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Summary : NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A worthy heir to Isak Dinesen and Beryl Markham, Alexandra Fuller shares visceral memories of her childhood in Africa, and of her headstrong, unforgettable mother. “This is not a book you read just once, but a tale of terrible beauty to get lost in over and over.”—Newsweek “By turns mischievous and openhearted, earthy and soaring . . . hair-raising, horrific, and thrilling.”—The New Yorker Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time. From 1972 to 1990, Alexandra Fuller—known to friends and family as Bobo—grew up on several farms in southern and central Africa. Her father joined up on the side of the white government in the Rhodesian civil war, and was often away fighting against the powerful black guerilla factions. Her mother, in turn, flung herself at their African life and its rugged farm work with the same passion and maniacal energy she brought to everything else. Though she loved her children, she was no hand-holder and had little tolerance for neediness. She nurtured her daughters in other ways: She taught them, by example, to be resilient and self-sufficient, to have strong wills and strong opinions, and to embrace life wholeheartedly, despite and because of difficult circumstances. And she instilled in Bobo, particularly, a love of reading and of storytelling that proved to be her salvation. Alexandra Fuller writes poignantly about a girl becoming a woman and a writer against a backdrop of unrest, not just in her country but in her home. But Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is more than a survivor’s story. It is the story of one woman’s unbreakable bond with a continent and the people who inhabit it, a portrait lovingly realized and deeply felt. Praise for Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight “Riveting . . . [full of] humor and compassion.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “The incredible story of an incredible childhood.”—The Providence Journal
Summary : The author describes her childhood in Africa during the Rhodesian civil war of 1971 to 1979, relating her life on farms in southern Rhodesia, Milawi, and Zambia with an alcoholic mother and frequently absent father.
Summary : Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulnesstells the story of the author's mother, Nicola Fuller. Nicola Fuller and her husband were a glamorous and optimistic couple and East Africa lay before them with the promise of all its perfect light, even as the British Empire in which they both believed waned. They had everything, including two golden children - a girl and a boy. However, life became increasingly difficult and they moved to Rhodesia to work as farm managers. The previous farm manager had committed suicide. His ghost appeared at the foot of their bed and seemed to be trying to warn them of something. Shortly after this, one of their golden children died. Africa was no longer the playground of Nicola's childhood. They returned to England where the author was born before they returned to Rhodesia and to the civil war. The last part of the book sees the Fullers in their old age on a banana and fish farm in the Zambezi Valley. They had built their ramshackle dining room under the Tree of Forgetfulness. In local custom, this tree is the meeting place for villagers determined to resolve disputes. It is in the spirit of this Forgetfulness that Nicola finally forgot - but did not forgive - all her enemies including her daughter and the Apostle, a squatter who has taken up in her bananas with his seven wives and forty-nine children. Funny, tragic, terrifying, exotic and utterly unself-conscious, this is a story of survival and madness, love and war, passion and compassion.
Summary : When Alexandra ("Bo") Fuller was home in Zambia a few years ago, visiting her parents for Christmas, she asked her father about a nearby banana farmer who was known for being a "tough bugger." Her father's response was a warning to steer clear of him; he told Bo: "Curiosity scribbled the cat." Nonetheless, Fuller began her strange friendship with the man she calls K, a white African and veteran of the Rhodesian war. With the same fiercely beautiful prose that won her acclaim for Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller here recounts her friendship with K. K is, seemingly, a man of contradictions: tattooed, battle scarred, and weathered by farm work, he is a lion of a man, feral and bulletproof. Yet he is also a born-again Christian, given to weeping when he recollects his failed romantic life, and more than anything else welling up inside with memories of battle. For his war, like all wars, was a brutal one, marked by racial strife, jungle battles, unimaginable tortures, and the murdering of innocent civilians—and K, like all the veterans of the war, has blood on his hands. Driven by K's memories, Fuller and K decide to enter the heart of darkness in the most literal way—by traveling from Zambia through Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and Mozambique to visit the scenes of the war and to meet other veterans. It is a strange journey into the past, one marked at once by somber reflections and odd humor and featuring characters such as Mapenga, a fellow veteran who lives with his pet lion on a little island in the middle of a lake and is known to cope with his personal demons by refusing to speak for days on end. What results from Fuller's journey is a remarkably unbiased and unsentimental glimpse of men who have killed, mutilated, tortured, and scrambled to survive during wartime and who now must attempt to live with their past and live past their sins. In these men, too, we get a glimpse of life in Africa, a land that besets its creatures with pests, plagues, and natural disasters, making the people there at once more hardened and more vulnerable than elsewhere. Scribbling the Cat is an engrossing and haunting look at war, Africa, and the lines of sanity.
