BROR BLIXEN: The Africa Letters by G.F.V.--Ed. & Trans. Kleen

BROR BLIXEN: The Africa Letters

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Dinesen/Blixen/Markham mill grinds on. Here, Bror Blixen's nephew and ""long-time friend and safari companion"" collects and translates some of his uncle's correspondence. But just as Blixen's godson, UIf Aschan, was unable to generate much interest in his subject in last year's The Man Whom Women Loved, so Kleen, despite a lengthy introduction, fails to convince the reader that the boozing, womanizing big-game hunter was ""likeable, intelligent and charming."" Judging from the evidence contained in these letters--to his sister; his second wife, Cockie Birkbeck; and a friend, Dick Cooper--Blixen was a remarkably boring raconteur, the possessor of an unremittingly mundane mind. Most damaging here is his apparent total lack of interest in the human beings with whom he came in contact--including Beryl Markham, England's Prince Henry and Prince Edward, and assorted wealthy, international clients. The reader learns almost nothing about these dramatis personae. Instead, the letters relate in numbing detail the tracking of various game and the joys of animal slaughter. When he turns his attention to the African landscape, Blixen isn't much more involving, expressing himself in clichÉs that even his translator cannot infuse with freshness or insight. There is little that is revealing or of value here. Readers interested in the Dinesen/Blixen/Markham story are better advised to stick with Out of Africa, West With the Night, or Mary S. Lovell's Straight On Till Morning (1987).

Pub Date: June 21st, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's