Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On finishing "Out of Africa"


I finished reading Out of Africa. I loved reading it again. Here is an assortment of favorite quotes. There is no common thread, really, except that Dinesen's writing is so evocative for me that when I read her, I not only see the ploughs, but smell the oxen and feel the red dirt, I reach down to stroke my cat, and I recall being awakened in the night in California with a bang and a shake, amazed that I had felt an earthquake.


During her last years in Africa...
If I know a song of Africa...of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Would the air over the plain quiver with a color that I had had on, or the children invent a game in which my name was, or the full moon throw a shadow on the gravel of the drive that was like me, or would the eagles of the Ngong look out for me?

Speaking of a friend...
He walked as noiselessly as a cat. And like a cat, he made every room that he sat in, a place of comfort, as if he had had in him a source of heat and fun. If Berkeley had come and sat with you upon the smoking ruin of your house, he would, like a cat, have made you feel that your were in a picked snug corner.

After feeling the shock of an earthquake...
The heavenly bodies, in their courses, have it in their power, to move human minds to unknown heights of delight...Kepler writes of what he felt when, after many years' work, he at last found the laws of the movements of the planets: 'I give myself over to rapture. The die is cast. Nothing I have ever felt before is like this. I tremble, my blood leaps. God has waited six thousand years for a looker-on to his work. His wisdom is infintie, that of which we are ingnorant is contained in him...' Indeed, it was exactly the same transport that shook me all through, at the time of the earthquake.

An aside on taking a book to bed in the midst of a crisis on the farm...
In Africa, when you pick up a book worth reading...you read it as an author would like his book to be read, praying to God that he may have it in him to go on as beautifully as he has begun. Your mind runs, transported, upon a fresh deep green track.


I didn't want this book to end. I never want good books to end and I usually feel like starting them all over again, right away. I knew, sadly, that I would finish reading Out of Africa and that it would have a sad ending. Dinesen had to leave her beloved farm, after all. I think, however, that I have read this book as she would have liked it to be read. Indeed, my mind has run "upon a fresh green track."

3 comments:

Kelly said...

Mmmm...here's my favorite of the ones you posted...

In Africa, when you pick up a book worth reading...you read it as an author would like his book to be read, praying to God that he may have it in him to go on as beautifully as he has begun. Your mind runs, transported, upon a fresh deep green track.

I am reminded of the first time I completed LOTR or Ethan Frome...all those books that you pray will just go on and on...but there is a sweet sadness in knowing that they will come to a completion.

You've whetted my appetite to read this one!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have GOT to put this book on my Summer Reading List.

I owned it in paperback many years ago, never got around to reading it, and gave it to the library book sale when we were getting ready for a big move.

I think I'll make a trip to the bookstore soon. :)

Kelly said...

Tag!!