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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE FLAME TREES OF THIKA 1959, 11 Dec 2007
By 
Dr S. S. Nagi "Nyrobe" (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This small book of 285 pages,first published in 1959 (2000), has no maps and no photos, takes us back to the start of Kenya, where kikuyu were yet unaffected by the Europeans. 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 a 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. Elspeth parents buy a land from Nairobi and set up their home there. They gradually shape the farm. Men and women kikuyu and some masai come to work for them. The have cattle and plant coffee. More Europeans come and settle and even Thika prospers.
As a child Elspeth, sees the culture of the natives. Then comes the 1st world war. Farms close and life of the settlers is disrupted.
Excellent book, very readable and also enjoy the sequel called " The Mottled Lizard ". 'Flame trees of Thika' is also available as 2 disc DVD 1981 (2005) with Hayley Mills, David Robb, Holly Aird , Ben Cross and Sharon Mughan. Some say it is slow, but I found it just right, for the story and the times. Some of the author's other books are:-
(1) White Man's Country, 2 Volumes 1935 (1980)
(2) Murder on Safari, 1938 (2002)
(3) Red Strangers 1939 (2009)
(4) The Mottled Lizard 1962 (1999)
(5) With Fork and Hope 1964
(6) Livingstone 1974
(7) Out in the Midday Sun, My Kenya 1985 (2000)
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 Deserves to remain a classic, 20 Oct 2011
By 
J. Wickens (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I would strongly recommend this book, since it is:

A valuable historical record (albeit fictionalised) of the life of a group of white settlers in early 20th-Century Kenya, full of everyday details but also capturing the Europeans' perceptions of the indigenous peoples and the range of their attitudes towards them. Although some of the generalisations about the customs and value systems of the Kikuyu are unreliable, the young narrator is not judgemental; she sees every individual as a human being.

An extraordinarily sensitive portrayal of the world of adults (with all their follies and weaknesses) seen through the eyes of a child.

A fine piece of writing, with an easy, flowing style that moves effortlessly between matter-of-fact and lyrical, expressing a proper sense of wonder at the beauties of the natural world.

(The ancient edition I read would be improved by a couple of maps showing the location of real places mentioned in the book - I don't know which later additions have this.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Flame Trees of Thika better than Out of Africa?, 3 Feb 2012
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I first read this book what seems like a lifetime ago, after working in Nigeria for 3 years. Re-reading it now for research on the influence of voodoo/ju-ju/gris-gris/muti on African development, I was impressed by what a stunningly good read it still is. It's kept me awake 3 nights in a row.
Written a decade after Karen Blixen's Out of Africa, it deals with the same place, but a shorter time frame (colonial Kenya 1912-14). It tells the same story of sublime moments, effort and ultimate defeat but it is Huxley's (as a child) fascination and intelligent exploration of her new world that is so utterly compelling and honest. It's a tragedy that books as well-written as this one seem to have gone out of style. It is regarded as a classic, and teenagers would surely love it, so why is it not recommended reading in schools? Read it yourself and you will probably see why . . .
Kate Nivison, Woodford Green.
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5.0 out of 5 stars superb memories of a lost time, 24 April 2014
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You can see the country, smell and hear its inhabitants. A masterpiece. If ever you visit Thika the flame trees still flower.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Flame Trees of Thika, 15 Nov 2013
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When we booked our holiday to Kenya I was advised of this book and again it is mentioned in Diana Sheldrick's book so I had to read it. It was written in 1959 and her memories of her childhood in Africa were tremendous. Life around 1st WW was very different to today as shooting wildlife was acceptable then. It didn't grip me emotionally theye way Lawrence Anthony's The Elephant Whisperer did but nevertheless insightful. It was shown as a television series in 1981 but I missed that as I was living in Berlin then.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Flame Trees of Thika, 11 Oct 2013
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Really looking forward to reading this book. I have also ordered the DVD and put both by for a cold winter's day. Such a long time since I saw the first showing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, and sometimes uncomfortable reading, 7 Aug 2014
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This classic was everything I expected it to be, beautifully written, sometimes uncomfortable, account of European settlers' life in Africa pre First World War.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Flame Trees of Thika, 4 Aug 2009
By 
Miriam Watson (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Bought this book for my 93 year old mother in law and she thoroughly enjoyed it although she said it was rather sad in parts.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, 9 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood (Hardcover)
This was not a book that I was able "to look into" before buying.So I clicked on it and hoped for the best. It is indeed a beautiful book with beautiful illustrations. (I ordered it as a used book as a new book would have cost over 100 Pounds!) However, it was in good condition and my daughter is happy with it.
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The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood
The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Joscelin Grant Huxley (Hardcover - Oct 1987)
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