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Elspeth Huxley (1907–1997)

Autor(a) de The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood

48+ Works 2,678 Membros 61 Reviews 5 Favorited

About the Author


Obras de Elspeth Huxley

The Mottled Lizard (1962) 302 cópias, 10 resenhas
Out in the Midday Sun: My Kenya (1985) 159 cópias, 5 resenhas
Murder on Safari (1938) — Autor — 146 cópias, 4 resenhas
The African Poison Murders (1939) 129 cópias, 4 resenhas
Murder at Government House (1987) 118 cópias, 4 resenhas
Red strangers (1939) 112 cópias, 1 resenha
Scott of the Antarctic (1977) 79 cópias, 3 resenhas
Four Guineas (1954) 75 cópias, 2 resenhas
Nine Faces of Kenya (1990) — Editor — 55 cópias
Love Among the Daughters (1968) 29 cópias, 1 resenha
Last Days in Eden (1984) 29 cópias, 1 resenha
Livingstone and his African journeys (1974) 28 cópias, 1 resenha
The Flame Trees of Thika [1981 TV miniseries] (1981) — Screenwriter — 27 cópias
Florence Nightingale (1975) 24 cópias
The Merry Hippo (1963) 21 cópias
Gallipot Eyes: A Wiltshire Diary (1976) 19 cópias, 1 resenha
The Prince Buys the Manor (1982) 18 cópias, 1 resenha
Pioneers' scrapbook : reminiscences of Kenya, 1890 to 1968 (1980) — Editor — 14 cópias, 2 resenhas
The Walled City (1948) 12 cópias
East Africa (1942) 11 cópias, 1 resenha
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1948) 10 cópias
Christmas Book at Bedtime (2000) 9 cópias
A Man From Nowhere (1964) 8 cópias
The Red Rock Wilderness (1969) 8 cópias
A Thing to Love (1954) 5 cópias, 1 resenha
THEY MADE IT THEIR HOME (1962) — Introdução — 5 cópias
Suki: A little tiger (1964) 4 cópias
Race and Politics in Kenya (1975) 2 cópias
I Don't Mind If I Do (1950) 1 exemplar(es)
The Kingsleys: A Biographical Anthology (1973) — Editor — 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works

Out of Africa (1937) — Introdução, algumas edições5,270 cópias, 101 resenhas
Travels in West Africa (1897) — Editor, algumas edições529 cópias, 5 resenhas
On the Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures (1989) — Contribuinte — 114 cópias, 1 resenha
Adventure Stories (1988) — Contribuinte — 82 cópias, 1 resenha
Travels in West Africa {abridged} (1904) — Editor — 54 cópias, 1 resenha
Nellie: Letters from Africa (1980) — Contribuinte — 32 cópias, 1 resenha
The Searching Spirit (1978) — Prefácio — 23 cópias, 1 resenha
Animal Stories: Tame and Wild (1979) — Contribuinte — 23 cópias
The Last of the Maasai (1987) — Prefácio — 19 cópias, 1 resenha
Kenya Diary (1902-1906) (1983) — preface, algumas edições14 cópias
Africa: A Foreign Affairs Reader (1964) — Contribuinte — 7 cópias
Princes of Zinj: The Rulers of Zanzibar (1957) — Prefácio — 6 cópias, 4 resenhas
Run Rhino Run (1982) — Introdução — 6 cópias
The Carrier Corps: Military Labor in the East African Campaign, 1914–1918 (1986) — Introdução — 5 cópias, 1 resenha
Memories of Kenya: Stories of the Pioneers (1986) — Introdução — 4 cópias
The new nations of West Africa (2012) — Contribuinte — 2 cópias
Did It Happen? (1956) — Contribuinte — 1 exemplar(es)