Summary : Looking to rebuild after a painful divorce, Alexandra Fuller turns to her African past for clues to living a life fully and without fear. A child of the Rhodesian wars and daughter of 2 deeply complicated parents, Alexandra Fuller is no stranger to pain. But the disintegration of Fuller's own marriage leaves her shattered. Looking to pick up the pieces of her life, she confronts the tough questions about her past, about the American man she married, and the family she left behind in Africa. A breathtaking achievement, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a memoir of such grace and intelligence, filled with such wit and courage, that it could only have been written by Alexandra Fuller. Leaving Before the Rains Come begins with the dreadful first years of the American financial crisis when Fuller's delicate balance--between American pragmatism and African fatalism, the linchpin of her unorthodox marriage--irrevocably fails. Recalling her unusual courtship in Zambia--elephant attacks on the first date, sick with malaria on the wedding day--Fuller struggles to understand her younger self as she overcomes her current misfortunes. Fuller soon realizes that what is missing from her life is something that was always there: the brash and uncompromising ways of her father, the man who warned his daughter that "the problem with most people is that they want to be alive for as long as possible without having any idea whatsoever how to live." Fuller's father--"Tim Fuller of No Fixed Abode" as he first introduced himself to his future wife--was a man who regretted nothing and wanted less, even after fighting harder and losing more than most men could bear. Leaving Before the Rains Come showcases Fuller at the peak of her abilities, threading panoramic vistas with her deepest revelations as a fully grown woman and mother. Fuller reveals how--after spending a lifetime fearfully waiting for someone to show up and save her--she discovered that, in the end, we all simply have to save ourselves. An unforgettable book, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a story of sorrow grounded in the tragic grandeur and rueful joy only to be found in Fuller's Africa.
Summary : This is the story of the author's childhood in the 1970s in Rhodesia.
Summary : From the bestselling author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, a warm and candid memoir of grief, a deeply-felt tribute to her father, and a compulsively readable continuation of a brilliant series of books on her family. You can survive more than you'd believe; Dad had told me that. He'd also told me you can survive more than you want; but it's not always up to you, not the enormous things, those are beyond all control. When her father becomes gravely ill on holiday in Budapest, Alexandra Fuller rushes to join her mother at his bedside. Defiant until the end, together they see out his last days, and then they must navigate the bleak comedy of organizing a cremation and the transport of ashes back to their family home in Africa. As they make this journey and begin to grieve together, Fuller realizes that if she is going to weather her father's loss, she will need to become the parts of him that she misses most. A master of time and memory, Fuller moves seamlessly between the days and months following her father's death, and her memories of a childhood spent running after him in southern and central Africa. And her own life begins to change. She faces seemingly irreparable family fallout, new love found and lost, and eventually further, unimaginable bereavement, holding fast to the lessons her father taught her about how to survive whatever life throws at you. Writing with reverent irreverence of the rollicking misadventures of her mother and father, bursting with pandemonium and tragedy, here is a story of joy, resilience, and vitality, from a writer at the very height of her powers.
Summary : Colton H. Bryant grew up in Wyoming and never once wanted to leave it. Wyoming loved him and he loved it back. Two things helped Colton get through school and the neighbourhood bullies: his best friend Jake and his favourite mantra: Mind over matter-- which meant to him: if you don't mind, it don't matter. Colton and Jake grew up wanting nothing more that the freedom to sleep out under the great Wyoming night sky, and to be just like Jake's dad, Bill, a strong, gentle man of few words who can ride rodeo like nobody's business. When Colton started work as a driller on a rig, despite his young wife begging him to quit, he claimed it was in his blood. Colton did die young and he died on the rig -- falling to his death because the oil company neglected to spend the $2,000 on safety rails. His family received no compensation. The strong, sad story of Colton H. Bryant's life could not be told without the telling of the land that grew him, where there are still such things as cowboys roaming the plains, where it is relationships that get you through and where a simple, soulful and just man named Colton H. Bryant lived and died.
