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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
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
"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.
The author does a great job of capturing her mother's storytelling dialogue and flair for drama throughout the book. I loved the concept of the Tree of Forgetfulness as a place where locals go to resolve their disagreements. What better place to remember and recreate family stories of life in Central Africa? Cocktails drunk underneath the tree of forgetfulness can help make the good memories stronger than the bad.
I recommend this book!
This one is about what her Mum & Dad lived through & recounted over many a libation during her return trips to their latest home on the north shore of the Zambezi River. It is also salted with her own memories & those of her older sister telling us of grand & hopeful adventures as well as dire danger, searing sorrow & the occasional Wobbly attack.
In her ebullient voice AF evokes the Africa that entranced this couple who survived grim childhoods ala Robert Louis Stevenson (most of us did = world wide economic depression & then war); found each other in East Africa & created an enduring marriage with multiple pregnancies & deaths, valiant horses & generations of dogs.
Nicola Fuller of Central Africa did not live a politically correct life (so get over it!), however, her daughter's rapturous telling of her parents wonderfilled & fearsome journeys in strange lands during times that were a-changing, guides you through domestic & national upheavals, all the time leaving scents & scenes for you. You also get just the right doses of godawful politics, dry as dust humor, hard won local lore & philosophies.
Babes in the woods, they were, with certain luck to survive to old age, still working & learning & wondering what the next morning will bring, & by evening, sitting under the Tree of Forgetfulness, remembering.
Very well done. Am looking forward to when Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood gets here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed this book just like the first one ("Let's go to the dogs...") and look forward to read more books by this author -- always entertaining and bright righting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ecovillages
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is Alexandra Fuller's second book covering her family's experience in east Africa. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sandra M Yeaman
Alexandra Fuller, already a best selling memoir author, goes back to Africa for conversations with her amazing parents who made Africa their home for most of the 20th Century. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mariah MacKay
Engaging--a view into a life in another time and a much different place. Family history resonated as well.Published 2 months ago by reader perpetual
Thoroughly enjoyed reading about actual life in Africa and not what the press puts out. It is also about current times.Published 3 months ago by M. Massey
What a wonderful find. Alexandra Fuller captures the seduction of the African sun and burning landscape. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Linda Ballou
Very easy to read book (short chapters, narrative style and enthralling material), a non-traditional expose of geo-political events in Africa, incorporating both historical and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by C_hop