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on 17 December 2011
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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on 16 November 2015
I read this after enjoying the author's first memoir "Don't let's go to the dogs tonight" very much and I loved this book too. This book tells the story of her parents, particularly her mother, and their struggles to find a permanent home in Africa, the continent they love. It is another un-putdownable book. It compliments "Don't let's go to the dogs tonight perfectly". Although some of the family stories described are the same it offers an adult perspective on events previously described by Bobo as a child. As a result, this is a more reflective book and it is at times desperately sad, but it is enfused with humour throughout. The writing is amazing. It is very evocative of time and place and the characters really come alive. I have really missed Bobo, Van and their parents after finishing this book and can still hear their voices and the comments I imagine they would make about different situations long after finishing. The thing that really resonates from this book is love. It is full of love. Love for Africa, and the land, love for her parents and her parents love for each other. Some of my favourite parts are when Bobo's mother encapsulates the conversation she and Bobo have been having in a couple of shouted words for her hard of hearing father - tender, funny and very real! I love this author and cannot recommend her books enough. So glad I found her.
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on 27 December 2011
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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on 28 June 2012
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 November 2013
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Alexandra Fuller

I had to look up when I first came across Alexandra Fuller - it was in 2006 when I read "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight". It had a very dramatic effect of me and besides making me laugh - it made me very sad as well. I then read "Scribbling the Cat" and finished off my review saying "Bobo - did you learn nothing from your mother's behaviour? How could you be so irresponsible?" So I kind of put off reading this book, until my curiosity couldn't keep me away from it any longer.

Oh Bobo - you've done a truly fantastic job with this account of your mother and father!! What a beautiful dedication to your parents. I laughed lots, cried several times and just came away from it with such a good feeling. It never ceases to amaze me how much stress/pain/chaos the human spirit has to endure and the Fullers' have certainly had their huge share of this but ........ laughter has always been close behind, helping them get on with their extraordinary lives.
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on 15 August 2014
This is a besutifully written book ... you get a real sense of her mother as a person as well as the conflict in their relationship. Would recommend to anyone who loved Dont lets go to tne dogs tonight ... gives you more insight into the life they lead in Africa and the passion and strength of character of her parents and their love affair with Africa.
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on 19 March 2015
I loved this book as I was brought up in Rhodesia as it was then, and went to the same school as the Fuller girls though not at the same time. It brought back so many happy memories, but also showed me the changes that have taken place since I left Rhodesia in 1953. It will show readers the pioneering spirit of the country as well as the courage of the settlers.
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on 5 April 2015
This one is more like a journalistic interview with a more detached and investigative Alexandra in the chair interviewing her patents. It is both interesting and poignant and gives insight into personal difficulties of living in a turbulent and dangerous time in African history.
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on 10 April 2015
I think you need to have a bit of an ex-pat experience to truly understand and be able to roar with laughter. It was so good and it is a shame it has all gone.

I JUST MISS THE WHOLE OF AFRICA AND CAN'T READ ENOUGH ABOUT THE WAY IT WAS. MORE PLEase
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on 27 October 2015
Had some interesting historical data in it. A book about someone's mother who was a bit off kilter. Much of it written as a litany and lacked the element of a "good yarn" for me.
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