Out of Africa - Karen Blixen

Penguin Modern Classics

15-08-2014 by redazione

Karen Dinesen Blixen lived in Kenya from 1914 to 1931.
She came there from the icy Denmark with her husband, baron Von Blixen, to buy a plot on the hills Ngong, near Nairobi, and build then a farm. 
Rather being a farmer, the baron was actually more interested in the big game hunting and the young masai women.
It was his fault that Karen was infected by syphilis and had to come back to Denmark to follow treatments. 
At that moment, she realized she was a writer and learned what is mal d'Afrique.
The coming back to Kenya coincided with the purchasing of a coffee plantation and the meeting with the english adventurer Denys Finch Hutton, with whom she fell in love.
Meanwhile, she divorced from the baron and, a few time later, she had an abortion, a baby she was waiting from Finch Hutton who would have died in an air accident some years later.
"Out of Africa" is the romanticized self-biography of the period Karen Blixen spent in Africa. The main characters are, beyond herself, Kamante the cooker, an orphan Karen Blixen took care of and grew up, Lulu the gazelle, Finch Hutton the adventurer, and some danish and swedish mzungu acting within the orbit of the coffee plantation owned by the Blixens.
But the real protagonist of the novel is Africa. Its uncontaminated landscapes, its people, from the helpful and wise kikuyu to the bold masai hating progress and civilization brought in by the white people and the fearful somali warriors. Narrating accidents, daily work, meetings and safari, Karen Blixen's tales reveal a great love for her adoption land which is best expressed in the final pages of the novel, when she has to say goodbye to «her» Kenya, due to economical difficulties (the coffee trade crash caused by the big crisis in 1929).
As in the novel, Karen Blixen will never come back to Africa and will write her memories in a small danish village. However, it is exactly from there that her large success as a writer will start.
For those who love Kenya and, in general, suffer from mal d'Afrique, some passages and descriptions Blixen wrote in this book are absolutely a must.

TAGS: Libri KenyaLa mia AfricaKamanteOut of Africa


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