I’ve come back to ‘Out of Africa’. I had finished it and set it aside. But suddenly I needed to return to a few passages I had marked. Sometimes it seems that a book, near the end, comes together in a way that the writing is more clear and direct. Perhaps a good author keeps their best words for the last pages. Or maybe it’s just the case that the foundations of the story are laid in earlier chapters and they only realize their full potential, or they only crystalize, as the books closes. Anyway, I felt the need to come back.
I think it may have as much to do with the writing, as Eric and Pierre leaving earlier today. When we get together now, we spend a good bit of our time hearing about Pierre’s kids or Eric’s exploits in the classroom, or my job or Eric’s new girlfriend or Pierre’s recent award of a PhD. But our strongest commonality is our shared love of Africa and the people of Africa. And so with that on my mind tonight, I found myself back with Isak and Denys in Kenya on the coffee farm. I wonder how much of my view of this story is shaped by the movie.
In the book, Isak never directly admits an affair with Denys. So I presume the extrapolation of that part of the narrative came through later writing or personal interviews—although it’s not at all a stretch to understand from the book. It’s clear that living on the farm with only servants and native peoples for company led to an often lonely existence; this combined with the amount of time Denys and Isak spent together and her obvious admiration for him, makes it pretty easy to understand they may well have nurtured a love affair. I know nothing of Isak’s life after Africa other than what was alluded to in Stegner’s ‘The Spectator Bird’.
But it is a beautifully written book. Evocative and haunting in her descriptions of the people and landscape.
I am way off my running game and not sure if the 1/2 marathon is a good idea or not. Probably not, but I will try to get back on track with some training and see how I feel. Day to day.
I have however gotten some good miles in on the bike and thrown in a few photos here from a 45-miler I took yesterday on the canal tow-path. Good ride although it is too flat. I need to go in search of some hills if I want to really get stronger and advance my riding. Lovely ride just the same. My turnaround point is a larger farm market where I stopped and had an apple and some water and a break.
On the ride back, I came across this old timer walking along and strumming and serenading no one in particular–just anyone passing along I guess. It was worth stopping for a quick picture. Nice old chap.