Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
(Modern Library)

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A vivid elegy to life in Kenya during the final years of the British Empire, written by the Danish expat Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Dinesen was her pen name).
-The Telegraph


Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

In this book, the author of Seven Gothic Tales gives a true account of her life on her plantation in Kenya. She tells with classic simplicity of the ways of the country and the natives: of the beauty of the Ngong Hills and coffee trees in blossom: of her guests, from the Prince of Wales to Knudsen, the old charcoal burner, who visited her: of primitive festivals: of big game that were her near neighbors--lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, buffaloes--and of Lulu, the little gazelle who came to live with her, unbelievably ladylike and beautiful.

The Random House colophon made its debut in February 1927 on the cover of a little pamphlet called "Announcement Number One." Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, the company's founders, had acquired the Modern Library from publishers Boni and Liveright two years earlier. One day, their friend the illustrator Rockwell Kent stopped by their office. Cerf later recalled, "Rockwell was sitting at my desk facing Donald, and we were talking about doing a few books on the side, when suddenly I got an inspiration and said, 'I've got the name for our publishing house. We just said we were go-ing to publish a few books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House.' Donald liked the idea, and Rockwell Kent said, 'That's a great name. I'll draw your trademark.' So, sitting at my desk, he took a piece of paper and in five minutes drew Random House, which has been our colophon ever since." Throughout the years, the mission of Random House has remained consistent: to publish books of the highest quality, at random. We are proud to continue this tradition today.

This edition is set from the first American edition of 1937 and commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House.

About Isak Dinesen

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Isak Dinesen was born Karen Christentze Dinesen in Rungsted, Denmark on April 17, 1885. She studied English at Oxford University and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. During her lifetime, she wrote plays, short stories, novels, poetry, and nonfiction works. Her career as a writer spanned from 1907 to 1962. She was published in Danish under the name of Karen Blixen and in English under the pseudonym of Isak Dinesen. Her short story collections include Seven Gothic Tales, Winter Tales, and Last Tales. Her nonfiction book, Out of Africa, was published in 1937 and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Meryl Streep in 1985. She died of emaciation September 7, 1962.
Published January 1, 1980 by Time-Life Books. 380 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Travel, Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Out of Africa
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1


on Nov 02 2011

...presents here reminiscences of twelve years on a coffee farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. Rarely does a book on a remote country convey so fully the feeling of the country and the people.

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The Telegraph

Reviewed by The Telegraph on Mar 03 2013

A vivid elegy to life in Kenya during the final years of the British Empire, written by the Danish expat Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Dinesen was her pen name).

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Time Magazine

Above average
Reviewed by Meredith Melnick on Aug 30 2011

Her memoir depicts the close relationships she fostered among the men who worked for her, giving African characters a complexity and dignity not found in other colonial texts.

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Reviewed by Eric Durso on May 27 2008

She tells her story with no shame; includes the anecdotes that pleased her heart; and give insights to life by showing exactly how she felt about certain things.

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