THE FLAME TREES OF THIKA by Elspeth Huxley
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THE FLAME TREES OF THIKA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There have been many books- and many good books- about Africa, but none quite like this one. For here is a section of Kenya, the wild Kikuyu country, in 1913, as it made its unforgettable impression on a child of six. That she was an extraordinarily aware child and that her memory, while phenomenal, has been reenforced by renewing her intimate relations with the country she learned to love, does not lessen the impact this story of her African childhood leaves on the reader. For here is Africa- not an Africa set in contrast with Europe (for Robin and Tilly, her parents, were English)- but an Africa deeply experienced with all a child's senses, with her imagination, with her complete acceptance. Even the interrelations of the adults, recorded in conversations remembered, if not wholly understood at the time, come through the child's understanding. The natives became her friends: her pets included a couple of chameleons, a sturdy and scarred pony, a wild duiker. Her stories were their myths; her friends cannibals, pygmies and the Kikuyus themselves; she noted the eccentricities of some of the white neighbors, a velvet upholstered couch and a grand piano in a dirt floored cabin. But it is Africa that is the motivating factor, an Africa with its extremes of beauty and ugliness, quivering heat and crudities, wildness and violence. There is nothing here of politics and exploration. It is simply Africa experienced.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1959
Publisher: Morrow