The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood

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9780140017151: The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood

In an open cart Elspeth Huxley set off with her parents to travel to Thika in Kenya. As pioneering settlers, they built a house of grass, ate off a damask cloth spread over packing cases, and discovered—the hard way—the world of the African. With an extraordinary gift for detail and a keen sense of humor, Huxley recalls her childhood on the small farm at a time when Europeans waged their fortunes on a land that was as harsh as it was beautiful. For a young girl, it was a time of adventure and freedom, and Huxley paints an unforgettable portrait of growing up among the Masai and Kikuyu people, discovering both the beauty and the terrors of the jungle, and enduring the rugged realities of the pioneer life.

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About the Author:

Elspeth Huxley was born in 1907 and spent most of her childhood in Kenya. She wrote novels, detective fiction, biographies, and travel books. She died in 1997.

Review:

In 1913, at the age of six, Elspeth Huxley accompanied her parents from England to their recently acquired land in Kenya, "a bit of El Dorado my father had been fortunate enough to buy in the bar of the Norfolk hotel from a man wearing an Old Etonian tie." The land is not nearly what its seller claimed, but Elspeth's parents are undaunted and begin their coffee plantation. Her mother, a resourceful, adventurous woman, "eager always to extract from every moment its last drop of interest or pleasure," keeps an eye on Elspeth's education but also allows her extensive freedom. Through Elspeth Huxley's marvelous gift for description, early twentieth-century Kenya comes alive with all the excitement and naive insight of a child who watches with eyes wide open as coffee trees are planted, buffaloes are skinned, pythons are disemboweled, and cultures collide with all the grace of runaway trains. With a free-wheeling imagination and a dry wit, she describes the interactions of Kikuyus, Masais, Dutch Boers, Brits and Scots, mixing rapid-fire descriptions with philosophical musings. It is a mixture that suits her land of contrasts and unknowns, where vastly different peoples live and work side by side but rarely come together, like an egg beater whose "the two arms whirled independently and never touched, so that perhaps one arm never knew the other was there; yet they were together, turned by the same handle, and the cake was mixed by both." -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister

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Elspeth Huxley
Published by Penguin Putnam
ISBN 10: 0140017151 ISBN 13: 9780140017151
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Book Description Penguin Putnam. Paperback. Book Condition: New. UNUSED, VERY GOOD, NOT EX-LIBRARY, foxing, 288 pages. The extraordinary adventures of a childhood in Africa, recalled in rich and loving detail In an open cart Elspeth Huxley set off with her parents to travel to Thika in Kenya. As pioneering settlers among the Kikuyu natives, they built a house of grass, ate off a damask cloth spread over packing cases and discovered -the hard way -the world of the African. An enchantment and a joy to read' - Books and Bookmen 'She knows East Africa and she loves it-the people, black and white, and the wild beauty of its countryside -with a critical and understanding sympathy'- The Times Elspeth Huxley continues the story of her life in Africa in The Mottled Lizard. Bookseller Inventory # 11498

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Huxley, Elspeth
Published by Penguin Books (1982)
ISBN 10: 0140017151 ISBN 13: 9780140017151
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1982. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110140017151

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Huxley, Elspeth
Published by Penguin Books
ISBN 10: 0140017151 ISBN 13: 9780140017151
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Book Description Penguin Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0140017151 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0960509

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