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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Paperback – 1 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085720128X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857201287
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,561,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

`Despite its tragic backbone, this book has much more humour than its predecessor. Fuller gives her mother a droll, laconic voice that makes it a pleasure to read. Her achievement is to have turned her mother's complicated, gallant life into a deeply felt memoir with perfect comic timing' --Sunday Times

`Nicola, Fuller, the last of her kind, booms and bosses her way through these beautifully written pages, a comic-tragic patriot of no clear nationality permanently out of place in the place she refuse to leave, at home in her own homelessness. Her parents, Fuller accepts, belong to a generation that was selfish and short-sighted but, as he puts it, "most of us don't pay so dearly of our prejudices, our passions, our mistakes. Lots of places, you can harbour the most ridiculous, the most ruining, the most intolerant beliefs and be hurt by nothing more than your own thoughts' --Daily Telegraph --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 and in 1972 she moved with her family to a farm in Rhodesia. After the civil war there in 1981, the Fullers moved first to Malawi, then to Zambia. She now lives in Wyoming and has three children. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By N. Bowring on 17 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight is one of my favourite books. Told from the innocent perspective of a child, it is funny and sad and above all, honest.
I approached Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness with eager anticipation and have to admit, found the first few chapters disappointing. I felt that Alexandra Fuller had compromised the vivid characterization of her eccentric wonderful mother, in order to please her and make amends for what the family called the "awful book". But I was wrong.
Tree of Forgetfulness is more serious than Dogs because it is related by the grown up Alexandra, or Bobo as her family call her, so lacks the naivety of the child. From this adult, knowing viewpoint, it is somehow all the more heartbreaking. The story of her parents' courage, resilience and humour in the face of insuperable tragedy in the harsh, punishing Continent of Africa - Kenya during the Mau Mau, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during the war of independence, is told with the generosity and warmth of a devoted and loving daughter.
"Nicola Fuller of Central Africa" always wanted a writer in the family to recount her "fabulously romantic life". Her life may not have turned out as romantically as she had hoped, but it was full of adventure and love and she couldn't have wished for a better "scribe" than her own daughter to relate it.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Wilhelm Snyman on 30 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Hilarious, sad, poignant - but unputdownable. A clearly more mature, thoughtful work than Dogs, (which was excellent for other reasons), Cocktail is also a very moving, sober and heartfelt tribute by a daughter to her mother and will have universal appeal, even to those who don't know Central Africa.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Noel on 27 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful little book, the third written by Alexandra Fuller on her family's life and experiences in Africa. In this book Alexandra's mother Nicola Fuller is the centre-piece and everything else is set in the context of her mother's vivacity, eccentricity and bouts of depression. Her mother's family origins in the Isle of Skye makes it all the more surprising that Nicola Fuller should have Kenya in her blood.

She left Kenya soon after independence when the life they had known was gone for ever and amazingly they moved to Rhodesia and soon found themselves on the frontline, literally, in the war which eventually brought Mugabe to power. After a spell in Derbyshire the family returned to Africa, Zambia this time, and that is where this story finishes, on the family's banana and fish farm on the banks of the Zambezi.

A wonderful story, very well told.

See Alexandra Fullers other books Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood; Scribbling the Cat;both set in the African bush and the painful but gripping story of The Legend of Colton H Bryant which is set in Ms Fuller's adopted homeland of USA.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on 24 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I (as did many others) loved Fuller's first book and was fascinated by Alexandra's mother. This book is a biography of Nicola {Alexandra's mother} in much greater detail as it starts from Nicola's childhood told from the perspective of her daughter (Alexandra). A great tale of a life lived to the full; not an easy life, but one lived passionately by a brave and proud lady. A wonderful book written by an excellent author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. A. Gower on 15 April 2013
Format: Paperback
It has been some time since I read DLTDGOT but this book didn't make as big impression. The focus is on the life of Alexandra's mother which although fleshes out the character encountered in the original book and provides deeper context, probably does not warrant a book in itself. The book relates a colonial life from Scotland, to Kenya to Rhodesia then post-Zimbabwe exile in Malawi and Zambia. Although difficult to explain despite being a raciest alcoholic, Alexandra's mother seems like a good fun character.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lala Woods on 28 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book, it resonates hugely with me. It's not just about Nicola Fuller of Central Africa. It's about Africa itself, the one we who come from Africa all love. Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa. The descriptions, both of the land and the people of every denomination are so recognisable.
Nicola Fuller of Central Africa (for that is how this fascinating woman describes herself) is lovingly portrayed by her daughter, warts and all, and I fell completely in love with her and her patient husband Tim.
Whilst this book is dominated by Nicola Fuller of Central Africa, Tim is not neglected. Portrayed so well with gentle affection alongside his wife, he comes over strong, silent, supportive and desperately trying to make sense of what is happening around him in the only way he can. There were and are many of his kind in Africa.
Alexandra Fuller is a bit out with some of her historical information about Kenya, and so I give her the benefit of the doubt with regard to dates and events both in Kenya and other parts of Africa. Somewhere on the web there is the information that Kenya obtained Independence on 12th December 1964 and this is obviously the source that so many people quote, because I've read it time and again and it annoys me. Kenya obtained Independence on 12th December 1963. It also makes me wary of a lot of information available on the web!
But these details in this book are not that important and only play a small part. They don't spoil an excellent read, a real page turner.
Alexandra Fuller has a wonderful way of drawing you in, holding your attention, and taking you on an adventurous ride with two typical African characters, their children and a whole host of others.
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