'And it happened when Martine or Philippa spoke to Babette that they would get no answers, and would wonder if she had even heard what they said ... Orshe would sit immovable on the three-legged kitchen chair, her strong hands in her lap and her dark eyes wide open, as enigmatical and fatal as a Pythia upon her tripod. At such moments, they realised that Babette was deep, and that in the soundings of her being there were passions, there were memories and longings of which they knew nothing at all.'Babette's Feast is a sublime celebration of eating, drinking and sensual pleasure. In Isak Dinesen's life-affirming short story, two elderly sisters living in a remote, god-fearing Norwegian community take in a mysterious refugee from Paris one night - and are rewarded for their kindness with the most decadent, luxurious feast of a lifetime.
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Isak Dinesen was the pen-name of Karen Blixen, who was born in Rungsted, Denmark in 1885. After studying art at Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, she married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914. Together they went to Kenya to manage a coffee plantation. After their divorce in 1921, she continued to run the plantation until a collapse in the coffee market forced her back to Denmark in 1931. Although she had written occasional contributions to Danish periodicals since 1905 (under the nom de plume of Osceola), her real debut took place in 1934 with the publication of Seven Gothic Tales, written in English under her pen-name. Out of Africa (1937) is an autobiographical account of the years she spent in Kenya. Most of her subsequent books were published in English and Danish simultaneously. She died in Rungsted in 1962.
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