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am 9. April 2013
Blixens Buch wirft den Leser oder die Leserin um ein knappes Jahrhundert nach hinten, in das koloniale Kenia des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts. Für ihre bildhaft schöne Sprache (sie schrieb auf Englisch, obwohl das nicht ihre Muttersprache war) wurde sie häufig gerühmt.

Jede einzelne Zeile des Buches ist von einem wehmütigen Unterton getragen, die erfolglose Kaffeefarmerin Blixen musste das Land in den 1930ern nach über 20 Jahren letztlich bankrotterweise verlassen und litt daran offensichtlich noch länger. Ihre Schreibweise erinnert nicht nur entfernt an Hemingway, hier wird ein Diskurs sichtbar, der sich heute einerseits grosser Popularität erfreut, vor allem im angloamerikanischen Raum: Die grossen Freiheiten der Kolonialherren (und -herrinnen) die in den 1920ern kulminierten, als sich eine weisse upper class einem hemmungslosen Jagd-, Renn- und "Sport-" (darunter firmiert am Ende alles, was offenbar Spass machte und wofür das Blut von anderen vergossen wurde)exzess aussetzte, beflügelt durch die neuen Technologien des Automobils und des Flugzeugs, der erst durch den Ausbruch des Zweiten Weltkriegs zu einem vorläufigen Ende kam.

Blixens Buch stellt mich vor Schwierigkeiten: Einerseits ist es ein Vergnügen, es zu lesen, die Sprache ist gefällig, es verlangt einem nicht zuviel an Aufmerksamkeit ab, und die kurzen, in sich geschlossenen aber in einem losen Gesamtzusammenhang stehenden Episoden umreissen das tägliche Leben im kolonialisierten Afrika in sehr bildhafter Form.

Andererseits ist das Buch ein Hohelied auf den Kolonialismus, den Rassismus und die "Überlegenheit des weissen Mannes" (was nicht alleine an Blixen liegt, sie präsentiert sich keinesfalls als Hohepriesterin des Kolonialismus, wohl aber als Paternalistin und als ihrer eigenen Rolle vollkommen unkritisch gegenüberstehend), aber so wird es rezipiert. Es werden Szenen darin beschrieben, dass es einem die Haare aufstellt. Eigentlich wäre das klassische Schulliteratur, so etwas müsste man kritisch erarbeiten. Stattdessen wird es als Liebesroman und als die "Geschichte einer starken Frau" gelesen (zumindest geht das aus der Mehrzahl der an dieser Stelle veröffentlichten Rezensionen so hervor).

Daher am Ende nur ein Hinweis: Das ist kein Liebesroman. Es ist auch keine schöne Geschichte. Dieses Buch bedarf, mehr als die meisten anderen Bücher, einer kritischen Lektüre.

Die vier Sterne gibt es für die Sprache. Das Setting wird in diese Bewertung nicht miteinbezogen.
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am 9. Mai 2000
If your not interested in Baroness Blixen or Africa, still read this one. Read for the beautiful descriptive prose of Isak Dinesen. She seems to want us to experience the prose, just as she experienced life on a coffee farm in the Ngong hill country of Africa. There is a grace about Baroness Blixen that is difficult to describe. One really doesn't know where the grace comes from, yet it wafts up out of the prose, greeting us as an esteemed friend, and inviting us to stay awhile on the Ngong hills.
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am 6. Mai 2000
This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. The writing is beautiful and delicate and brilliant. One of the miracles of the book (and I hope I don't scare anyone off by saying this) is that there are many incidents where not a lot is happening, but the writing is so fantastic, it keeps you reading. (There is plenty of drama in the book, too.) And Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen paints the characters wonderfully. As Truman Capote said of this book, "Every page trembles like a leaf in a storm." I lived in Kenya for a year when I was a boy, which increased my interest in the book. But even without that experience, I know I still would have loved it.
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am 19. Dezember 1996
Baroness Karen Blixen --a.k.a. Isaac Dinesen-- had a farm in Africa, and on that farm the wide-eyed Danish émigrée lived her best years, the years of vivid memory, out of which she was to live and breathe and write for the rest of her life. In Africa she married, ran a coffee plantation, met "the dark races," got syphilis, and fell in love. These events shaped the fiction she was to write later, when she returned home to Denmark after the coffee farm foundered, a casualty of faulty administration and just plain bad luck.

