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Cocktail hour under the tree of forgetfulness
Alexandra Fuller
Adult Nonfiction DT2984.F85 F85 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Fuller's previous well-received memoir Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood dealt with her time growing up amid the harsh realities of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) during civil war in the 1970s. In her new memoir, billed as a combination of prequel and sequel, she focuses on her mother, Nicola Fuller, whose adventurous spirit, droll humor, and abiding love for Africa were challenged by the tragic deaths of three of her young children and her subsequent mental breakdown. Fuller evocatively depicts her mother's Kenya childhood, marriage to Tim Fuller, and the ensuing chaos and joys of raising a family and eking out a precarious living amid the wild and inspiring African landscape. Her eloquent depiction of her mother's darker sides, including racism, alcoholism, and mental illness, reveals a fascinating, flawed, and funny woman whose story illuminates the contradictions and extremes of Africa -itself. -VERDICT Unsparing, well written, and spiced with many compelling anecdotes, this vivid tale of a one-of-a-kind matriarch and her family's fortitude through adversity and absurdity will be relished by memoir fans and recreational readers interested in Africa. Such readers may also enjoy Isak Dinesen's classic Out of Africa or Barbara Kingsolver's dark novel The Poisonwood Bible. [See Prepub Alert, 1/31/11.]-Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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