Out of Africa: and Shadows on the Grass 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 stories “like Scheherazade.” In Africa, “I learned how to tell tales,” she recalled many years later. “The natives have an ear still. I told stories constantly to them, all kinds.” Her account of her African adventures, written after she had lost her beloved farm and returned to Denmark, is that of a master storyteller, a woman whom John Updike called “one of the most picturesque and flamboyant literary personalities of the century.
I found Isak Dinesen’s memoir of her years in Africa interesting reading. Her stories depict the various characters that she encountered during these years, juxtaposed with insights into the culture and traditions of the people. And whilst Europe and the rest of the world was in a churn during the period between the two world wars, time appears to have stood still in the world of the author.
We’re taking part in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.