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The Mottled Lizard [Hardcover]

Elspeth Huxley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1962
In this sequel to The Flame of Thika, Elspeth Huxley takes up her story after the family returns to Kenya after the First World War. Her family and friends, their home and their travels, the glorious wildlife and scenery, described in rich and loving detail, all spring to life in this enchanting book. 'She knows East Africa and she loves it. . . with a critical and understanding sympathy. ' The Times 'What a marvellous writer. . . and what a Kenya it was. ' Financial Times
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st Edition edition (Dec 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701108282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701108281
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,231,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

This is the sequel to Huxley's wonderful first volume of Kenyan memoirs, The Flame Trees of Thika. Returning to her beloved Africa after the First World War, she, Tilly and Robin set about clearing the overgrown estate and getting it back in working order again. The flame trees have grown wild and the coffee bushes have almost disappeared, so there is much to do. There is a poignancy in the loss of old friends, but a renewed delight in the sights, sounds and smells of the country: the aroma of frangipani trees and dried cowdung, the flat-topped acacias shimmering in the heat of the plains, the herds of lyre-horned impala. Huxley can be achingly romantic and passionate about the things she truly cares about and fears are disappearing: the wildlife, the indigenous peoples, the beauty of Africa itself. Or she can be a fine comic writer, hilariously insouciant about things like an outbreak of bubonic plague on the boat out, for instance, pausing in the Red Sea to dump the corpses overboard. Or the incident with the exploding marmalade in the bathroom. (You'll have to read it for yourself.) All in all, its the same heady mix that made Flame Trees of Thika such a superb book, in turns dazzlingly beautiful and preposterously funny. --Christopher Hart --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"She knows East Africa and she loves it - the people, black and white, and the wild beauy of its countryside - with a critical and understanding sympathy" (The Times)

"More lyrical than the first volume" (The Washington Post) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mottled Lizard - Flame Trees growing up 22 Jan 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved this book. Read it as a tonic having returned from holidaying in Kenya and missing the country greatly. Having read Flame Trees of Thika long ago I'd forgotton the joyful spirit of Elspeth Huxley's writing. Such a clarity of vision given of the young girl and her life with her unusual parents in a wonderful African landscape. The characters and their adventures made for wonderful escapism and brought Kenyan sunshine warmth to a few dull days back in 'Blighty'.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MOTTLED LIZARD 1 Oct 2007
By Dr S. S. Nagi TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was first published in 1962 (1999), has 335 pages, no maps and no photos. ELSPETH JOSCELIN HUXLEY (CBE - 1962) was born on 23.7.1907. Her parents arrived in THIKA , British East Africa (KENYA) in 1912 to start a coffee farm. She was educated in white school in NAIROBI. She left Africa in 1925, but returned periodically. She married GERVAS HUXLEY in 1931. She wrote 30 books. She died in a nursing home at the age of 89 on 10.1.1997 at Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England. In her first volume of her autobiography -'The Flame Trees of Thika', Huxley described her childhood in Kenya. It described all the difficulties the family had at their farm in Thika. That story ended with the start on 1st world war and closing of their farm. The 'Mottled Lizard' opens with the war over and Elspeth and her mother about to join her father in Kenya. Gradually the family home is pulled back into shape and the coffee farm recovers. We meet Europeans neighbours, Kikuyu servants and wild animals. Huxley reveals her love for Kenya. At the end of the book, the family leaves Thika. The reader share her regret for the loss of this wild ad exciting country and of a life that has vanished now for ever. Excellent follow on to the first book flame trees of Thika. You feel you are there in Kenya at that time and get fully involved with the story. Pitty,there are NO pictures in this book.
Some of Huxley's books are:-
(1) White Man's Country, 2 volumes 1935, 1980
(2) Murder in Safari 1938
(3) Red Strangers 1939
(4) The Flame Trees of Thika 1959
(5) With Fork and Hope 1964
(6) Livingstone 1974
(7) Out in the midday Sun, My Kenya 1985
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this book.
Read and ENJOY.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 2 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My mother was born in Kenya in the 1930's. When I was a child I enjoyed listening to her stories of life in Kenya. Although Flame Trees of Thika is set 25 years before my mother was born, and this book is set 15 years before, both remind me greatly of childhood stories.
Elspeth Huxley is a superb writer, and her descriptions of early settler life in Kenya are riveting.

This book is also forward-looking in the way that the early settlers thought the riches of Kenya were inexhaustible, and with luck anyone could live a rich and prosperous life there. Towards the end of the book we realise that is not true, and Kenya's wildlife would be almost extinct a mere 40 years later.

Definitely a worthwhile read for anyone who enjoys wildlife and nature, and also for anyone who has a curiosity about early colonial life in East Africa.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class 16 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This reveiw of life in Kenya through the yes of a young Elspeh Huxley in a little gem, her expert description of her life and times in a rapidly growing nation after the war is excellent. I suspect the modern day bookworm may find the subject matter a little old fashioned, however, this is a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the mottled lizard 31 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I bought this for my son,s birthday I cannot say whether he will like it, but it was originally a favourite of mine.
R. Flower smith
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