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Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier Paperback – April 26, 2005
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There are many ugly, brutal details about the African civil wars in this book. Although the reading is painful, the message is important...war creates "fatal cracks" in both the soldiers of war and civilian bystanders, cracks which take the rest of a lifetime to repair. Bobo undertakes this story thinking that she could better understand the violent man that K has become by "walking a mile in his shoes". Yet the reader comes away with the lesson that war leaves a different impression on all who are involved.
Ms. Fuller's writing is beautiful and non-judgemental. The book is interspersed with amazing snapshots of the African people and countryside. I definitely recommend reading Ms. Fuller's own memoir first, "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight". And be warned that the images in "Scribbling the Cat" are quite graphic. Nonetheless, this story is a compelling look at Africa, both today and during its civil wars of the 1980s.
But there is a kind of patent dishonesty going on here that clouds the book's best intentions and the author's considerable storytelling gifts. The story is straightforwardly presented as authobiographical, but Ms. Fuller is incredibly stingy with revealing herself (while she virtually guts her subject, the former White Rhodesian soldier she calls "K"). In order to get "K" to open up to her and tell his absolutely wrenching, devasting story, Ms. Fuller manipulates him in an unusually cruel way -- she allows him to fall in love with her (even though she is a married woman with two children back in the US) and continues her deception throughout a long road trip, during which he confides his darkest secrets to her, believing that she is "the one" -- the perfect mate sent to him by God to heal his loneliness and his pain.
Although the stories of military violence, racism and horrific African poverty are deeply affecting, I was profoundly disturbed at the way Alexandra Fuller obtained K's life story. In many respects, she hurt and victimized this terribly damaged man in ways that are psychologically worse than violence -- by betraying his trust. (When I was in high school, there was a not-very-nice term for women who use their sexuality to keep men on a string.) Furthermore, Ms. Fuller is coy enough not to let us know if the attraction was at all mutual or what the state of her marriage was.Read more ›
Let me explain the title. The word "scribbling" means "killing" in the slang of the region. And it refers to the expression "curiosity killed the cat". She decided to take this trip because she was curious. It's as simple as that.
The former soldier, who she refers to as "K" is war hardened. He's now a loner, living on a farm he literally carved out of the African bush himself. Some native Africans work for him but his relationships with them are simply that aof boss and worker. His former marriage had ended in divorce and it was clear from the beginning that he was interested in Alexandra even though she was married.
She wasn't interested in him in that way. And I'll say right up front there that even though towards the end of their trip there was some romantic tension between them, it never materialized. The book instead is about their relationship to Africa and the way that Africa itself has shaped their personalities.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully written; interesting story; I'm eager to read more books by this author.Published 19 days ago by Irmtraud Steinhilber
I ordered this audiobook because I like the reader, Lisette LeCat. She does a wonderful job reading the No. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Suzanne Bennett
To say that Alexandra Fuller's life and books are interesting is an understatement. She casually brings you into her life and experiences so well that you don't realize how... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
"The windows of the pickup were rolled down because we, in common with everyone else in this part of the world, were jealous of every drop of fuel we spent. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sandra M Yeaman
This was a very good Alexandra Fuller book. Two people had very different solutions to the horrors of dealing with prolonged war. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mary D Myers
Spellbinding. Her descriptions and analysis of the area, thee impact of the war and relationships all held me. Couldn't put it down.Published 4 months ago by Alopecian
I've read many of the stories that originated in the Rhodesian Bush War including the "The Selous Scouts" writtten by their original CO Col Ron Daly- Lewis, which was... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Denzil
Pre-prejudiced by my love of Africa and fascination with its land, people and animals - this book was a wonderful buffet of information and insights into what it is like to always... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lynda
In Scribbling the Cat, Alexandra Fuller carries on with her mental contest of Africa vs. the United States, and Africa seems to be winning. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Robert A. Lincoln