Conhecimento Comum

Nome de batismo
Huxley, Elspeth Joscelin
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
London, England, UK
Local de falecimento
Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Locais de residência
Thika, Kenya
Wiltshire, England, UK
University of Reading
Cornell University
government service
environmentalist (mostrar todas 8)
Huxley, Gervas (husband)
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1962)
Pequena biografia
The New York Times said in her obituary that Elspeth Huxley (née Grant) was a witty and energetic journalist and author of more than 30 books, including memoirs, biographies, crime stories and novels, many inspired by her childhood in colonial Kenya. Although her eclectic literary output reflected an extraordinary range of interests, Mrs. Huxley was perhaps best known for a 1959 work of autobiographical fiction, ''The Flame Trees of Thika,'' which was based on her early life among white settlers on her father's coffee plantation. Although some Kenyans denounced it as an apologia for colonial rule, the book was widely praised for its rich sense of humor, its affectionate personal portraits and its gentle evocation of life in a singular place.



This memoir is the sequel to the Flame Trees of Thika. The story picks up after the author's return to Africa from England after the First World War and continues until she leaves for college. I think I was most struck by the extent of the author's preserved detailed memories of the colonial Kenya of her childhood. I thought the strength of the story was its characters, human and animal. Nostalgia for colonial Africa certainly has its problems for the modern reader, but the author was thoughtful and occasionally addresses the problems of the settler's relationship with native peoples and with the hunting of native wildlife that is now approaching extinction.… (mais)
markm2315 | outras 9 resenhas | Jul 1, 2023 |
Third in the author’s memoirs, following The Flame Trees of Thika and The Mottled Lizard. I am sorry to report that I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much, it didn’t quite feel like a memoir to me and lacked the personal touch. It’s set between WWI and WWII, when the author returned to Kenya yet again, now as an adult. She went back in order to do research, to write about the country’s growth, the lives of ex-pats and pioneers that led rugged lives trying to make a living on wild land, and the upheavals and conflicts that occurred as colonialism neared its end. Most of the book feels like a history, with small anecdotal stories and glimpses into the personalities of some notable people in the community, and ranchers near where she had lived. Some of this was very interesting, other parts that got more into politics or how government mismanaged things, not so much (for me). In the first part of the book I was skimming a lot and wondering if I’d finish it. Later it held my interest more, even though some parts felt repetitive from the previous two books- here again is the story of the bank built around a safe that couldn’t be moved, of her first actual hunting safari, of the affair between her neighbors. It was intriguing to read her account of several other people I’ve encountered in books- she writes about Beryl Markham and Karen Blixen (aka Isak Denisen), but in the latter case, either it’s been so long since I read Out of Africa, or this account was from such an entirely different perspective, I didn’t recognize anything about it at all. Some parts I particularly liked: reading about how the native Dorobo people tended wild honeybee hives. The few parts where she actually describes her travels to different parts of the country to visit those she hoped would share their stories, journals, letters and records, or just sit for an interview. Brief accounts of incidents among nature, including some hunts (when she was still avid about that). Some bits of tribal stories and legends. It did spark my interest to read a few more of her books, that she mentioned in here. I am not sure yet if I will enjoy reading this one again, I have a feeling it’s one of those that will be better a second time around, when I’m in a different mindset.

