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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood [Paperback]

Alexandra Fuller
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

Don’t Let’s go to the Dogs Tonight is a wonderfully evocative memoir of Alexandra Fuller’s African childhood. Fuller regards herself "as a daughter of Africa", who spent her early life on farms in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia throughout the turbulent 1970s and 80s, as her parents "fought to keep one country in Africa white-run", but "lost twice" in Kenya and Zimbabwe. This is a profoundly personal story about growing up with a pair of funny, tough, white African settlers, and living with their "sometimes breathlessly illogical decisions", as they move from war-torn Zimbabwe to disease and malnutrition in Malawi, and finally the "beautiful and fertile" land of Zambia.

Central to Fuller’s book is the intense relations between herself and her parents, a chain-smoking father able to turn round any farm in Africa, her glamorous older sister Vanessa, and the character who sits at the heart of the book, Fuller’s "fiercely intelligent, deeply compassionate, surprisingly witty and terrifyingly mad" mother.

Fuller weaves together painful family tragedy with a wider understanding of the ambivalence of being part of a separatist white farming community in the midst of Black African independence. The majority of the book focuses on Fuller’s early years in war-torn Zimbabwe, with "more history stuffed into its make-believe, colonial-dream borders than one country the size of a very large teapot should be able to amass." This is the most successful dimension of the book, as Fuller describes growing up on farm where her father is away most nights fighting "terrorists", and stripping a rifle takes precedence over school lessons. The sections on Malawi and Zambia are more prosaic, but this is a lyrical and accomplished memoir about Africa, which is "about adjusting to a new world view" and the author’s "passionate love for a continent that has come to define, shape, scar and heal me and my family." --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Like Frank McCourt, Fuller writes with devastating humour and directness about desperate circumstances.' Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Alexandra Fuller was born in England in 1969. She moved to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) with her family when she was two. After that country’s war of independence (1980) her family moved first to Malawi and then Zambia. She came to the United States in 1994. Her book Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize in 2002 and a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award. Scribbling the Cat won the Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage in 2006.
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