A story of survival and war, love and madness, loyalty and forgiveness, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is an intimate exploration of Fuller’s parents, whom readers first met in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, and of the price of being possessed by Africa’s uncompromising, fertile, death-dealing land. We follow Tim and Nicola Fuller hopscotching the continent, restlessly trying to establish a home. War, hardship, and tragedy follow the family even as Nicola fights to hold on to her children, her land, her sanity. But just when it seems that Nicola has been broken by the continent she loves, it is the African earth that revives and nurtures her. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is Fuller at her very best.
Alexandra Fuller is the author of several memoirs: Travel Light, Move Fast, Leaving Before the Rains Come, and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight.
A sardonic follow-up to her first memoir about growing up in Rhodesia circa the 1970s, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, this work traces in wry, poignant fashion the lives of her intrepid British parents, determined to stake a life on their farm despite the raging African civil war around them. Fuller's mother is the central figure, Nicola Fuller of Central, as she is known, born "one million percent Highland Scottish"; she grew up mostly in Kenya in the 1950s, was schooled harshly by the nuns in Eldoret, learned to ride horses masterfully, and married a dashing Englishman before settling down on their own farm, first in Kenya, then Rhodesia, where the author (known as Bobo) and her elder sister, Vanessa, were born in the late 1960s. The outbreak of civil war in the mid-1970s resolved the family to dig in deeper on their farm in Robandi, rather than flee, to order to preserve a life of colonial privilege and engrained racism that was progressively vanishing. While the girls dispersed as grownups (the author lives in Wyoming with her American husband), the parents managed to secure a fish and banana farm in the middle of the Zambezi valley in Zambia, and under a legendary Tree of Forgetfulness (where ancestors are supposed to reside and help resolve trouble) they ruminate with their visitors over the long-gone days, full of death and loss, the ravages of war, and a determination to carry on. Fuller achieves another beautifully wrought memoir.
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African Glass Castle
Memoir of mother by daughter set in Africa in the late 20th century as the continent shed colonialism. With fearless Scottish roots Mum, the matriarch, survives war, family deaths, moves and bouts of insanity while in Kenya, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe near Mozambique, England, South Africa and Zambia. Ever adapting, she transitioned from a life of polo privilege to armed combat to tilapia farming with a supportive husband and two daughters. Many of life's joys and sorrows are raw and real on this book.
Alexandra Fuller's books (I've read them all) are compelling beyond words. Haunting, hopeful, and forever memorable. Her words float with daring and grace. Truly memorable. And for that, I'm eternally grateful. What a pleasure!
Read "Don't Let's Go To The Dogs" first
I enjoyed this book, but I think I would have enjoyed it less if I had not read the author's first book, "Don't Let's Go TomThe Dogs..." I think the earlier book helps to put this most recent effort in perspective. And, the first book is awesome, so people should read it anyway.