April, 2017: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen

(Book #84) Melissa had a farm in Africa. Or at least she made her space look like a farm in Africa and gave each of us a safari hat for shade from the sun. We began with cheese, crackers and a wonderful fruit plate. Melissa served a wonderful soup topped with pine nuts and chives, a salad and baked chicken and potatoes. For dessert we had poached pears with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and cookies.

There was great discussion about the book starting with Karen’s objective to kill one of every  species of animal in Africa. Yes, it was a different time but even before awareness of the danger of extinction, it seems lacking in any kind of appreciation for the planet. We talked about her steely reserve to do such a thing alone and the boldness to treat illness and accident. We started to talk about the differences between book and movie because this was one movie many had seen at one time or another but I stopped the talk to give the dreadful quiz:

Out of Africa QUIZ

The movie is a love story and so it is all about Karen’s relationship with Denys Finch-Hatton.  It starts with Karen remembering “He even took his gramophone on safari.” How does the book begin?

  1. It starts the same way as the movie.
  2. It starts with “I was born in the manor house of Rungstedlund, north of Copenhagen.”
  3. It starts with “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.”
  4. It starts with “I have long been a storyteller and this is my story.”

n the movie we see Chief Kinanjui three times, when Karen must ask him for his permission to begin her farm,  when he marks a line on the tent pole of the school to say children under that height may go to school and when he relents and tells her children of any height may attend.  When do we see him in the book? Circle all that apply: (You will get one point for each correct answer, but a point will be subtracted for any incorrect answer.)

  1. When Karen asks him for permission to begin her farm.
  2. When he visits Karen’s farm and she gives him a drink that knocks him out cold.
  3. When he comes to the farm to witness the settlement between the parties involved in the shooting.
  4. When he is on his deathbed and Karen does not agree to his wish to be brought to the farm.

Who was the young man who Karen had hospitalized for terrible wounds on his legs and who later became a cook who named his dishes after something that had happened on the day the recipe was shown to him — such as sauce of the grey horse that died?

  1. Kamante
  2. Farah
  3. Esa.
  4. Juma

In the movie, Karen takes oxen and provisions to the border where her husband is stationed, as part of the war effort and she is greeted with “Baron, your wife is here.” In the book she explains why she took on this expedition.

  1. She was told to find a white man to go with the natives, but couldn’t find a white man who would do it.
  2. She was told to find a white man to go with the natives, but the man she hired was arrested for suspicion of being a German.
  3. She was told to find a white man to go with the natives, but the man she hired asked for more money just as they were to set off,
  4. She was told to find a white man to go with the natives, but the very idea that she should be required to hire a man angered her.

Bonus Question#1:  Name any of the four dogs mentioned in the book. (one point for each one you name)

Bonus Question #2: Many observers witnessed lions sitting/sunning/resting on whose grave?

A favorite quote: “Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.”

Answers: 3, [2,3,&4], 1, 2, [Dusk, Pania, David & Dinah] and Denys.