Chicks On Lit discussion

Out of Africa
This topic is about Out of Africa
42 views
Archive 08-19 GR Discussions > "Out of Africa", our September 2015 Group Read

Comments Showing 1-50 of 119 (119 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Starting this thread for our September 2015 discussion of Out of Africa by Karen Blixen.

Amy will be our discussion leader.


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments Here's our reading schedule for those of you who want to get started

The book is divided into 5 parts.

Part I: Kamante and Lulu Sept 6
Part II: Shooting Accident on the Farm Sept 9
Part III: Visitors to the Farm Sept 14
Part IV: From and Immigrant's Notebook Sept 21
Part V: Farewell to the Farm Sept 28


Discussion on the session will begin on the date posted. Second-hand bookstores often have inexpensive copies if you'd like to save some money (or you could try Abebooks online).

Hope you can join us!


message 3: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I am very much looking forward to reading this! Who else is joining us?


Jennifer W | 2175 comments I'm already into part 2! So far I'm liking it, but it doesn't feel like a cohesive story yet, more like a series of vignettes.


message 5: by Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (last edited Aug 22, 2015 12:38PM) (new)

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I'm joining in! Haven't had a chance to start the book yet. I'm finishing up some other things first.

What may be helpful to some is that the book is more like a diary vs the movie. (I remember that from looking things up after first seeing the entire movie, beginning to end, a few years ago, and falling completely in love with it! I had only seen bits and pieces of the movie before).


Jennifer | 229 comments I've started and hope to finish part 1 today. I agree Jo, it is much like just stumbling upon someone's diary and jumping right in.


Jennifer W | 2175 comments Thanks for that point, Jo, that does make more sense.


message 9: by Amanda (last edited Aug 25, 2015 02:45AM) (new) - added it

Amanda | 11 comments Hi there! I've been getting your updates since I joined a hundred years ago and I have always intended to read along with you all but never have. I am happy to report that I will be joining you in reading Out of Africa- I have always wanted to read it- YAY!


message 10: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments Sweet pea wrote: "Hi there! I've been getting your updates since I joined a hundred years ago and I have always intended to read along with you all but never have. I am happy to report that I will be joining you i..."

That's great! Looking forward to this read :)


Irene | 3938 comments I will get the book and join the conversation.


message 12: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments Irene wrote: "I will get the book and join the conversation."

Wonderful! This should be a great discussion.


Rebecca I have my book and will be reading this with the group.


message 14: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments Rebecca wrote: "I have my book and will be reading this with the group."

Glad to have you with us on this read :)


message 15: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments I got my book.


Patricia Just got this from the library & will be joining the discussion.


message 17: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Has everyone started reading? Looks like our discussion on the first section will start tomorrow. :-)


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) How is it nearly 9/6 already?! Lol


Rebecca I have started my reading. I don't think I am far enough into it yet to say anything yet about it.


message 20: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments I started reading. It is fabulous.


message 21: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments For those who are interested, here's a biography of Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen):

http://brbl-archive.library.yale.edu/...


message 22: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments Thank you


message 23: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments Finished. It was a fast, emotional and interesting read. Loved it.


message 24: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments She started the book with a description of her farm. Why do you suppose she chose to open it by telling us about the landscape?


message 25: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments I think she wants us to experience the beauty of Africa through her eyes.


message 26: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments I watched the movie after the I read the book.


message 27: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments I love the way she uses words to draw the picture of the land scape.


message 28: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "She started the book with a description of her farm. Why do you suppose she chose to open it by telling us about the landscape?"

I think she is trying to set the scene, set us up for the events that she is going to tell us about later, but for us to see the events as she lived them we need to see where she was at, to feel her farm and Africa.


Rebecca I love the movie. By describing the land it can tell us a lot about the people and culture in that region. I also think that she wants us to have a feeling for Africa and the people as she did while she was there.


Daniale Lynch | 148 comments I absolutely love the way the book starts. I was immediately brought into the tale of her life in Africa, and immersed in the romanticism surrounding her experiences. She has a relationship with the land and people that is beautiful.

I will admit thou though that there are points where I would like less description and more plot, but it is definitely growing on me!


Jennifer W | 2175 comments I agree, she was setting the scene. Especially because her contemporaries may not have much experience with what African scenery is like. We've all seen documentaries of lions hunting and giraffes eating from trees, but it's possible 1930s Europeans didn't have those images to draw from.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I think she began her book with a description of the farm because of her deep love for Africa and the landscape, which was likely part of her reason for writing the book.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) I think she began her book with a description of the farm because of her deep love for Africa and the landscape, which was likely part of her reason for writing the book.


message 34: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments The opening description struck me not just because it was beautifully written, but also because I think that if she were sending the manuscript to a publisher today, I think they would have rejected it. The current trend is to start a book with an action sequence, a mystery, or something fast-paced.