One thing I found odd, and failed to mention about the previous two books although it was a constant feature there. She refers to her parents and her husband by their first names, and never once introduces who they are. The first time they’re mentioned on the page, it’s just something like 'Gervas met me at the station' but the reader is never told what their relationship is. This really threw me off in the first book, written from her childhood perspective and constantly calling her mother Nellie, it took me along while to realize this was her parent! Here the same, she leaps right into telling what’s happening sometimes without alerting the reader to who all the people are, or framing the incident or place in any way, so I was left mentally floundering a few times. Perhaps I just wasn’t paying enough attention? but I don’t think so. One of those writers who just seems to assume you know all the broader details around their circumstances already. I don’t need all the things spelled out for me, but this seemed a bit lacking in that regard.
… (mais)
jeane | outras 4 resenhas | May 14, 2023 |
Memoir that continues the story started in The Flame Trees of Thika. After the war, the author’s family did return to their farm in Kenya. It continues much the same- with the difficulties of raising crops- one attempt after another that failed to make the profit they hoped for (maize, almonds, coffee and so on- one neighbor was growing geraniums to distill essential oils) and the struggles to keep peace among their employees from different, warring tribes. The descriptions of the landscape, plants and wildlife are just beautiful, and the details about the various tribal cultures very interesting. Unlike the prior book where the author often seemed a nonentity in the background eavesdropping on adult conversations (and not really comprehending them), in this book she’s very much a personality and involved in all kinds of events on and around the farm. Efforts to make new enterprises work. Observing disputes among the natives (and how her family handles them). Raising orphaned wildlife- a civet cat, a cheetah cub. Going on hunts and near the end of the book, a longer proper safari after lion. Her unspoken but very evident crush on a young man from a neighbor’s farm. Her early attempts at writing seriously, publishing stories about their hunts and local polo matches in a magazine (which the family doesn’t take any interest in). Her attempts to learn and perform magic tricks, from correspondence kits. There are some very lively descriptions of people, really colorful characters among her parents’ acquaintances. There’s a few chapters describing a visit from her mother’s cousin, an educated wealthy man, very kind and talks so poetically, but also something of a hypochondriac! which made him a difficult guest in their rough accomadations. The beauty of the land and freedom of the wide open space seems to make up for all the hardships and suffering they see around them- the awfulness of diseases for which there is little treatment available, livestock stricken by drought, insects and fire destroying things. Lots of incidents that end badly- and a few that come out surprisingly well. In the end, the book closes very similar manner to the first- the author now eighteen, has to leave for schooling in Europe, but vows she’ll return once again.

I appreciated seeing how her outlook on the use of the land and its wildlife gradually changed. When she was younger she admired the hunters and their trophies, and was eager to participate. But near the end she’s starting to see how uncontrolled hunting has changed the behavior of game animals- and in some areas depleted their numbers entirely. She thrills to see the animals in their native habitat, and doesn’t see the value in killing them just to display horns on a wall or show off a skin. People around her don’t understand her sentiment of preferring to see the land unspoiled as opposed to developed and civilized. She even noted how things the Europeans introduced had changed the native peoples. Insightful.
… (mais)
jeane | outras 9 resenhas | Feb 28, 2023 |
Based on the author’s childhood in Kenya just before WWI, where her father was attempting to start a coffee plantation. Literally out in the middle of the bush- nobody else for miles around, a long rough journey by oxcart to reach the place. The story is about how they lived rough at first, then built a house and put in the coffee seedlings. Their difficulties in getting labor to help- most of the people from tribes nearby didn’t understand what they were trying to do, couldn’t comprehend the instructions (language barrier), had varying priorities and expectations about getting paid for their work (cultural differences), etc. Theft and intertribal conflicts were a constant problem. Differences between the Kikuyu and Masai, and a few other tribes they encountered. Eventually some other Europeans came out to develop land on other plots nearby, so they had neighbors of sorts.

The landscape is described beautifully and the encounters with wildlife are interesting. The attitudes not so much- there were frequent remarks about how the natives had not improved themselves or their land in thousands of years, and praising the Europeans for turning the country into something productive. Sad to read about how the tribesmen would bring their injured and sick in once they heard one of the neighbors was a nurse- but the ailments were often beyond her skill level or limited supplies. Most intriguing and also what makes this book a bit difficult, is that it’s written from the child’s viewpoint- you have to wonder how much is embellished as I can’t believe she recalled all those conversations so precisely. But then there is so much you have to gather by reading between the lines, from the half-understood comments the little girl heard from the sidelines.. Notably the love affair between two of the neighboring adults- one whose husband was usually absent, away on hunting trips.

And I also was also left wondering what was behind the boomklops– was it really a bird the man wanted to show her, or something sinister?
… (mais)
jeane | outras 15 resenhas | Feb 22, 2023 |



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