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Out of Africa

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  21,758 Ratings  ·  1,231 Reviews
Out of Africa is Isak Dinesen's memoir of her years in Africa, from 1914 to 1931, on a four-thousand-acre coffee plantation in the hills near Nairobi. She had come to Kenya from Denmark with her husband, and when they separated she stayed on to manage the farm by herself, visited frequently by her lover, the big-game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton, for whom she would make up st ...more
Hardcover, 399 pages
Published September 5th 1992 by Modern Library (first published 1937)
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Agnes Benita I read the first few pages and the impression I got is that Blixen loved Africa and hated the Africans themselves...she exploited them a great deal,…moreI read the first few pages and the impression I got is that Blixen loved Africa and hated the Africans themselves...she exploited them a great deal, for her own self gain.In any case, she loved the animals, the bushes and the like.I didn't like the way she regarded them in the third person all the time...I enjoyed the book anyway.(less)

Community Reviews

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Duane
"I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills".

After finishing the book I turned back to read this opening line again, and in this first sentence one can sense the pride that Blixen felt for this place, and one can also feel the sadness, the disappointment in the word "had", knowing that it slipped away from her at the end. Losing her farm and also losing her beloved Denys Finch Hatton must have been devastating.

This is one of those memoirs that is as compelling as good fiction. Blixen
...more
Lizzy
“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.”
From its first sentence Out of Africa captivated me. It was enchanting, old-fashioned, poignant, wistful and insightful. Karen Blixen’s story of her life in Africa, a series of reminiscences from 1914 to 1931, portrays her love for that country – the people, the land, the animals. It has a fairy tale quality at times. Blixen is a master story-teller; it’s easy to understand why Denys Finch Hatton loved to hear her recount her stories.

T
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Andrea
Jan 07, 2014 Andrea rated it it was ok
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
Dianne
Aug 16, 2015 Dianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015
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.
Forrest
Oct 30, 2012 Forrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Connie
After seeing the movie "Out of Africa" for the second time recently, I wondered if I would enjoy the book as well. Not to worry, the book is even better since the author was a keen observer and an accomplished storyteller.

Isak Dinesen is the pen name for the Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke who came from Denmark to British East Africa (Kenya) with her husband in 1914. Although they soon separated, Dinesen stayed to run a large coffee plantation near Nairobi. She tells stories about the customs
...more
Tinea
Jan 05, 2014 Tinea rated it did not like it
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
...more
Lisa
Nov 05, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I once had a crush on Karen Blixen, at the shores of Rungstedlund.


Travelling my life like Odysseus the mythical Mediterranean seas, I found myself in front of a majestic house on a strip of Danish coastline, some ten years ago, and in the company of my lively bunch of toddlers, aged approximately 4, 2.5 and 0.5 years. While I walked reverently in the footsteps of Karen Blixen, studiously scrutinising every single letter and photograph on display in the exhibition, my family ran wild outside, enj
...more
Camie
Jun 02, 2016 Camie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Out of Africa is a modern classic memoir of Isak Dinesen's ( Karen Blixen) years in Kenya.(1914-1931) Arriving from Denmark with her husband to run a 4,000 acre Coffee Plantation, after their separation she stays on to manage the farm alone. There is some beautiful writing here about the scenery, wildlife, and the natives. Her native servants and farm workers appear fond of her and most all of the stories are about the Kikuyu and Masai Tribes who live around her. I already knew many of the facts ...more
orsodimondo
Jun 14, 2016 orsodimondo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
INCANTO E CAPRICCI DEL DESTINO
La prima volta che l’ho letto è stato nell’età in cui si ha bisogno di nemici, in cui l’odio sembra nobile e tonificante, in cui uccidere i genitori, soprattutto il padre, e la sua dannata autorità, è gesto vitale pur se meramente simbolico.
Karen Blixen incarnò per me il paternalismo del colonialista, e il colonialista era un nemico.
E allora non conoscevo l’Africa e non ne ero ancora innamorato.

