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The Flame Trees of Thika better than Out of Africa?
on 3 February 2012
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.