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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Paperback – June 26, 2012
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“Ten years after publishing Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, Alexandra (Bobo) Fuller treats us in this wonderful book to the inside scoop on her glamorous, tragic, indomitable mother…Bobo skillfully weaves together the story of her romantic, doomed family against the background of her mother’s remembered childhood.” — THE WASHINGTON POST
“Another stunner… The writer's finesse at handling the element of time is brilliant, as she interweaves near-present-day incidents with stories set in the past. Both are equally vivid… With "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness" Alexandra Fuller, master memoirist, brings her readers new pleasure. Her mum should be pleased.”
— CLEVELAND PLAIN-DEALER
“Fuller's narrative is a love story to Africa and her family. She plumbs her family story with humor, memory, old photographs and a no-nonsense attitude toward family foibles, follies and tragedy. The reader is rewarded with an intimate family story played out against an extraordinary landscape, told with remarkable grace and style.” — MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE
“[Fuller] conveys the magnetic pull that Africa could exert on the colonials who had a taste for it, the powerful feeling of attachment. She does not really explain that feeling—she is a writer who shows rather than tells—but through incident and anecdote she makes its effects clear, and its costs.” — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“[A]n artistic and emotional feat.” — THE BOSTON GLOBE
“An eccentric, quixotic and downright dangerous tale with full room for humor, love and more than a few highballs.” — HUFFINGTON POST
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Top Customer Reviews
Writing about family is always challenging but I admired Amanda's unsparing portrait of Nicola. She paints her as a woman with a unique zest for life and adventure. At the same time, Fuller does not shy away from describing aspects of her parents' worldview that readers may find detestable. She is rather frank in explaining the way her mother romanticized British colonialism in Africa even as the system was falling apart. And she shows how the lives of her family members were impacted by the rising tide of nationalism and civil war that swept Africa during the 1950s and 1960s.
I personally did not read this book because I was interested in Fuller's family, however. I read it because I was interested in the unique view of Africa during this turbulent period that it provided. There is little good writing about Kenya, Zambia and Rhodesia during the 1950s and 1960s and Fuller's account presented a highly interesting perspective on events. I learned a great deal about what transpired politically and socially on the African continent from reading it. If you are interested in Africa or this genre of memoir writing, I would highly recommend the book.
"Bullets, lipstick, sunglasses. Off we go...." (p. 28-29).
Alexandra Fuller's family makes you feel much better about your own.
Having lived in the insanity of Kamuzu Banda's Malawi, having watched in horror as Mugabe righted one wrong with another, I rejoice that Ms. Fuller has written another installment in her family's saga. No, it was not right for the Brits to take over Africa and take away from those who were already there. Ms Fuller's story, however, puts a human face on "white Africa"-- not a world not of fanatical white supremasits (of which there were many, many, many) but of hard-working whites who ignored the rights/wrongs and tried to build a life on a continent whose indigenous people are seemingly forever compelled to fight and lose to hold their own land. No one who has not lived there can accurately judge this book. The social mores, the threats to life, the weaknesses of any political system imposed to try to bring someone's definition of "order" have to be lived first-hand to be believed and understood.
Some of the descriptions of the surroundings and landscapes are so lovely - particularly as evening falls - that I felt as though I were sitting right there with Ms. Fuller and her mother as they reminisce together. Two minor negatives are 1) the book starts off a little jumbled and would have been better had it proceeded chronologically as it does as it gets going, and 2) more pictures and maps of the regions the Fullers lived and traveled in would have been helpful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved it. Been to Africa 3 times and going again this summer. It makes living there sound like an adventure everyday...and I'm sure it would be.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
It was suggested by a reader friend. Big expectations. Disappointed. But I'll reread the book and might be in a better place, enjoying the story.Published 16 days ago by saundra
I grew up in Rhodesia / Zimbabwe and really enjoyed reading about Alexandra Fuller and her parents who lived under the "Tree of Forgetfulness ". Read morePublished 16 days ago by glh
Through the entire book I thought the author was going to drop a bomb about her dread as resent for having grown up by decree of her parents in such a fascinating scary life in... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Megan Rooney-Brown
I loved Ms. Fuller's prior books about her life and family. This brings rich detail to the story of her mother. Read morePublished 1 month ago by David Angel
A wonderful, wonderful memoir.
Maybe I'm biased, because I've lived in Africa. There is just something about Alexandra Fuller's descriptions of the landscapes, the... Read more
What a beautiful way to help keep yourself centered and balanced every day!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
my bookclub just did this book and we had a great discussionb. we became aware of the beauty of Africa and the difficult change that toook place when the Britiish left. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jeanne Mcgee