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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by [Fuller, Alexandra]
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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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

Review

Praise for Cocktail Hour: 'In her fourth memoir, Fuller revisits her vibrant, spirited parents, first introduced in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (2002), which her mother referred to as that "awful book." While that so-called "awful book" focused on Fuller's memories of growing up in Rhodesia during that country's civil war, this one focuses solely on her parents: their youth, their meeting, and their struggles to find a home on the continent they are both so passionate about. Fuller's mother, Nicola, the child of Scottish parents, grew up in Kenya, while her father, Tim, had an austere childhood in London. Tim wandered the world before landing in Kenya and meeting Nicola. Readers will recall the hardships the couple faced from Fuller's first memoir: the deaths of three of their five children and the loss of their home in Rhodesia. This time around, Nicola is well aware her daughter is writing another memoir, and shares some of her memories under the titular Tree of Forgetfulness, which looms large by the elder Fullers' house in Zambia. Fuller's prose is so beautiful and so evocative that readers will feel that they, too, are sitting under that tree. A gorgeous tribute to both her parents and the land they love. Kristine Huntley, Booklist Praise for Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: 'Like Frank McCourt, Fuller writes with devastating humour and directness about desperate circumstances.' Telegraph 'As unflinching and honestly told as any White African dares write... ultimately ...a love letter to a continent and its people who will never reciprocate.' Richard E Grant, author of Withnails About Colton H Bryant (but can be used as 'praise for the author') 'Brilliant, moving and almost a new form - factually true fiction' Andrew Marr, Books of the Year, Observer 30/11 'Fuller writes like a novelist, but her story is true and tragic' Christmas Books, The Times 30/11

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 822 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (15 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857201271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857201270
  • ASIN: B005HVKT4O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,958 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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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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