Too Close to the Sun

Too Close to the Sun

The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton

Book - 2009
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Legendary for his good looks, his charm, and his prowess as a soldier, lover, and hunter, Denys Finch Hatton was born to an old aristocratic family. He became a hero without trying at Eton and Oxford. In 1910, searching for novelty and danger, Finch Hatton arrived in British East Africa and fell in love--with a continent, with a landscape, with a way of life that was about to change forever, as the outbreak of World War I engulfed the region. Finch Hatton was a captain when he met Karen Blixen in Nairobi and embarked on one of the great love affairs of the twentieth century. Biographer Wheeler teases out truth from fiction in the liaison that Blixen immortalized in Out of Africa. Ever restless, Finch Hatton became an expert bush pilot, leading to his affair with aviatrix Beryl Markham--but Markham was no more able to hold him than Blixen had been.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2009
Edition: Random House Trade Paperback edition
ISBN: 9780812968927
Branch Call Number: 967.6 FINCH
Characteristics: xxii, 292 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm


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Aug 15, 2016

Having read "Out of Africa" and a historical novel based on the life of Beryl Markham, I got this bio of her lover Denys Finch Hatton. An impoverished aristocrat educated at Eton and Oxford, he hated being circumscribed by rules. The idea of Africa appealed, and he went to South Africa and Kenya. Before he could decide what to do with his life, he was caught up in WW I. While he hated soldiering, he was excellent at this part of the War that Europe ignored. During the War, he met Karen Blixen, known as Tania. She fell in love; he didn't. Her version, as written years later in "Out of Africa," and what he'd probably have written had he lived, would have been very different. This book shows them as extremely different, though they stayed friends when he took other lovers. After the War, he finally found his niche, guiding rich men on safari. He also discovered flying, for its own sake and to aid safaris. He learned that animal hunting would deplete the game before long, and "hunted" with camera, becoming very skilled. Two safaris with the Prince of Wales, who as King abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, helped the conservation effort. The Prince supported Finch Hatton's efforts while he was still popular. I have "West with the Night" on hold, to complete the set. Still, since Isak Dinesen wrote her non-fiction "Out of Africa" partly as fiction, and Denys wrote almost nothing that survives, the real story of the three will never be entirely known.

May 23, 2016

I could not get through this book. I thought the author's writing was quite bad and though the collective of Blixen, Markham, and Finch Hatton lived in exciting, historic times. Their behavior and lifestyle was very decadent and dull. Maybe I should borrow the movie.

sabinamarina Sep 27, 2012

Though exhaustively sourced, thoroughly researched, duly footnoted and indexed like non-fiction, the impression left on this reader is that a lot of what the author has chosen to write about, and how she has chosen to write, is subjectively compromised, almost fictionalizing the content. If, as quoted, Dinesen's OUT OF AFRICA immortalized DFH, this tome mythologizes him. Let's see what the unedited Beryl Markham has to say in her biography, WEST WITH THE NIGHT.


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