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Leaves from the Fig Tree [Paperback]

Diana Duff , Jayne Southern , Jacques Stenvert
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 Dec 2010
With humour, eloquence, empathy and delightful Gaelic charm, Diana, as a child, travels from Johannesburg to Ireland to a stately home with world-famous gardens. While the talk above stairs was of horses, rare plants and fishing; below stairs it was of banshees, the little people, ráths and the foxy-haired ghost. As an adult she returned to Africa, where she doubled for Grace Kelly in Mogambo; unwittingly employed a Mau Mau leader; met the king of cheetah racing; challenged the authorities at the height of apartheid - and emerged victorious. 'Diana Duff's memoir is feisty, humorous and poignant. It's an evocation of a lifestyle that the world will never accommodate again - particularly in Africa. More's the pity, because somehow we don't seem to breed such iconoclastic, fey and nonconformist characters any more. Diana has a remarkable memory for detail, and she writes with a kind of wry wit that is most engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Leaves from the Fig Tree' and look forward to Diana's next book.' - Patricia Glyn, broadcaster, journalist, committed African and author of Footing with Sir Richard's Ghost and Off Peak. 'The Kikiyu people ... were to me fascinating ... the descriptive way in which they spoke of things, illustrating with hand and tongue a thing that had happened, so that it came alive. One spoke to me once of years passing and conjured up a picture of a great fig tree, the leaves falling, each leaf another year of his life.'

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Rebel ePublishers LLC; 2nd edition edition (7 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0986973114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986973116
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,258,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'a most impressive first book' ... 'an extraordinary tale' ... 'I do hope that this is not her only book' -- City to Cities Magazine

'a talented storyteller' ... 'full of the heat, danger and sparkle of Africa. Well worth a read.' -- Backpacker Ireland & UK Magazine

'delightful' ... 'delicious descriptions of the country' ... 'a fascinating read' ... 'A most enjoyable book' -- East African Woman's League

'the candour of an honest diary and the verve of letters to an intimate friend' ... 'teems with picturesque incidents' -- The Spectator, 3 January 2004 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed memoirs 1 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a fellow old African hand and I was therefore somewhat surprised that I found it so disappointing. The book is not an autobiography rather it appears to be a selection of reminisces that someone had recorded and put into book form, with little attention given to editing or checking the facts. Accordingly the book is very disjointed, jumping from one period to another, relatives are introduced with background information only surfacing in later chapters and there are several errors - the most glaring of which is two references to King cobras in East Africa (King Cobras are found in Asia, and the indian subcontinent, not africa)- in other words the book is really a summary of the type of stories you might hear from an elderly aunt over tea on a rainy afternoon. An efficient editor with a knowledge of Africa could have improved the book somewhat. However, there really isn't enough material here to make it an interesting book - a sunday magazine article would have been more appropriate.
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8 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African Journey 19 Nov 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A lovely book chronicling the life of a remarkable woman in a world that no longer exists. Gripping stuff, all the more powerful as it is basically non-fiction.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into Africa 6 Feb 2007
By Dr. R. Till - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A gripping page turner, this is the fascinating story of a more than average life led in Ireland and Africa, in a world that no longer exists in the middle of the 20th century. Told through the eyes of the writer, this is all the more powerful because the story in it is true. Beginning with childhood living in the house of the lord of the manor in Ireland, the story shows how a life of supposed priviledge is not always an easy one. As we follow our heroine to Africa, we see how her love affair with the continent begins. A life less ordinary indeed, this gives a fascinating insight into the real world of white Africans, the complexities of living in countries full of turmoil.

Apart from anything else the book is well written and interesting, not a usual autobiography, more like travel writing, an insight into a continent and culture.
4.0 out of 5 stars Colorful pictures via words on life in Ireland and Africa 2 Jun 2014
By Dennis Stick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very unique book in that it starts with life in Ireland and moves, through family circumstances to Africa. I especially enjoyed the perspective of life in Africa in the 1950 and beyond. Easy reading. Colorful comments.
5.0 out of 5 stars History in Africa from One Woman's Experience 22 May 2014
By RetirementRocks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was enthralled by this book. The author was born in Africa but raised on an estate in Ireland. When a young adult she rejoined Africa, her father (sort of), her mother (an interesting story there!) and relearned her early history. She and her family were involved in the changes in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa in the post-Colonial period. Great insights and personal experiences. And fortunately, the author writes with artistry.
5.0 out of 5 stars An intreging and interesting memior 20 Mar 2014
By Rebekah Hammond - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am so drawn to memoirs and this one was not to be missed. Well written and full of interesting historical events, places, people. Ms Duff's life growing up in Ireland was just as captivating as her experiences in Africa. Glad to have found this gem and will likely read once again someday.
3.0 out of 5 stars Two different authors? 19 Feb 2014
By Lithel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The portion of the book that is written about Ireland is so lyrical, detailed and authentic. In Africa it seems to be an entirely different author -- different voice, mindset and ability to capture the essence and personalities of the landscape and people.
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