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Out of Africa

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  18,058 ratings  ·  1,002 reviews
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

In this book, 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 Kn
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ebook, 400 pages
Published July 27th 2011 by Random House (first published 1937)
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Farah The fact that she pointed out to Denys where she would like to be buried. Her vivid description of the land, her belief that she would live and die in…moreThe fact that she pointed out to Denys where she would like to be buried. Her vivid description of the land, her belief that she would live and die in Africa. The feeling of great loss as she left. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Andrea
I chose to read this book in high school as one of those free-reading things for which you later have to give a presentation. This is a book about Africa for white people who want to go on a safari and see the cool animals, which is basically what the author did. I kinda hated Karen Blixen for her condescending attitude towards the "natives" and I felt the whole book was nothing but pretentious, self-aggrandizing bullshit. If I had had any courage, I would have done two things differently for my ...more
Forrest
I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.

For better or worse, this opening sentence rekindled my love affair with literature. Granted, I never lost my love of reading, but from my late teens to my early-twenties, the relationship was rather shallow, mostly maintained through movies about books, comic books/graphic novels (still a great love for me), and role-playing game books and modules, all interspersed with one-night-stands with real books that I loved for a night, then left o
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Dianne
Really lovely - a living, breathing piece of history with writing that will make your heart sing. Of its time, certainly not "politically correct" with its colonial viewpoint, but nevertheless, the author's love of Africa and its people shines through. I felt as though I was sitting at Scheherazade's knee as she spun her 1001 tales. Dinesen/Blixen is a master story-teller - I can understand why Denys Finch Hatton loved to hear her tell her stories.

Highly recommend.
Tinea
May 16, 2009 Tinea rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one! why are we still pretending this colonial drivel has value?
Recommended to Tinea by: Mom
I have no idea why my mom recommended this book to me. A white British colonist tells the story of her privileged life on her coffee plantation in Kenya. She writes some great imagery about the Kenyan landscape and tells funny stories about animals, except that her idea of the landscape and animals includes all the Black servants and workers and "squatters" on her plantation. She is really stupid and proudly naive. It's awful. For example, when she jokingly threatens to fire all of her servants ...more
Helle
I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.

I visited Karen Blixen’s house in Rungsted last week and was immediately drawn into her magical realm of cross-cultural storytelling and awe-inspiring life. I bought this book there, the cover of which was painted by Blixen herself, and immersed myself in the incredible story of her life in Africa. (I visited the house with my mother years ago but didn’t embark upon Blixen’s oeuvre until recently. As with all of literature, timing and readine
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Ken-ichi
This is a book that I enjoyed without loving, but it nevertheless provided some novel experiences and food for thought, and what more can we ask of our books? I mean, besides spaceships and explosions. Dinesen's writing (and Dinesen herself) seems alternately lyrical and pragmatic, equally direct in describing grisly accidents with firearms or the otherwordly sensation of flying, but the whole was too fragmented and impressionistic to ever really dig its claws into me.

That said, it did get me th
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Afshar
فیلمش رو دو یا سه بار دیدم و حالا در بدر دنبال پیدا کردن کتابشم
حتی حاضرم به زبان انگلیسی هم شده بخوانمش ولی فعلا هیچی پیدا نکردم
با دیدن این فیلم بود که با آهنگ های موزارت آشنا شدم و آهنگ آداگیو رو صدبار گوش دادم
adagio
در کتابی خوندم که مردم آمریکا برای فرزندان خردسالشان آهنگ موزارت میگذارند چون باعث افزایش هوش می شود
یکی از صحنه های فیلم خیلی جالب بود.رابرت ردفورد در کنار مریل استریپ در جنگل برای میمونها با گرامافون آهنگی از موزارت پخش میکند و میخواهد ببیند آیا میمون ها هم تحت تاثیر نابغه موسیقی
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Elizabeth
This book was odd, fascinating, strange, depressing, tedious, poignant, old-fashioned and profound.

I've heard so many different things from people as I read this book. A few fellow readers called it racist. Others went on and on about the beauty of the writing.

