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Customer Review

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Evocative but rather slow, 5 Oct. 2007
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This review is from: Out of Africa (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
There is no doubt that Karen Blixen paints a distinctly lyrical and poetic picture of her beloved Africa in these pages. Her knowledge of local customs is vast; her relationship with her native workers is touching; her deepest thoughts and daily experiences are rich and varied.

But on the whole I found reading this book a chore. Although vaguely chronological, most of the events in this book are simply well-observed vignettes stitched together in a loose retrospective narrative. The most absorbing sections by far are the passages dealing with a 'shooting accident' on the coffee plantation...and any pages featuring the exploits of Denys Finch Hatton. I found it difficult to muster any sincere interest when reading entire chapters devoted to a pet antelope, however.

The entire memoir is written so well, you see - but it moves at the pace of a snail. I longed for some excitement along the way...and enjoyed it when it arrived. But it appeared only once in a while. Let's just say that 10% of the writing seems to deal with tense, dramatically engaging issues - and 90% focuses on swaying grass, distant hills and slightly arrogant musing. This, no doubt, mirrors and captures the unfictional events it is describing...but dare I say that it was so true-to-life that it unwittingly held onto the more mundane side of it?
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