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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Hardcover – August 23, 2011


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Frequently Bought Together

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness + Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood + Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier
Price for all three: $36.62

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; First Edition edition (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594202990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594202995
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Cocktail Hour: 'In her fourth memoir, Fuller revisits her vibrant, spirited parents, first introduced in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (2002), which her mother referred to as that "awful book." While that so-called "awful book" focused on Fuller's memories of growing up in Rhodesia during that country's civil war, this one focuses solely on her parents: their youth, their meeting, and their struggles to find a home on the continent they are both so passionate about. Fuller's mother, Nicola, the child of Scottish parents, grew up in Kenya, while her father, Tim, had an austere childhood in London. Tim wandered the world before landing in Kenya and meeting Nicola. Readers will recall the hardships the couple faced from Fuller's first memoir: the deaths of three of their five children and the loss of their home in Rhodesia. This time around, Nicola is well aware her daughter is writing another memoir, and shares some of her memories under the titular Tree of Forgetfulness, which looms large by the elder Fullers' house in Zambia. Fuller's prose is so beautiful and so evocative that readers will feel that they, too, are sitting under that tree. A gorgeous tribute to both her parents and the land they love. Kristine Huntley, Booklist Praise for Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: 'Like Frank McCourt, Fuller writes with devastating humour and directness about desperate circumstances.' Telegraph 'As unflinching and honestly told as any White African dares write... ultimately ...a love letter to a continent and its people who will never reciprocate.' Richard E Grant, author of Withnails About Colton H Bryant (but can be used as 'praise for the author') 'Brilliant, moving and almost a new form - factually true fiction' Andrew Marr, Books of the Year, Observer 30/11 'Fuller writes like a novelist, but her story is true and tragic' Christmas Books, The Times 30/11 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ALEXANDRA FULLER was born in England in 1969. In 1972, she moved with her family to a farm in southern Africa. She lived in Africa until her midtwenties. In 1994, she moved to Wyoming. She has three children.

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More About the Author

Alexandra Fuller is the author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Scribbling the Cat. She was born in England and grew up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia.

Customer Reviews

This book was very entertaining and interesting.
bookgirl
This book is a relatively fast read, and it's the sequel to "Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight".
L. Koller
Loved the quirky stories of growing up in AFrica by Alexandra.
Susan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Tiger CK on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The somewhat eccentrically titled "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness" is a memoir interwoven with a history of East Africa after the collapse of British colonial rule there. The book is a sequel to Fuller's widely acclaimed "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight." While in her previous work, Fuller primarily gave us a memoir of her own childhood. In "Cocktail Hour" she is more focused on the story of her mother Nicola. Her mother comes across as a fascinating and extravagant person in the memoir. She was born on a small Scottish isle but spent most of her life living in Africa.

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.
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94 of 103 people found the following review helpful By A. Murray on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I loved, loved, loved "Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight" so I ran out and paid full-price for "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness" as soon as I'd heard it was out. As I tore through through the first 100 pages, I wondered when Fuller would get to something new. She tells the same stories of her childhood, from slightly different perspectives and with a few details added or omitted. Yes, we get the voice of her mother in this volume but it didn't really tell the reader anything new or particularly insightful about Nicola Fuller, who dominates and colors the pages of "Don't Lets..." The added family histories of her parents was the most interesting thing in this book (and actually, those parts were in the first 100 pages). Reading the same book ("Don't Lets...") over again but for the first time was delightful to me. But, all in all, I was disappointed. She wrote this book before and I read this book before. It seems like Fuller wanted to re-live the writing and publishing and success of "Don't Let's..." I'd rather just read and re-read "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight."
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By HopewellMom on September 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"There we go then," Mum said, "I'll just get my Uzi and we'll be off...."
"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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By sas on October 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ms. Fuller has written an intriguing story of her parents' lives in [mostly] eastern Africa, their struggles during and after British control and what the white farming experience was [and I guess is] like in that vast continent. She does an excellent job describing the beauty and horrors of living daily life there; particularly touching is the Fullers' deep love for Africa which is quite palpable throughout the book - they just can't imagine living anywhere else and always come back. I'd really like to know these people! No obstacle deters them from scratching out a living on various farms they either own or manage. And it's clear how much Ms. Fuller loves and admires them for their perseverance.

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.
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