When Elspeth Huxley's pioneer father buys a remote plot of land in Kenya, the family sets off to discover their new home: five hundred acres of Kenyan scrubland, infested with ticks and white ants, and quavering with heat. What they lack in know-how they make up for in determination: building a grass house, employing local Kikuyu tribe members and ...Read MoreWhen Elspeth Huxley's pioneer father buys a remote plot of land in Kenya, the family sets off to discover their new home: five hundred acres of Kenyan scrubland, infested with ticks and white ants, and quavering with heat. What they lack in know-how they make up for in determination: building a grass house, employing local Kikuyu tribe members and painstakingly transforming their patch of wilderness into a working farm. Huxley's unforgettable childhood memoir is a sensitive account of settler life at the turn of the twentieth century and a love song to the harshness and beauty of East Africa.Read Less
Very good in good dust jacket. dust jacket is slightly worn. 264pp. Mrs. Huxley was a child of six when she trekked out with her mother in an ox cart to join her charming but improvident father in the wild Kikuyu country of Kenya......
Very Good/Very Good. 8vo 0701108231 Dust jacket complete except price clipped. Brown cloth boards with bright gilt titling on spine. No ownership marks. Frontis. 288 pages clean and tight. The Flame Trees of Thika was a Book Society Choice, a major Book Club Choice, and became a successful TV series. Elspeth Huxley's novels have revealed for many thousands of readers the heart of Africa. In this book she describes her own childhood there, amongst the Kikuyu, during the years just before the First World War. With her valiant mother and her hopeful, gullible, kindly father, she trekked out to make a home in the Kenyan wilderness. They built a grass house, they ate off packing-cases spread with damask tablecloths, they learnt how to train oxen and grow coffee and understand something of the African mind. Amongst their neighbours were an Edinburgh nurse married to an absentee elephant poacher, a tough Boer farmer, the vivacious and unconventional Lettice and her stiff ex-cavalry husband. There are ant-hordes, leopard-hunts, cattle-thefts: the witchcraft of the Kikuyu and the love-affairs of their white neighbours are equally mysterious to the child. Intent on her own affairs yet absorbing much of the savage and beautiful world around her, running wild and growing in wisdom, she lived the pioneer childhood which she writes about so evocatively. `No one who cares about the fate of Africa can possibly be ignorant of Mrs. Huxley's distinguished role as an observer and interpreter of African events...From the evocative title to the last sentence I found myself held and entranced by this tale at times so tender, endearing and poignant and at others so light, carefree and gay. ' LAURENS VAN DER POST. '...a valuable historical document as well as a delightful piece of autobiography. ' SIR CHARLES PETRIE.
I've enjoyed reading this book very much. It's one of those I'm going to re-read many times. What I've liked most about the author's style is the vitality of her characters. Every one of them is a true human being, unique in its personality and actitude towards life. A delightful novel.
Aug 15, 2008
Flame Trees of Thika
This is the first book I've read by Elspeth Huxley--it will not be the last! This is a delightful and charming story of an era that was previously unknown to me. The author is a skilled writer with a droll sense of humor and fascinates with her attention to detail.
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