book, so much so that she sat me down and read me some portions of it as well. The author did an excellent job of telling the accounts of her life growing up in the wilds of Africa. She included insights into tribal customs, and human frailties. I think a reading club would enjoy both reading and discussing this book.
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on May 10, 2002
strikingly similar to dineson's `out of africa', `flame trees' is a woman-in-colonial-africa's autobiographical memoir, written even more cleanly and elegantly, though from a girl's view. just like dineson, there's only the trace of real plot driving things along, but nonetheless the well-described observations of life on a remote african farm combined with a certain curiousity about how things will end up are compelling enough to carry this book along in a very satisfying way. if not already clear, these two books make very nice companions, and huxley also wrote a second book that's probably worth a look. &, if you start to hanker for this niche but highly worthwhile genre of rare `adventurous great women writers of the mid-20th century' check out my listmania list.
postscript: i recently stumbled onto the sequel, 'the mottled lizard', which is seemlessly more of the same great writing. absolutely worth the read if you enjoyed thika.
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on May 15, 2017
An outstanding novel full of the history and life in colonial Kenya. Beautiful prose that takes your breath away. They don't write 'em like this anymore!
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on August 28, 2016
This remarkable memoir of life as a child in early Colonial Kenya gives us, the readers, a unique opportunity to experience the development of relationships among people so different that in this day and time cannot happen. I had to cast off my desire for political correctness, or unhappiness with the English superiority and racism, and see this work as it was-a moment in time. Indeed it was and we can all be richer for reading this story and learning, and even in understanding why freedom when it happened finally in Kenya, was both painful for white Kenyans and exhilarating for black Kenyans. For those of us ho have been long term guests in East Africa, the descriptions of sights, sounds, and smells are as fresh as if we were right there under the Flame tree.
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on December 27, 2016
Engrossing story of an English family that moves to Kenya to grow coffee. We meet other settlers who are struggling to survive and thrive in this untamed and unsettled part of Africa. Told from the viewpoint of the young daughter who meets and befriends native Kenyans and newly settled foreigners in the area. Great story.
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