This biography of British writer and conservationist Huxley (1907-1997), author of several novels (The Flame Trees of Thika), memoirs and travel pieces, is well researched. Leaving Huxley in England, her parents moved to Kenya in 1912, where, as members of Britain's white settler community, they struggled to run a coffee plantation. Huxley was sent for the next year, and she spent her childhood and adolescence hunting, playing polo, going on safaris and participating in other such colonial activities. Huxley left Africa in 1925 to attend college in England and the U.S., but returned periodically to visit her parents and do research. Nicholls plumbs Huxley's personal and published papers for detail, creating skillful illustrations of character and setting. Describing an elderly Huxley, she writes: "Without vanity, she wore clothes of muted colours, often tweeds, and liked brown jerseys. She usually wore trousers rather then dresses and her hair, for which she cared little, was cut short in a pudding-basin shape." She glosses over thorny issues of race and colonialism, concluding that while Huxley has been criticized for her lack of social awareness, she should be congratulated for her honesty and ability to change her views with the times.
schrijvers / kolonialisme / milieu / etniciteit / Afrika