ON THE EDGE OF THE RIFT: Memories of Kenya by Elspeth Huxley
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ON THE EDGE OF THE RIFT: Memories of Kenya

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On the Edge of the Rift (recently published in England under the title, The Mottled Lizard) is a continuation of Mrs. Huxley's earlier volume, The Flame Trees of Thika, about her childhood and adolescence in Kenya. In this book she is in her teens; it begins as she and Tilly (her mother) return to Africa from England at the end of the First World War. They rejoin her father, Robin, who has one ahead to resume the direction of their coffee plantation, which has been virtually abandoned during the war. It is difficult to believe that people were quite so amusing, or that her parents were quite so delightfully zany as Mrs. Huxley remembers them; still, here is recreated the life of English settiers in days long before the Mau Mau terrors and the dawn of political awareness utterly destroyed the possibility of benevolent, if patronizing, colonial rule. Mrs. Huxley's natural descriptions, her accounts of the wild life and of the hunting, are entrancing, as is her analysis of the personality of the Kikiyu, the natives who were the family servants. One reviewer has remarked what a joy it is to read of someone who actually enjoyed her childhood. From this book one can understand why so many white sellers want to stay in Africa in spite of present difficulties.

Publisher: Morrow