I enjoyed it, but now that I've set the book aside, I feel unsettled. This book encapsulates the receding tide of African culture. Dinesen writes, "It was not I who was going away, I did not have it in my power to leave Africa, but it was
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Lenoir
Ok, I'll admit it. I really didn't love this book. I didn't even finish it. I am adding it as read because I read more than half of it and I should get something out of it since I won't be getting my time wasted back. I'm sure you are supposed to read this for the lovely descriptions of Africa (and it does sound quite lovely) but if I had to read another comparison of a native to an animal I thought I was going to scream. There was zero story line. It was just not something that I could apprecia ...more
Denis
There's a reason why people keep reading this book decade after decade. It's a masterpiece, a memoir about life on a farm in Africa that is filled with such humanity, generosity, love, and nostalgia that it is impossible to resist. Dinesen does wonders at telling a rather simple story in ways that keep the reader captive. It's enchanting like a real, bittersweet, exotic, mysterious fairy-tale: with the author's words, her life on the African continent becomes an extraordinary adventure of almost ...more
Astrid
Jun 21, 2007 Astrid rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I first chose this book because the english section in the french bookshop was very limited. However only after a few pages "Out of Africa" really made me stay in my chair, very unwilling to put it down. It is beautifully written and gives such an insight into the colonial life in Kenya in the early 20th century.

Karen Blixen writes about her life on the farm, the daily running of it, her on-farm workers and her place in it all. As her husband was very rarely there, it was K. Blixen that took car
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Ebookwormy
This book captures the charm, the majesty, the beauty of Africa and her native people. A beautiful read full of stories about the tensions arising from the colonization of Kenya, and it's benefits (things like better medical care).

However, as far as biography, I found the book rather shadowy. There is reference to a husband, but no discussion of him. Reference to sickness but no clarity as to what caused it. References to male friends, but no insight into their relationship with the author. To f
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Rosa Ramôa
Não tenho paciência para ti...
Cheguei a um ponto em que não me apetece perder mais tempo...
Não vou perder mais tempo com coisas que me desagradam ou ferem.
Não vou perder mais tempo contigo!!!
Se calhar tornei-me arrogante e pretensiosa.
Se calhar...
Não suporto cinismos nem manias deturpadas.
Se não gostas deixa ficar.
Perdi a vontade...
Não vou amar quem não me ama...
Não quero agradar a quem não agrado...
Não vou continuar...Não vale a pena.Eu desisto!
Estou cheia dos pseudos eruditismos e de tanta arr
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Christie Hinrichs
This has been on my "must read" list forever. When I picked it up, I'm embarrassed to say, I wasn't immediately aware that it was a memoir. I knew about the movie, and just assumed it was a novel based on Dinesen's experiences. So - it felt a little slow in the beginning, as I got my bearings. But Africa quickly seduced me, and I found myself fighting a low-grade fury that the Africa of her day was lost forever. How often does this irritation rattle me? All these places and times and I won't eve ...more
Vale
Un bianco, per dire una cosa affettuosa, scrive: "Non ti posso scordare". Gli africani dicono: "Noi non crediamo tu possa mai scordarti di noi".

Non avrei mai letto questo libro se non avessi scoperto, rileggendo Il giovane Holden, che Salinger ne tesseva le lodi. Così, colma di curiosità, acquistai una copia di seconda mano anche se non ero convinta: non amo acquistare libri la cui copertina richiama il film, le trovo volgari e svilenti verso l'opera di genio di uno scrittore.
Poi la lettura, avv
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K
I was expecting to enjoy this a lot more than I did.

I know it's a classic, and has been recommended over and over by various readers. I was grabbed immediately by the writing, which was beautiful throughout. Unfortunately, the book was a little too episodic for me -- I need more of a narrative arc, and this felt like a string of loosely connected incidents. I also felt very detached from the memoirist, and wished I could get to know her better. Apparently she was a wealthy baroness in the early
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Rowland Bismark
Following Finch-Hatton's death and the bankruptcy of the coffee farm, Dinesen returned to Denmark and moved back into the estate where she was born, Rungstedlund. It was after she returned home and was living with her family that Dinesen began to write in earnest. She adopted the pen name, "Isak Dinesen," the term "Isak" being the Hebrew word for "one who laughs." She also decided that she should write in English, because it is a language that is more widely read than Danish. Her first collectio ...more
Travelling Sunny
I started this book all wrong. I was expecting an autobiography of sorts. I was expecting to learn about Karen Blixen and her marriage and her love affair and her life from beginning to end.

