Wednesday, the 23rd of March, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today’s pick is a set of memoirs by English author, journalist, and many other things, Elspeth Huxley (1907-1997)–On the Edge of the Rift (1962). Born Elspeth Grant, her parents moved to Kenya in 1912 to start a coffee plantation. Elspeth at age six joined them the following year. Her experiences and unconventional life in Kenya became the subject of her writings including today’s pick. Later Huxley went on to earn a degree in agriculture in England, and went to the States for further education. She wrote both fiction and non fiction. Previously (quite a few years ago now), I’ve read one of her books, The Flame Trees of Thika (1959), the first volume of her memoirs (to some extent fictionalised) of time spend in Africa which I remember enjoying very much. Rereading my short review, I see I found her writing not as lyrical as Isak Dinesen’s but I enjoyed her realistic descriptions of the place and her sensitivity towards animals and towards people (in context, of course). I also remember (not mentioned in my review) that her parents were rather interesting and unconventional people whom I quite enjoyed reading about.

Today’s book, On the Edge of the Rift is a volume which continues her recollections of her time in Kenya, this time picking up in the period after World War I when she is in her teens. Travelling with her mother, Tilly, they rejoin her father Robin (her parents are always referred to as Robin and Tilly in the books). Her writings are realistic descriptions of things she saw and experienced, and as is noted on Kirkus Reviews, those of one ‘who actually enjoyed her childhood‘ (quite a refreshing perspective).

Having enjoyed her previous book a lot, I had meant to pick this one up as soon as I could, but as always among the mountains of books one is surrounded by, good intentions alone don’t quite lead to results 😛 Still, I’m glad when looking through my book mountains (physical and digital) for this book, I found this one lying unread still. So this time I hope, sooner than later will work out! I’m looking forward to the wit in her writing and her quirky family.

Have you read this book or any others by Huxley (fiction or nonfic). Any other interesting memoirs like hers or Isak Dinesen’s that you’ve particularly enjoyed and would like to recommend? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!

As always, the cover image is via Goodreads, while the author info is via Wikipedia; the book info this time is from Kirkus Reviews

Lisa’s pick this week is a classic I’ve read for a change Howards End by E.M. Forster, a story of convention vs modernity, romaticism vs pragmaticism and much more


4 thoughts on “Shelf Control #177: On the Edge of the Rift by Elspeth Huxley

    1. When is indeed the question😄 I don’t remember how pc or non it was so my reaction to that will be something I’ll have to see. Earlier I managed to put down things to the time they were said etc, at least bear with them more.

      Liked by 1 person

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