Made super-famous by the Sydney Pollack’s movie of the same name featuring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, “Out of Africa” contains Karen Blixen’s memories about her stay in Africa and has inspired millions of people around the globe.
Blixen moved to British East Africa (current Kenya) with her husband just before the beginning of WWI and remained there until the early thirties. She owned a coffee plantation where, for almost two decades, she lived and worked surrounded by various groups of locals, belonging to a multitude of ethnic groups, speaking different languages and adhering to several faiths.
Blixen belonged to one of those aristocratic families that over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth century assisted the European authorities running their African colonies, and as such her tone is often that of a white master dealing with her African servants. Yet, her curiosity, vast culture and tact also inspired trust and affection among those living around her, and allowed her to understand some of the most subtle features of local culture and customs.
After her divorce she had an affair with the British aristocrat Denis Fitch Hutton, played by Redford in Pollack’s movie.
“Shadows on the grass” was written a few decades after her return to Europe and included some updates on the lives of the most important characters of the first book.
I’ve only read the book and will surely watch the movie. If you have only watched the movie I definitely recommend reading the book.