Meryl Streep in Sydney Pollack’s 1985 film Out of Africa, which revived interest in the 1937 memoir by  Karen Blixen or Isak Dinsen in which it was based. It drew on her experiences running a coffee-plantation in Kenya, at first with her husband, then on her own. An eccentric Danish aristocrat may not seem the most likely chronicler of life in Africa but she is a natural storyteller, blessed with a precise, elegant and commendable flair for ironic epigrams

It’s the light, it’s the heat that hits you with the force of a punch to the chest, it’s the menaced turn and stare into the eyes of an animal more(...)

Peter Matthiessen: the award-winning novelist, naturalist, 1950s CIA operative and  ordained Zen monk  died just three days before ‘In Paradise’ was published. Photograph: Gordon M Grant/New York Times
In Paradise
  • Books
  • August 2, 2014, 01:00

Biography, as a subset of truth, can itself be as strange and rich as fiction. Take the recently deceased American writer Peter Matthiessen: award-(...)

Despite having written several of the finest British novels of the past 20 years – including Arcadia (...)