Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Hardcover – 15 Sep 2011
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`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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is her best book and her vision of Africa comes through clearlyPublished 5 months ago by Dr. Malcolm J. Blackie
Alexandra Fuller's powers observation, superb prose and sense of humour make this tale of the interaction between herself and her parents one which will stay with you for along... Read morePublished 5 months ago by R Cuckow
Very enjoyable book which includes history, geography and family stories. Couldn't wait to read on.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
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. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Michelle Thompson
Had some interesting historical data in it. A book about someone's mother who was a bit off kilter. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mrs S Nour