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Out of Africa [Hardcover]

Karen Blixen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1964
From the moment Karen Blixen arrived in Kenya in 1914 to manage a coffee plantation, her heart belonged to Africa. Drawn to the intense colours and ravishing landscapes, Karen Blixen spent her happiest years on the farm and her experiences and friendships with the people around her are vividly recalled in these memoirs. Out of Africa is the story of a remarkable and unconventional woman and of a way of life that has vanished for ever.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd; New impression edition (Dec 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0370000129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370000121
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,847,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

ISAK DINESEN was the pen-name of Karen Blixen, who was born in Rungsted, Denmark in 1885. After studying art at Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914. Together they went to Kenya to manage a coffee plantation. After their divorce in 1921, she continued to run the plantation until a collapse in the coffee market forced her back to Denmark in 1931.

Although she had written occasional contributions to Danish periodicals since 1905 (under the nom de plume of Osceola), her real début took place in 1934 with the publication of Seven Gothic Tales, written in English under her pen-name. Out of Africa (1937) is an autobiographical account of the years she spent in Kenya. Most of her subsequent books were published in English and Danish simultaneously, including Winter’s Tales (1942) and The Angelic Avengers (1946), under the name of Pierre Andrézol. Among her other collections of stories are Last Tales (1957), Anecdotes of Destiny (1958), Shadows on the Grass (1960) and Ehrengard (1963). All of these books are published by Penguin.

Baroness Blixen died in Rungsted in 1962.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating 26 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As an avid reader, Out of Africa still remains one of my favourite books. I have returned to it many times to absorb myself in the world of Africa at the turn of the 20th century.
Karen Blixen lived in Africa from 1914 to 1931 where she set up a coffee plantation. Through the book she meanders through her life in no chronological order telling wonderful stories about the people she encountered while there. She gives the reader no hints on her personal live leaving you picking through the story desperately trying to figure out the woman behind the life.
I found this book both stirring and remarkable and will return again and again.
"If I know a song of Africa," she writes, "of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields, and the sweaty faces of the coffee-pickers, does Africa know a song of me?"
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 29 Jun 2005
Format:Paperback
I consider Out of Africa to be the best-written portrayal of Africa by a foreign writer. She did a great job in her portrayal, indicating that she was well versed not only with the land, but also with the native African peoples she met and knew as well as their way of life. The fact that Karen respected that way of life made her to have a deep understanding of their customs and lives at a time of colonialism where European settlers lived an exclusive life from the natives and only dealt with them as sources of cheap labor. I could not help recalling other titles set in the colonial era such as THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, NOWHERE IN AFRICA. However, Karen towered above the others in her unique style of recounting her stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of Africa 14 July 2013
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an account of Karen Blixen's (Isak Dinesen) time running a coffee farm in the hills above Nairobi. However, it is not a straight narrative account, but a series of portraits of the people she met and the places she visited. You will meet the ever present Farah, Kamante, a young boy she tries to heal, and Old Knudsen, the Dane, who makes his way to her farm; as does a Swedish fugitive called Emmanuelson. Obviously, there is her lover, Denys Finch-Hatton, who flies her over Africa. However, this is a love story to Africa, rather than any one person and she presents an evocative portrait of that time and place.

Throughout the book, Blixen tells her stories with a sense of dislocation. So, even when being told of a terrible shooting accident on the farm, and her night time drive to take two seriously injured children to the hospital, there is a distance in the writing. It is almost as though you are looking back on events yourself, but you have a great sense of her real affection for the people and places she writes about. Beautiful prose and an almost dream like read, which stands the test of time and remains a classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Way of Life in a Lost Land 2 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This story of a way of life now long gone is, for me, a sad reflection on the way in the world of today, that we cannot seem to accept that the ethnic, relgious and cultural ways of life of other nations are just as valid as those here in the UK. We are all just human beings and all descended from the first species of "homo sapiens". For me, I could not care less what colour or religion people that I meet are. It is about time that some of the so called leaders of our communities, in whichever nation, started behaving towards others in the way that Karen Blixen related to the indigenous peoples she met during her time in Africa, instead of continually trying to tell them that they are wrong and forcing their views on them by force. Recent events in Syria and Burma typify this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars touching memoir of a paradise lost 26 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Karen Blixen describes her life as a coffee farmer in Kenya between 1914 and 1931. She was clearly a remarkable human being, and gives a powerful sense of what life was like in that time and place. Particularly memorable accounts of the lives of the Natives and the way in which life there is part and parcel with the landscape - and something into which some individuals from the West could fit (better than into their lives back home). The harm wrought by colonialism is also very clear.

This book reminded me strongly of two other books of memoirs - Cider With Rosie and Christ Stopped Short At Eboli, both of which also give the same sense of a primitive and valuable way of life, untouched by time and on the verge of being lost.

Blixen does go on to lose her farm; and her own paradise....Strongly recommended - for those in the market for memoirs of this kind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insight into Colonial Africa 7 April 2009
Format:Paperback
A wonderful memoir of a unique time in history. I bought it sometime after watching the film. Of course like all films/books you can't really compare the two. I found the book to be an enjoyable read, with some great descriptions of the stunning Kenyan countryside and tales from Colonial Africa.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Africa 1 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a beautiful place Africa is. The book took me back to Karen Blixen's farm i visited on one of my trips to kenya. She is a wonderful writer, almost poetic. Have enjoyed reading this book and will be reading it again. If you have a kindle i would recommend you download a sample to read before purchase it might not be for everyone.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but a challenging read 10 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this having been a fan of the film since it first came out and having watched it again recently. Although the book doesn't have a chronological narrative, being more a collection of episodes, the prose is beautiful and poetic and the film adaptation embodies this. The main challenge with the book, however, is the small and rather poor quality type, which makes reading and engaging with the text more of a struggle than it should be. I am going to persevere though!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but ...
very patchy, needed a good editor. Colourful stories linked very badly so more hidden about author's life than revealed.

(why the word count????)
Published 9 months ago by Jas
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read
This really evokes the spirit of the Kenyan landscape and Blixen's tenacious spirit. Her relationship with the locals is well drawn and reflects the time in which the novel is set,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Alison
5.0 out of 5 stars OBSERVATIONS FROM A B ETTER TIME AND PLACE BY Robert Carr, author
This book was written during a time in Africa when the situation was very different from that of today. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Robert Carr
4.0 out of 5 stars the real Africa
A greast follow on from the first book. I have already got half way through the next one and it is as good
Published 13 months ago by andy132
2.0 out of 5 stars African anecdotes
I knew very little about Out of Africa, aside from being vaguely aware of the Meryl Streep/Robert Redford film of the eighties. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr N D Willis
5.0 out of 5 stars Hemmingway
Ernest Hemingway described "Out of Africa' as the 'preeminent book on Africa ever written. What more can I possibly say.
Published 16 months ago by Maguire
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy if you've seen the film!
A compelling book once you've seen " Out of Africa". An amazing lady and a story well told. Great service from the company.
Published 19 months ago by M. Sutherland
5.0 out of 5 stars Tie -in to Out of Africa film and Denys Finch Hatton
Interesting to read about Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton from two different angles. Well written and ideal for a book club.
Published on 1 Nov 2011 by Mrs. J. K. Kelly
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