Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In October I read: Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Any Alexandra Fuller fans out there? I read her first two books (Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Scribbling the Cat) shortly after coming home from Africa. I was desperate to get my hands on anything that brought back the sound of crickets at night, Muslim prayers at dawn, and the constant sweeping of red Ugandan dirt. They didn't disappoint.

Imagine my delight when I heard Fuller had another book in the works. I put Cocktail Hour on pre-order back in June, and waited for the release date. Another gem. In this book, she writes more about her family history, how her parents ended up in Africa in the first place, and how her immediate family was affected by the choice to live there. Interesting stuff: riveting, heartbreaking, rollicking. Her family members sound like wildly likable characters.

In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Alexandra Fuller braids a multilayered narrative around the perfectly lit, Happy Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood; the boiled cabbage grimness of her father's English childhood; and the darker, civil war- torn Africa of her own childhood. 
The family photos she includes are wonderful (you can also see them on the Amazon listing).

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. An amazing account of coming of age in Africa. The captivating language has the effect of making you feel as if you're one of the family, sitting under the tree, and listening to the stories in person. Upon finishing the book I found myself with the awesome feeling that I actually knew the land and its people. Fantastic read, highly recommended.