An exile in her own country, the reluctant repatriate poured her heart into "Out of Africa." The book is unsurpassed for an atmosphere of heart-wrenching bereavement, yet serene resignation. Here is Eve after the Fall --the taste of apple lingering in her mouth-- groping to restore with words her Paradise lost. Here the storyteller weaves a tapestry of lean, vast landscapes simmering under the equatorial sun; of races worlds apart living in precarious peace; of friends --black and white--; of love; of heartbreak, and of loss.

"Out of Africa" is Isaac Dinesen's superb act of creation by recollection, a Paradise Restored you will often want to come back to.
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am 29. Juni 2005
I consider Out of Africa to be the best-written portrayal of Africa by a foreign writer. She did a great job in her portrayal, indicating that she was well versed not only with the land, but also with the native African peoples she met and knew as well as their way of life. The fact that Karen respected that way of life made her to have a deep understanding of their customs and lives at a time of colonialism where European settlers lived an exclusive life from the natives and only dealt with them as sources of cheap labor. I could not help recalling other titles set in the colonial era such as DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE and NOWHERE IN AFRICA. However, Karen towered above the others in her unique style of recounting her stories.
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am 17. April 1999
This book changed my life and because of it Dinesen has become a major influence in my writing. She was an amazing woman living in an amazing time and she managed not only to capture her own voice in text, but also the voice of an entire generation. Her intelligence and strong yet frail personality is very subtle in her narration, but at the same time very apparent. I highly recomend this book not only for its literary merits but also for its beautiful setting, which was made more beautiful after benn filtered through Dinesen's eyes.
If you would like to continue to read about Dinesen and her time period I would also reccomend:
West With the Night (Beryl Markham) Out of Isak Dinesen in Africa EXCELLENT BOOK Straight on Till Morning (Mary S. Lovell)
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am 8. Januar 1998
It's difficult to find truly magical prose in today's publications. Recently, I was hungry for some poetic fiction and pulled this volume from my bookshelf. I'm so glad I did.
Karen Blixen writes with true insight and an artist's approach about her beloved farm in Africa. There's a paragraph where she wonders if Africa knows of her like she knows of Africa. What other author has ever asked that question? She also details the migration of buffalo, elephant and antelope with such majesty that the mind's eye can almost feel the ground move under their hooves.
If you're looking for a satisfying story that will entertain you for many nights, read "Out of Africa." You will not be disappointed.
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am 25. September 1998
The movie kind of left me feeling indifferent, however, the book, so well written, far surpasses it. If you miss the skilled, thoughtful, clever, intuitive way Blixen describes what might be seen as an everyday event by the casual observer, you simply miss the gift of this work. She communicates in such a way that you are certain you have felt that way once or shared those identical feelings. I am reading this book again for the second time and it has a peculiar way of transporting me out of my current curcumstances into the world of South East Africa in the early 1900's. I am sure that when I finish it, I will feel like I did the first time, as if I was losing a close friend.
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am 14. Juli 1999
(Dear Previous Reviewer, There is no "delicious irony" in Karen Blixen's "need" to use a male [are you sure Isak is male?] pseudonym to be published--this nonfiction work is clearly narrated by a woman. Refer for examples to the Old Knudsen sections.) Karen Blixen is an open, likable, insightful narrator, and the stories of her 12 years running a farm outside Nairobi are each enthralling, tales of an Africa which now exists only in the past. She has used the perfect combination of facts and her own reflections on people & events of this life, and she is not self-centered in focus.
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am 1. Juni 1996
A classic because one is never aware that the author
is writing a novel -- you never catch her "writing".
She tells her story of Africa, "unconscious" that it's
being read by anyone but herself.

It's a curse and a blessing that Hollywood made a movie
out of her book. A blessing in the sense that the movie
may have introduced new readers to her work; a curse in
the sense that the movie resembles the book only in the
superficial elements of some of the "plot".

A delicious irony is added by the fact she had to use a
male pseudonym in order to get published.
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