But, this book is not a chronological story and it doesn't even really get into Karen's inner most thoughts. No. It is snippets of time - individual memories - wrapped up in some of the most beautiful, thought-provoking, descriptive prose I've ever had the pleasure to read.

So, while reading the first half-plu
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Madeline
"Looking back on a sojourn in the African highlands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air. The sky was rarely more than pale blue or violet, with a profusion of mighty, weightless, ever-changing clouds towering up and sailing on it, but it has a blue vigour in it, and at a short distance it painted the ranges of hills and the woods a fresh deep blue. In the middle of the day the air was alive over the land, like a flame burning' it scintillated, waved, and shon ...more
Otis Chandler
It was nice to be back in Africa, even for a short time. This was a beautifully written memoir, and a remarkable glimpse into what Africa was like a century ago. I fear the Africa Dinesen described is long gone.

I picked this up tainted by having seen the movie first, and was kind of glad and surprised at the differences. The fact that she almost doesn't even mention her husband, who was so prominent in the film, I think would have been strange even to those who hadn't seen the movie. Also the wa
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Cherop
I don't think this book is intended to be an autobiography as such but a book that recalls Isak Dinesen's time in Kenya and those things which left an indelible impression on her.

When the movie came out I steadfastly avoided seeing it. I would catch little bits of it on television from time to time and finally saw the movie in full in the Spring of 2012. Just last week, I happened to come upon the book at a used book sale, picked it up and read (devoured) it over a 2 day period.

I enjoyed it imm
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Nefariousbig
This is the person I have always wanted to be (minus the syphillis, of course). I have imagined myself as this character in so many ways at so many times in my life. so much so that she IS part of me. Her determination, head strong defiance, inner beauty, strength, compassion, freedom and tolerance, and perseverance over those who tried to quash her spirit. Quite simply, her grace. I absorbed the beauty of this life and this story. It is part of me. Always.
Sly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Ashford April (April 2013).

"I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills." Karen Blixen, writing under the nom de plume, Isak Dinesen, lived in Africa for many years, till she finally had to give up her coffee plantation and head home to Denmark, were she became a famous writer for her memoirs of her time in Kenya. The non linear vignettes of life on her farm capture a time and place that she knew, even at the tim
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Steve
HEADLINE: The film of the same name bears no relation to the book in any truly important respect.



The biggest piece of baggage many of us bring to this book is the film of the same title, admittedly a visually stunning one. However, consider as you read the book what Brenda Cooper of Utah State University points out in her thesis, a point that I happen to agree with adamantly based upon my own reading of this book:
Recent research indicates that questionable choices are made in order to fit women’
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James
Out of Africa is Karen Blixen's memoir about her years in Africa, writing as Isak Dinesen. She recounts the world of Africa, specifically Kenya. It is, like the England of her friend Denys Finch-Hatton, "a world that no longer existed" even then and certainly as she left it. The memoir is a slow read, yet a book with prose in which you can luxuriate, or languish perhaps as it seems to mirror the mammoth African landscape. Reading like a pastoral novel, the narrator interested me with her myriad ...more
Violet wells
"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”

Beautiful.
Darren
pretty good book. a lot of stuff in it that I liked.
Anita
Dec 30, 2014 Anita rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who do Colonial/Post-Colonial studies
This was very uncomfortable to read. Mainly because the author has a paternalistic view on her tenants that feels very dated. This book was written in the 1930s, so of course they had a completely different view on colonial relationships. If you intend to read a good account of the relationships between colonizers and colonized, however, this might be an interesting thing to read. It shows how rich white people dealt with Africans and how they saw their role in the Empire. And (at least for me), ...more
Beth
Out of Africa is less a single story than a series of vignettes arranged thematically to form the whole. It is like a collage of beautiful images of life on Karen Blixen's coffee plantation. Clearly Blixen loved this land, its people, and its wildlife. She embraced the opportunities that her life there presented. She attended the tribal ceremonial dances. She brokered resolutions of of conflicts among her workers, using accepted tribal methods, but also with a written and signed contract. She hu ...more
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8147
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
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More about Karen Blixen...
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“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” 183 likes
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