Out of Africa:
In this audiobook, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives; of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom; of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her; of primitive festivals; of big game that were her near neighbors - lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes; and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.
Shadows on the Grass:
Isak Dinesen takes up the absorbing story of her life in Kenya begun in the unforgettable Out of Africa, which she published under the name of Karen Blixen. With warmth and humanity, these four stories illuminate her love for the African people, their dignity and traditions, and the beauty and wildness of the landscape. The first three were written in the 1950s and the last, "Echoes from the Hills", was written especially for this volume in the summer of 1960, when the author was in her 70s. In all they provide a moving final chapter to her African reminiscences.
©2011 Isak Dinesen; 2015 Random House Audio
This is beautifully written. We learn about the land, the people, the animals, and the farm. But very little of Blixen/Dinesen. I don't remember if she relates a single experience with her husband. His presence in the book is that slight. As for the other men in her life, they come across here as nothing more than platonic friends. If you want to know what Africa -- well, the part of Africa where Blixen/Dinesen resided -- was like in the early part of the 20th century, this is a must listen. If you're looking for an absorbing narrative -- the print version of the movie -- this will almost certainly disappoint. .
A plot. I was waiting for a story line and never got one. It was snapshots from a white snob who observed the Africans as fine animals.
The lack of a plot made the narrator's observations painfully repetitive and frustrating. I was waiting for her small mindedness, a very realistic portrayal of the colonists' views, to be framework for a storyline. A storyline never came....v
Maybe. I could not tell if Susan Lyons was a boring reader or if she was just doing her job by droning on about tall grass, baobabs, and very advanced humanoid animals (the Africans)
I am a very well read and educated person. This might be one of the few instances where the movie is better than the book! (To be fully transparent, I only read 2/3 before I quit.)
"Perfect for Africa!"
Another reviewer complained about the reader but I thought she was perfect. This is a beautifully written and fascinating story but be warned: it's not the love story they made the movie into!
It took me a while to find the unabridged audio edition for this book. I love the story and have read it time and again. Unfortunately the narrator took all the pleasure out of this one, for me at least. She speaks way too fast and her voice remains flat all the while. The real pleasure of reading Karen Blixen is not only in the stories but mostly in her writing style and descriptions of things and people. She needs to be savored like a good, expensive wine. In this narrattive she gets chugged down like cheap beer.
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