[The Flame Trees of Thika Memories of an African Childhood Books ] Free Read online as Ebook BY Elspeth Huxley

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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 li. This is meant to be a memoir Unlike other memoirsdiariescorrespondence that some GR readers think are novels this one really is a novel presented as a memoir We are told it covers the years when she was aged five to eight How could a child as young as Elspeth supposedly is during the action hear those detailed adult conversations and remember them let alone comprehending what was going on It s excellently well written and one could argue that the author talked to people as an adult and reconstructed the scrappy memories of childhood from rumor and gossip and fact remembered by others But then we get the dream she relates in enormous detail only to state in the very next sentence My dreams were always jumbled and the next morning I could only remember bits of this one Yeahbits that form a detailed coherent for a dream whole Uh huhAnother thing that annoyed me was the repeated statement that the Masai and other African groups had no conception that an animal could feel pain This is surprising when you consider how important indeed basic cattle are to their entire culture But then both she and all the white adults around her simply assume that they are superior in every way to the people who have lived there since time was That s the reason I ve shelved it as social realism it really does reflect the attitudes of the European settlers invaders colonists of the timeMany years ago I picked up The Mottled Lizard in a second hand shop which covers her adolescent years At the time it made sense as for many people the adolescent memories are the most lasting coming as they do at an age when the youth feels their powers coming to them everything is immediate and makes a lasting impression Now I feel that Huxley who also wrote mystery novels simply wove a good story out of what memories she had Reading that volume I interpreted her constant criticisms of her parents as being the voice of that adolescent we ve all been which finds our parents every word and action embarassing beyond belief Putting this same patronising attitude in the mind and mouth of a small child who is supposedly sent miles on horseback to run errands for her parents as if she were a mini adult just makes the main character seem very mean spirited

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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 Afri. The Flame Trees of Thika Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley is an absolutely lovely recollection of childhood as it should be for every child The daughter of two financially strapped adventurous and eternally optimistic parents Elspeth recounts life in Thika in the bush of Kenya where she spent her youth amongst the Kikuyu and Masai She lived with nature with superstitions with death and love and certainly writes about it all with great euanimity She is able to capture the way a child hovers around the fringe of certain events yet seems to understand events with a certain uniue wisdom It is a wonderful book The writing is excellent the story actually uite amazing and the people are fascinating one and all Read it

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Can 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. I seem to be one of the few readers who didn t love this tale of a young British family trying to start a coffee plantation in British East Africa Kenya in the period 1912 1914 their friendships with the other British colonials and their interactions with the Kikuyu and Masai people who lived nearby or worked for them Actually it completely bored meThere was also something mildly unsettling about the narrator s voice she s writing the memoir as an adult about 50 years after the events she s narrating which took place when she was a young girl from ages six to eight There is a sweetness and innocence in the narration but also a very un childlike sophistication about the romantic goings on of adults In other words there is no way at age six or eight she would have grasped the subtle sexual tensions between Lettice Palmer and Ian Crawfurd or comprehended the coded language used by the memoir s characters to discuss the romantic possibilities between these two There are also long conversations which obviously would not have been remembered so faithfully unless she was undertaking stenography at age six So I felt like as a reader the authorial wool was being pulled over my eyes I also read perhaps on Wikipedia that some of the characters were composites Which you know is utterly fine unless you re James Frey go for it Novelize your memoir But don t pretend it s some kind of accurate account of people and events when it s a fictionalized montage It would have been nice to have an author s or editor s note in the edition explaining what was going on but there wasn t in my Penguin edition


10 thoughts on “The Flame Trees of Thika Memories of an African Childhood

  1. says:

    The Flame Trees of Thika Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley is an absolutely lovely recollection of childho

  2. says:

    Great stuff Her memoir is from the early years of the Kenya colony — her parents’ new farm was one of the first established in that area and the hinterlands were still pretty much as they were before the Europeans arrived As others have said the highlight of the book is the flavor of the East Africa of a century ago sights sounds smells animals people She was a wonderful writer Not to be missed if you are intereste

  3. says:

    When we were kids we played in a field down the street from our house If memory serves correctly always a joke when it comes to my memory the space was almost entirely undeveloped so there was ample space for us to run and play We rode our bikes down there we chased butterflies we caught bugs for science project

  4. says:

    I seem to be one of the few readers who didn't love this tale of a young British family trying to start a coffee plantation in British East Africa Kenya in the period 1912 1914 their friendships with the other British colonials and their interactions with the Kikuyu and Masai people who lived nearby or worked for them Actually it

  5. says:

    In 1913 when the author was six years old she and her mother and father went to British East Africa BEA to start a coffee plantation This was nearly 100 years ago when that area was mostly unsettled Her father bought some property sight unseen in the middle of nowhere among the Kikuyu people This book was especially fascinating for me because everything was so incredibly different from modern times The story is very s

  6. says:

    Read this several times over the years and also watched the BBC series which I just love Never got around to reviewing the book but recently my sister handed me her copy of the seuel The Mottled Lizard so I figured it was about time Elspeth Huxley just knows how to write It is the beginning of the end of British cultivation ? of the African f

  7. says:

    Ever get to the end of a book and contemplate flipping back to the first page and starting all over again? This

  8. says:

    This is meant to be a memoir Unlike other memoirsdiariescorrespondence that some GR readers think are novels this one really is a novel presen

  9. says:

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  10. says:

    A memoir of the author's childhood in Thika a farm area outside Nairobi in colonial Kenya just prior to World War I in 1913 when the author was six years old Her uirky parents traveled from England to Thika to start a coffee plantation In the