The stories sometimes follow the order in which they happened, but often the time sequence appears arbitrary. How do you feel about the lack of chronological organization of the book so far?

For those of you who saw the movie, how did you like the way the stories were organized as compared to the book?


message 35: by Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (last edited Sep 07, 2015 08:17AM) (new)

Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) Even contemporary books don't always flow from A to B to C and so on, so I don't find that any different with this book, and depending on the writing, I don't mind that, although I can't imagine comparing the attempt of having it published at the time it was written/published in 1937 with that of today! Such completely different eras in publishing as well as in the world overall. But I don't need all of the action up front, as it were, and don't tend to read books that start out that way. I prefer transportive (descriptive) books that unfold as they pull me through the story. I appreciate and need a sense of place in a book too, nonfiction or fiction, for it to help me as well.

The movie is a beautiful adaptation of the book. It also turns a memoir into a plot driven story, which flows from beginning to middle and end, but cuts out a lot of the "extras" from the book, so the movie may work better for some than the book. I like them both!

I just wonder if she had been alive to see the movie, what her thoughts on it would have been vs her own experiences and the book she wrote? Did the movie turn out to be her vision or that of the directors? (rhetorical Qs lol)


message 36: by Sheila , Supporting Chick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sheila  | 3485 comments Mod
I'm going to go watch the movie again after I have finished this. I saw it years ago, but I remember the movie being a more linear story of her life, which is very different from this book. It will be interesting to compare the two though when I am done.

I don't mind the lack of chronological organization in the book. It flows well for me.


message 37: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments I like how the story flows into events she experienced. It's like she learned the art of oral Storytelling from the natives.


Bloomin’Chick (Jo) aka The Eclectic Spoonie (bloominchick) IreneDel wrote: "I like how the story flows into events she experienced. It's like she learned the art of oral Storytelling from the natives."

That's a wonderful point! I hadn't thought of it like that.


message 39: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments IreneDel wrote: "I like how the story flows into events she experienced. It's like she learned the art of oral Storytelling from the natives."

I thought the opening and the flow reflects the culture she experienced while living there. She talks about the natives' sense of time in one passage and how different it is from the European concept.


Irene | 3938 comments I read the first section yesterday. I loved it from the start. This is a book I could easily get totally lost in. The writing put me inside her world.

I thought the opening description of the farm created atmosphere. It was slow and gentle, evocative of time and place. Although she makes it clear that a coffee plantation means hard work and great risk, there is not the sense of hectic rush, of distasteful labor that much modern work is characterized by. Plus, most likely it was the landscape that first drew her to fall in love with Kenya. Like her, we get to know and care about the people after a time of being with her on the land.

Reading this 80 years after the events, several generations after her day, I am struck by the paternalism inherant in her attitudes toward the native population. She treats them like children. Her European culture is the more civilized. The part with her insisting on the correct course for serving food was striking. Of course, in her time, she would have been regarded as rather libral in her attitudes.


Patricia I just finished the first section yesterday and am also enjoying the descriptive writing. I particularly enjoyed the story about Kamante and the way he felt the author was wasting her time, thinking she could put together a book on her own. Stories like that remind me of the things I can so easily take for granted.


message 42: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments I find her sentence structure very interesting.


message 43: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments IreneDel wrote: "I find her sentence structure very interesting."

I think she has a very lyrical style of writing. The nostalgia comes through in her descriptions. Could you tell us more about what interests you about her sentence structure?


message 44: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments He told me that his difficulty with the Native patients had never been any lack of courage in them,—in the face of pain or of a great operation they generally showed little fear,—but it was their deep dislike of regularity, of any repeated treatment or the systematization of the whole; and this the great German doctor could not understand.


message 45: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments She uses a lot of compound complex sentences with prepositional and verbal phrases. See the example above.


message 46: by Irene Del (last edited Sep 08, 2015 08:59PM) (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments Do you think she agrees will colonizing Africa?


message 47: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments Remember that this book was written after Karen had already left Africa and returned to Denmark, so most of it is based on her memory. I think she sees the impact that colonization had on the country, but she may be romanticizing some of the events.

The stories about Lulu show how Karen's presence had an impact. Lulu (the antelope) was domesticated by Karen's household staff, but eventually returned to the wild. Do you think this story was symbolic of the efforts to colonize Africa?


message 48: by Irene Del (new) - added it

Irene Del (irene918) | 1016 comments Lulu learn to exist with humans but once her baby was born she stayed in the forest. One should not impose a way of life on another group of people. Is that what you see as the metaphor?


message 49: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments There are a lot of ways to interpret the story. Some people view it as a metaphor as you described. Others view it as the colonization providing a experiment that could not be sustained because the strength of the prevailing culture of the land.


message 50: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 240 comments While reading these stories in the first two chapters,did anyone noticed the way that the system of justice was set up and how Karen interacted with it?


« previous 1 3
back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Out of Africa (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Karen Blixen (other topics)