Comments: 18
BrokenTune 5 years ago
Good call.
BrokenTune 5 years ago
Yeah, I'll finish this to see if there is anything, well, not redeeming exactly, but worthwhile in it, but so far the only good parts are her descriptions of nature.
Spare Ammo 5 years ago
She is in love with the sound of her own voice. And her written voice is trite and wordy and pretentious. I'm not sure I lasted through two chapters and I really wanted to read this.

Life is too short for the rhapsody of the commonplace mind. Or something like that.
BrokenTune 5 years ago
Thank you for confirming my impressions!!! I'm 120 pages in and some parts are interesting but, yes, she has her head firmly stuck up her own backside.
Lillelara 5 years ago
Now I wish that I still would be going to school. I would totally tell one of my Danish teachers that Karen Blixen has her head stuck up her own backside. I would love to see her/his face :D.
BrokenTune 5 years ago
Skype them!
Lillelara 5 years ago
They are all terrible old. I don´t think that they know how to use Skype. But I like the idea you are having there. A little anarchy now and then is a good thing ;).
BrokenTune 5 years ago
Can you save it up for a class reunion?

I take it your teachers were fond of Dinesen, then?
Lillelara 5 years ago
Class reunion could be a possibilty, I have to keep that in mind.
There are not a lot famous Danish authors out there so every single one of them is sacred and it was frowned upon anyone saying anything negative about them (yeah, my Danish teachers were narrow minded).
The only Danish author, I really liked, has been Bjarne Reuter, he wrote some great stuff. And the worst author has been Cecil Bødker (the award for the most boring book I have ever read goes to one of hers). I think we read something by Karen Blixen but I can´t remember for the life of me which book or story it was. Apparently it didn´t leave a lasting impression.
BrokenTune 5 years ago
Well, I'm ashamed to say I have heard of neither of the Danish authors you mention. (Now I feel I should look them up.) I understand what you mean about the sanctity of homegrown authors, tho. Apparently, some people get upset if you dare to have an opinion about them - even more so if they're Nobel laureates.......I went through that in high school, too, except my teachers finally came to terms with my dislikes for Mann and Grass.
Lillelara 5 years ago
Yeah, I don´t know what teachers sometimes are thinking. Shouldn´t they encourage their studens to have a mind of their own? But then, discussing a topic with your student ... that is work, isn´t it?
I read young adult books by both authors. "The boys from St. Petri" by Bjarne Reuter, a story about a group of boys who form a resistance against the WWII-Germans in Denmark. And by Cecil Bødker "Ægget der voksede", a book which prominently features potatoes and how these came to Denmark (I´m getting the shivers just thinking about this book).
And I know which story I read by Karen Blixen. I have read "Babettes feast" and I really liked that one. There is a great movie adaption of this story as well.
5 years ago
On the other hand, Dinesen is a product of her time and her attitudes--right, wrong or otherwise--are our history. We should not ignore and we should not forget that not too many years in our past this IS how people thought and behaved and that it was the norm, not the exception. We can't change the past nor should we want to re-write it. If nothing else, we read Dinesen to remind ourselves just how much we have changed in our attitudes over the past 80 years --and at the same time, how little some things have changed.
BrokenTune 5 years ago
You know, I get that she lived in a different time with different attitudes. I truly do understand it. However, it is grating that by 1937 she still compares the "Natives" to animals (and is more sympathetic to the animals), that she refers to the Bible (a lot) but is bemused when one of her servants points out that there is a discrepancy between what she preaches and what she does, that she seems to be under the illusion that she is capable of and justified to do absolutely everything by virtue of being a non-"Native" even at the cost of other people's lives. Granted that this is more explicit in the chapters that follow but I cannot see this being justified by her being a product of her time. Especially when there are other accounts of life in very similar circumstances which are a lot more thoughtful.
I had no idea this book was like that. I've often wanted to read it. I recently enjoyed reading Paula McLain's "Circling the Sun" and that revived my interest in "Out of Africa". Loved the movie. Guess this is one time that the movie was better than the book. Thanks for the great review.
BrokenTune 5 years ago
When I wrote this update, I was only about 20 pages into the book. Needless to say the start was not impressive at all. She keeps up with similar comments throughout the book, but in a contradictory turn, she also describes individual people on her farm with a lot of warmth. The descriptions of wildlife are beautiful.
What this is not, however, is a story about her and Denys. So, the film has very little to do with the book. I guess the film must be based on biographies about her rather than this book. I'm about 33% into the book now and Denys has been mentioned twice. This is fine with me as I'm not particularly interested in their relationship, but I guess it would be disappointing if that is what you were looking for.