Shadows on the Grass, by Isak Dinesen

shadowsI read Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (pen name for Baroness Karen Blixen) about a year ago. It was an interesting book, a memoir about Blixen’s experiences in Africa. She lived there nearly two decades, and had much interaction with the various African tribes around her. She also got to know the landscape and animal life in what is present-day Kenya. Shadows on the Grass is a continuation and an expansion of that memoir. It was written many years later (about 25, I believe), and includes information about the various people she’d left behind. I got to find out what happened to Farah and Kamante and many of the others after she left Africa. That was nice. Normally memoirs feel so unclosed, and this did a lot to help close it off.

Last summer I bought a copy of the Out of Africa at a library book sale, and it came coupled with Shadows on the Grass (makes a lot of sense to me now, considering how related the two were). I hadn’t realized, though, that of this 500-page book, Shadows only made up a fifth. It was very short in comparison. It took me weeks to read Out of Africa, but because of the length, and perhaps because I was already prepared for the dry style of Blixen’s writing, this didn’t take as long to read. It also wasn’t terribly interesting on its own. I wouldn’t recommend it if you hadn’t already read the first 4/5ths of the memoir. This really is an extension, not so much a standalone book. That isn’t to say it’s bad, I liked it, but I imagine it would be almost useless without Out of Africa. Half the stuff she talks about refers back to her original memoir.

Overall, I liked it, but can’t really say much more than I’ve already said about Out of Africa. I didn’t learn anything new about Africa. I pretty much just got caught up on what happened to everyone after Blixen left, plus heard a couple more stories from when she was there.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2009, Adult, Prose and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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