If one theme unifies the 11 tales collected here, it is that of longing. Written after her return from Kenya and during the dark days of the Nazi occupation, they derive their themes and locales from Isak Dinesen's childhood in Denmark. 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.