Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: Out of Africa

Title Out of Africa (Modern Library)
Author Isak Dinesen
Rating ****
Tags autobiography, isak dinesen, africa, natives, kenya 

Read this for my book club. I have a vague memory of seeing the movie years ago, but don't remember much about it. I think it was the love story of Dinesen and Denys Finch-Hatton, so that was what I was expecting the book to be.

Dinesen ran a coffee farm in Africa, a few miles away fron Nairobi. The book is almost entirely about Dinesen's relationships with the Natives she lived with. It is a little frustrating to read, because she has something of the colonial attitude of superiority, but not enough for her to not see the Africans as individuals and appreciating them in many ways. It is, however, a picture of the dealings of people with very different cultures and habits of mind. And in many ways I agree that Western culture is better, but not in all ways, and certainly colonialism had its extremely dark side. Dineson mentions casually that the African's weren't allowed to own land!

Dinesen's descriptions of Africa are lyrical, and one feels how much of a tragedy it was in her life for the farm to fail and for her to be forced to leave Africa. She does talk about Finch-Hatton and his untimely death.

An impressive work i was glad to read.

Publication Modern Library (1992), Edition: Later printing, Hardcover, 416 pages
Publication date 1992
ISBN 0679600213 / 9780679600213

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

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