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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Mottled Lizard
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 1 October 2007
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.
7 people found this helpful
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on 2 October 2009
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.
3 people found this helpful
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on 27 October 2015
This wonderful book falls into the category of reads that I didn't want to finish because to read the last page would be to say goodbye to the sights , sounds and people of an Africa of a different time. Beautiful evocative writing, poetic descriptions that bring the very scent of Africa off the page.
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on 22 January 2004
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'.
13 people found this helpful
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on 27 March 2016
A wonderfully descriptive story of her teenage years in Africa. Excellent use of the English language which is exceptional.
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on 20 May 2015
Having seen the book, I wondered why they didn't make this into a TV series as follow on to Flame Trees of Thika, but having read the book, realised that much of it was incorporated into the TV series anyway.
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on 31 March 2014
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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on 23 October 2017
A poorer read than "The Flames Trees of Thika"
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on 16 December 2012
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.
One person found this helpful
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on 13 December 2014
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