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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told story of great courage and love
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...
Published on 17 Dec. 2011 by N. Bowring

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK'ish but didn't make as big impression as DLTDGOT
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...
Published 23 months ago by Mr. P. A. Gower


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told story of great courage and love, 17 Dec. 2011
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 30 Sept. 2011
By 
Wilhelm Snyman "Wilhelm Snyman" (Cape Town, W Cape South Africa) - See all my reviews
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, charming, touching and irresistible, 27 Dec. 2011
By 
Noel (Belfast, UK) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars great read :recommended if you liked "Let's not go to the Dogs", 24 Sept. 2011
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
3.0 out of 5 stars OK'ish but didn't make as big impression as DLTDGOT, 15 April 2013
By 
Mr. P. A. Gower (Altrincham, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Up there with my favourites, 28 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness (Paperback)
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. We share the good times and the happy times, the sad times and the bad times, the triumphs and the tragedies, the hopes and the dreams, and the very real fears. This is the story of two very human, very brave and some might say eccentric people that it has been my privilege to meet between these pages. I left this adventurous ride a little happier for having been allowed to share it.
Reading this book, turning each page with pleasure, reluctant to put it down, I can say that this is a book not just for Africans but for everyone young and old.
I enjoyed Alexandra Fuller's "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight", I didn't enjoy "Scribbling the Cat". I enjoyed "The Legend of Colton H. Bryant" and I love "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulnes". It's up there with my ten best books, I didn't want it to end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pass it on, 11 Nov. 2011
I loved" Don't lets go down to the dogs ", so much i brought 8 copies for friends . I have read all her books so far (as i hope there will be more ) I read this book in one day , my life just had to go on hold . Alexandra writes so beautifully , about such harsh things ; people landscapes snakes , but always without pity , its just how it is . i feel more alive when reading her account of Africa . She is for me a brilliant story teller .
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful and heartbreaking, 3 Oct. 2011
The star of this book, probably to her surprise, is the author's mother, 'Nicola Fuller of Central Africa' as she calls herself who had described Alexandra's previous work about her childhood as an 'Awful Book'. White settlers are not usually sympathetic figures but Nicola and her husband Tim have lived in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia and built succesful farms and businesses. They have survived war, the loss of three children and dispossession with courage and tenacity. I devoured the book in one sitting to find out what happened next but will go back and read it again more slowly and to enjoy Alexandra's writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After that 'awful book', one focusing on her parents trying to carve out a life in Africa, 9 Nov. 2012
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
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Alexandra Fuller, well known for previous biographical accounts of growing up in Rhodesia and of returning to Zimbabwe as a grown woman - namely Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood and Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier - returns to the same topic, this time from the perspective of her parents.

While she certainly harvested some furore from her mother with her first book - often referred to in here as 'that awful book' - this did not stop this next attempt and even if some of the events covered are the same, you will get a very different perspective here - namely of an adult daughter looking back at the life of her parents from their perspective, rather than from the perspective of a growing child.

The book certainly does an excellent job of portraying the indefatiguable spirit of her parents, who took everything coming their way - from insurrections, lost children, hardships and poverty, to civil wars - and remained optimistic and in love with a continent that so often tried them so thoroughly.

If the tone was different the book could read as a tragedy but the author really manages to distill the uplifting aspects and has done a great job of bringing readers closer to life in Africa as it once was for white settlers, as well as of creating a loving monument to her parents.

As such well worth a read, even if Africa is not your particular area of interest and up there with the author's earlier books, as well as works by Peter Godwin (Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun) and Robyn Scott's Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood as some of the best descriptions of life in Southern Africa under former times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 10 Nov. 2011
By 
M. L. Mears (U.K) - See all my reviews
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A fascinating sequel to "Don't Lets Go to the Dog's Tonight", however I would suggest, that to fully appreciate this insight into the extraordinary character of Alexandra's mother, " Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" should be read first..
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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller (Paperback - 24 May 2012)
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