Poi, leggendo Capote mi sono imbattuto in questa frase:
Non c’è una sola
...more
S©aP
Sep 26, 2016 S©aP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ho dovuto aspettare trent'anni, affinché arrivasse il momento giusto. Quando il libro mi fu regalato non avevo vissuto abbastanza. Il film mi era molto piaciuto, sì, ma non conoscevo ancora il sapore forte di un grosso fallimento, o quello sopraffino di un bel ricordo. Né distinguevo il piacere soave della consapevolezza, che misura sé stessa con la vita. Non potevo apprezzare, quindi, il passo lento, meditato, con cui la buona scrittura induce a disciogliere i pensieri più fondi.
Il libro, come
...more
Ken-ichi
Feb 06, 2013 Ken-ichi rated it liked it
Recommended to Ken-ichi by: Elizabeth
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
...more
Elizabeth
Mar 13, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Afshar
Oct 15, 2015 Afshar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
فهمیدن این کتاب برایم سخت بود و امیدوارم روزی بتوانم کامل بخوانش


فیلمش رو دو یا سه بار دیدم
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 قرار میگیرند یا نه؟

کتابهایی که براس
...more
Denis
Dec 02, 2008 Denis rated it it was amazing
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
Lenoir
Dec 10, 2013 Lenoir rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, 2009, africa, 1001
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 ...more
Laysee
Sep 12, 2016 Laysee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books
One of the best things about Goodreads is being led quite naturally to the next book to read. I felt drawn to re-visit “Out of Africa” when a couple of Goodreads friends recently reviewed it with such fervor and beauty.

So I found myself rapturously back at the foot of the Ngong hills, 16 km southwest of Nairobi. Published in 1937, “Out of Africa” is a memoir by Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (who wrote under the pen name, Isak Dinesen) that recounted 17 years of the life she sha
...more
Kavita
Karen Blixen wrote this book under the male pseudonym of Isak Dinesen. Despite having travelled to another continent and managed a farm all on her own, she was obviously not to be trusted to write about her own experiences under the name of a woman!

I enjoyed this book, though the focus of it is rather narrow. It accurately describes Karen's own life and her experiences in Kenya, though she seems quite oblivious of the larger political scenario around her. The writing is lovely, and takes you ri
...more
 Lisa Ann ⛄
I am not quite certain how to rate or review this memoir, since I had such high hopes that I would be drawn to Isak Dinesen's (Karen Blixen's) personal stories. Instead, I found myself struggling through much of the book but continued on reading it for an upcoming book discussion.

With the exception of a few chapters, much of the book read like a diary or written caricatures of individuals who either worked on or visited Blixen's Ngong farm. The two chapters primarily discussing Denys Finch-Hatt
...more
Caro M.
I'm not sure why I had rather high expectations towards this book, but I did. At the same time I was putting this book away many times expecting it to be somewhat of slow paced and at that moment I usually wanted to read something more "entertaining".

And it was somewhat slow paced in fact, yet it was also entertaining enough to keep me turning pages till I finished it. Although maybe "entertainment" is not exactly the word describing this story well. The process of reading it reminded me of look
...more
Astrid
Dec 16, 2009 Astrid rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Sarah Anne
This book is a series of stories about the author's life while living in Kenya. I was interested by her observations of the local wildlife and the local Natives, with each having aspects of their personalities that were influenced by their tribe. For the most part, though, I actually felt bored. It took me an entire week to finish this 330 page book.

I was not really surprised to see the typical European Colonial Arrogance (it was a very serious medical condition) but that didn't make it any eas
...more
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 ...more
Efka
Jan 03, 2016 Efka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Nuobodybė. Niekaip neįsivaizduoju, ką Hemingvėjus turėjo rūkyt, kai pareiškė, kad už šitą knygą autorei reiktų duot Nobelio premiją. Čia realiai net ne romanas - čia peizažų bei čiabuvių aprašymų rinkinys. Ir dabartiniais Google eros laikais man tai visai neįdomu. Taip, parašyta kokybiškai, bet kas iš to, kai tema tiesiog neįdomi. Meh.
Otis Chandler
Mar 22, 2010 Otis Chandler rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa, memoir
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
...more
K
May 25, 2015 K rated it liked it
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
...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
...more
Rosa Ramôa
Jul 01, 2014 Rosa Ramôa rated it really liked it
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
...more
Rowland Bismark
Jun 14, 2010 Rowland Bismark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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7215049
Pseudonym used by the Danish author Karen Blixen.

Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Danish: [kʰɑːɑn ˈbleɡsn]; 17 April 1885 – 7 September 1962), née Karen Christenze Dinesen, was a Danish author, also known by the pen name Isak Dinesen, who wrote works in Danish, French and English. She also at times used the pen names Tania Blixen, Osceola, and Pierre Andrézel.
Blixen is best known for Out of Afri
...more
More about Isak Dinesen...

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“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” 212 likes
“Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.” 120 likes
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