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Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard
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Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  362 ratings  ·  71 reviews
In the classic "Babette's Feast," a mysterious Frenchwoman prepares a sumptuousfeast for a gathering of religious ascetics and, in doing so, introduces them to the true essence of grace. In "The Immortal Story," a miserly old tea-trader living in Canton wishes for power and finds redemption as he turns an oft-told sailors' tale into reality for a young man and woman. And i...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 27th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1958)
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Nov 24, 2007 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like storytelling
Somewhere between the short,jewel like clarity of Winter's Tales and the dark pathways of Seven Gothic Tales this is possibly Dineson's most entertaining collection. Babette's feast is a justified comic classic(undercut with her trademark melancholy),Immortal Story is close to the best thing she has every written(up there with the Dreamers and Sorrow Acre),a mix of gothic terror and farce. Dineson can be best described as someone who has swallowed a library but still wants to tell you campfire t...more
As I have only read the Immortal Story I can only comment on how I feel about that one. The story was okay and was a lot better than most stories I have to read in school. I did like how the story flowed and how it did not focus solely on one character the whole time. The characters themselves were pretty good as well. The only reason I do not really like the story is that it is not my usual cup of tea. I do not usually read stories like this unless it is for school and even then I do not like i...more
I was sadly only able to read the Immortal Story, but then again it was kind of a boring book. If someone had just laid this book in front of me and told me i could read it if i wanted to, i most likely would have read the first chapter then i would have thrown it across the room because the first couple chapters were that boring. I will however say that towards the end of the story it picked up a little speed and did get more interesting.
Cody Schatz
I only read the Immortal Story, so it's hard to write an accurate review. Nevertheless, I found the story rather boring, and ongoing for a lack of better words. The plot wasn't as bad as expected, but I believe if one was not required to read the story, you wouldn't. There isn't enough excitement to keep a person interested. It's very, very dull. The ending of the story is one out of a horrible movie.
"Ah! How you will enchant the angels!"
This quotation, from Babette's Feast, refers to the expectation of Phillipa, for whom Babette had been cook for many years, that Babette would truly be among the angels due to her transformative impact on Phillipa and her sister and the others from the small village of Berlevaag who attended the feast she had prepared. But to understand these transformations one must return to the beginning of Dinesen's story where the first paragraph introduces this town th...more
Dinesen, Isak. ANECDOTES OF DESTINY and EHRENGARD. (1958 & 1963). ****. “Anecdotes...” is a collection of five short stories by Dinesen that vary in quality, but two of them are magnificent: “Babette’s Feast,” and “The Immortal Story.” Also included in this volume is the novella, “Ehrengard.” I could not, frankly, get into this tale – tortuous in its telling. It relies on a once-removed epistletory style in a trumped-up medieval style that leaft me cold. “Babette’s Feast,” is the story of Ba...more
Austin Lance
I only read the Immortal Story, so I am unable to critique the entire thing. But, for the story I did read, I have to say it is quite good for its duration. The story in its entirety stands a story within story. (Storyception) Back to the point, with the Immortal Story, I find myself intrigued by the use of characterization in the tale. Mr. Clay is selfish, only attempting to create a story and make it fact. Elishama, Clay's assistant, doing his job and helping Clay realize his goal, was probabl...more
i loved Out of Africa (not really even the same story as he movie!), so I wanted to read something else by Isak Denison. This is a collection of stories, or novelettes. I read the first one and wasnot impressed. Then I read Babette's Feast--I had of course seen the movie years ago. It was good. I just finished The Immortal Tale and liked it even better---except for the ending (non). This is rather Dickensian, and at teh same time fantastical. A very unusual story premise: A dying old rich man do...more
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There's something about the way Dinesen writes that will impress you, whether she writes in an allegorical/fairy-tale way or the grains of wisdom which are strikingly true and unnervingly accurate found within. She has this kind of observation that amazes readers, in her stories, like Ehrengard--the story I particularly liked for its clever ending, and Babette's Feast which deals with a community of people and the "food feast" that changes them overnight (no they did not become monsters or anyth...more
To be honest, I have only read The Immortal Story out of this book, so I can't give a blanket statement in regards to the book. I can, however, write about how I felt after reading The Immortal Story.
I liked the story in general, but it had a very vague, abrupt ending and it was a little confusing. The story itself was actually something I hadn't ever encountered before; it had a good story and the characters were very filled out for such a short story. I am not really sure how I feel after re...more
Apr 16, 2014 Philip rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Creatives and classic-lovers
Babette's Feast, one of the short stories in this book, is an exceptional commendation of love, compassion, and excellence in aesthetic creativity, and by far my favorite of this collection. "Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost!" (I also highly recommend the masterfully film directed by Gabriel Axel drawn from this story.) The Diver and Tempests (other stories in this book) are also worth a read for the drama of their pensivel...more
Marvelous, old-fashioned storytelling, full of unexpected twists and turns.
Ryan Tracy
I only read the Immortal Story: I felt the had an interesting storyline, but to me i felt that it was a bit unrealistic and outlandish. The characters in the story were WAY over the top crazy. Whether it was Mr. Clay, and Elishama's antisocial personality. To Virgine's little bit to "social" personality. The premise of the ending was what i expected, but the way they went about it was etremely strange. Over all i liked the idea of the story but I'm more of a realistic person and the book was jus...more
Krisette Spangler
I'm really torn about the rating for this book. Isak Dinesen has such a beautiful style of writing, and all of the stories were engaging. However, the book had an overall sadness to it. Would it have hurt to write a story with a happy ending?

