Book Review

Out of Africa
In “Out of Africa”, Karen Blixen uses her pen name Isak Dinesen to write a memoir about her years as a farm owner in the foot of Ngong Hills outside Nairobi, in what is now Kenya, East Africa. However, what is interesting about her story is that she seems less interested in facts, figures, dates, history, and politics, but instead focuses on her relationship with Africa itself and the native Africans. It’s an account of the years she spends in Africa. Her writing is direct and sincere as she writes about the challenges, joys, and disappointments she faces in her life there. The authenticity of the story lies in the fact that she had left her comfortable Danish home to become a pioneer farmer in a land that is entirely foreign to her with the added challenge of being a woman in what was a male-dominated colonial settlement in East Africa. I was mesmerised by her portrayal of Africa as a pastoral landscape and how she uses setting details to capture the sights, sounds and smells of Africa. She drew me into understanding Africa, even though I’ve lived most of my life there, by using the natural landscape as the centre of the story.