I would recommend reading it, especially if you like short stories. You can't really lose with Dinesen if you enjoy beautiful language. I'm looking forward to watching the movie 'Babette's Feast' now. It was my favorite story in the book. Can I borrow it Sta...more
Callie Wray
I only read The Immortal Story from this book. I actually really liked the story. It had some very humorous scenes and, generally, the plot was well thought out. Aside from the ending, it was written very well. I only gave it four stars because the ending bothered me. It seemed kind of abrupt and the whole shell thing was mostly just confusing. I would recommend giving this a read. I'm sure the other stories within the book are good as well.
Isak Dinesen (or Karen Blixen) is becoming one of my favorite writers. Her writing is just incredible. This is a collection of dense, fairy tale-like of stories, and they are absolutely marvelous. Each is intricate and complex, with these incredible twists and turns. None of the stories ever went the way you expected, but by the end you felt like all the pieces had fallen perfectly into place. Really masterful composition. And so beautiful!
Sammi Smith
Out of all the stories in this book, I have only read "The Immortal Story." This story about an old Canton tea-trader was a good story. The whole concept of the story had an outstanding story line. My favorite kind of story is one told through many point of views. Elishama, Virginie, Mr. Clay, and Povl all tell their own side to the sailor's story which makes for an even more interesting story line. You will love "The Immortal Story."
I wrote a more comprehensive review for book club, but I will say that I loved Babette's Feast and The Immortal Story the best of all the short stories. The themes of the power of food, what art means to an artist, and the power of free agency are strong and well thought out. A couple of the other stories didn't really speak to me as much; they felt less complete, less whole...just less. Still good, just not as much. ;)
I only read the immortal story and i did enjoy the story. The awkward aspect of making a tall tale not so tall was enjoyable. The interesting trial that Mr. Clay decided to put himself through as his last will on earth was entertaining because all he wanted was to make a sailor have sex with a woman and pay them to do so just to make a fictional story become nonfiction and give sailors hope of getting lucky.
When it comes to Isak Dinesen there's nothing not to like. I thought I had read almost everything she has written and then lo and behold, my friend Sarah pulls out this little number and it was like an unforseen treat. Contains the short story of Babette's Feast which is also a glorious movie. Do you want to borrow it? Because I own it. It brings to life this little jewel of a story.
Dylan Tracy
first of all i only read the immortal story sooo...... i thought the book in general was pretty good but i thought the ending was very confusing and it didn't make since at all. there is suppose too be a good ending to every story and this one wasn't i wish they would have lived happily ever after. the characters were all very different in there own ways and sometimes it made it hard to follow
Mackenzie Palmer
Only having read "The Immoral Story", I found it slightly interesting. There was one too many loose ends and the plot was foggy, but other than that, it was alight. The end of the story makes me feel like when you go to the zoo and stare at the otters in awe until one shoots out of the glass divider in a frenzy and starts biting your ankle. "Ouch why did that happen?!" Exactly.
This short story did not grab my attention very well from the start, but I believe it got better as it went on. I also enjoyed the little bits of comedy that show up occasionally. This short story was very "Scandalous" I think the author did this to make the story different and grab the attention of the reader more. I thought it was entertaining at points but not much more.
Ariel Brown
I only read the immortal story, but even that is a bit of a stretch. It was another one of the assignments that I read the first couple chapters of the Immortal Story and then slacked off and sorta followed along when we talked about it in class. However, the portion that I did read was well written. Although not my type of literature, it was still enjoyable.
Hannah Lowe
I only read the immortal story so this is simply a ranking of that one piece. It was a decent story line, but the ending of the Immortal Story is frustrating. Parts of the story seem to trail off and leave you wondering what the point is. I really enjoyed the characterization, though. In general, I did not dislike it, but it was slightly mediocre.
I only read the immortal story from the book. I thought it was fairly entertaining. There were some parts i really liked and others i didn't. I really enjoyed the way Mr. Clay was voiced throughout the story and i liked the way it played out over all. I didn't like the way it ended though.
The immortal story a massive let down with dim-witted characters who lack any amount of common sense and have almost no character development. There seemed to be no point to the story as nothing lasting was ever accomplished. The characters are also to idealistic and emotional.

The book has two brilliant stories: Babbette's Feast and Ehrengard. The rest is weird or boring (so it all averages out to a 3). Anyway, worth finding and reading for those two, especially if you like A. S. Byatt; the writing reminded me quite a bit of her stuff.
stories that make the word "timeless" resonate with new meaning. each is filled with a grace and economy that made me feel richer for having read them. "babette's feast," in particular, is a celebration of the supernatural beauty of natural experience... a classic.
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Karen Christence Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke - wrote as Isak Dinesen, Pierre Andrézel, other pseudonyms: Tania Blixen, Osceola, etc.
A Danish writer, who mixed in her work supernatural elements, aestheticism, and erotic undertones with an aristocratic view of life, Blixen always emphasized that she was a storyteller in the traditional, oral sense of the word. She drew her inspiration from the...more
More about Karen Blixen...
Out of Africa Out of Africa / Shadows on the Grass Seven Gothic Tales Winter's Tales Babette's Feast

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