Summary : Peter Godwin, an award-winning writer, is on assignment in Zululand when he is summoned by his mother to Zimbabwe, his birthplace. His father is seriously ill; she fears he is dying. Godwin finds his country, once a post-colonial success story, descending into a vortex of violence and racial hatred. His father recovers, but over the next few years Godwin travels regularly between his family life in Manhattan and the increasing chaos of Zimbabwe, with its rampant inflation and land seizures making famine a very real prospect. It is against this backdrop that Godwin discovers a fifty-year-old family secret, one which changes everything he thought he knew about his father, and his own place in the world. Peter Godwin’s book combines vivid reportage, moving personal stories and revealing memoir, and traces his family’s quest to belong in hostile lands – a quest that spans three continents and half a century. ‘Heartbreaking . . . Godwin plainly loves Africa, and he captures the baffling wayward contradictions of its people, their cruelties and unexpected kindnesses, their nobility of spirit in the face of appalling conditions, with humour and grace’ Daily Mail ‘A wonderful book . . . beautifully written, packed with insight and free of rancour’ Literary Review ‘A strong, heroic book . . . too vivid to bear and too central to our concerns to ignore’ Edmund White
Summary : Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers’s parents were caught in the cross fire, everything changed. Lyn and Ros, the owners of Drifters–a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains that was one of the most popular budget resorts in the country–found their home and resort under siege, their friends and neighbors expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleads with them to do, they haul out a shotgun and decide to stay. On returning to the country of his birth, Rogers finds his once orderly and progressive home transformed into something resembling a Marx Brothers romp crossed with Heart of Darkness: pot has supplanted maize in the fields; hookers have replaced college kids as guests; and soldiers, spies, and teenage diamond dealers guzzle beer at the bar. And yet, in spite of it all, Rogers’s parents–with the help of friends, farmworkers, lodge guests, and residents–among them black political dissidents and white refugee farmers–continue to hold on. But can they survive to the end? In the midst of a nation stuck between its stubborn past and an impatient future, Rogers soon begins to see his parents in a new light: unbowed, with passions and purpose renewed, even heroic. And, in the process, he learns that the "big story" he had relentlessly pursued his entire adult life as a roving journalist and travel writer was actually happening in his own backyard. Evoking elements of The Tender Bar and Absurdistan, The Last Resort is an inspiring, coming-of-age tale about home, love, hope, responsibility, and redemption. An edgy, roller-coaster adventure, it is also a deeply moving story about how to survive a corrupt Third World dictatorship with a little innovation, humor, bribery, and brothel management. From the Hardcover edition.
Summary : In 1959, just one step ahead of the law, Ian Ferguson’s parents left the sophisticated big-city life of Edmonton and ended up in Fort Vermilion, 846 km due north. It was meant to be a temporary move. Ian’s father lasted ten years before he made his escape; his mother remained until recently. Fort Vermilion, once a fur-trapping frontier town, was predominantly aboriginal, the third poorest community in Canada. Like their neighbours, the Ferguson kids—Ian and his six brothers and sisters—grew up without indoor plumbing, central heating or electricity. Living closer to the Arctic Circle than to the American border, without the influences of television or radio, Canada was a dream to them, as faraway and exotic as England or Australia. Beginning with the dramatic events surrounding his birth—including a paddlewheel ferry heading for destruction, a legendary rowboat trip, and a life-and-death race against time—Ferguson moves on to recreate adventures involving loophole ceremonies, life-saving encounters with indigenous medicines, tea dances, stolen hockey sticks and a boy lost in the woods. Funny with sad bits–and sometimes the other way around—The Village of Small Houses is an unforgettable story that lives, as Ferguson says, somewhere between Angela’s Ashes and Who Has Seen the Wind.
Summary : A leading photojournalist recalls her twenty years of working in some of the world's most dangerous places, including the Gaza Strip, Somalia, the Sudan, and Central Asia, in a volume filled with 150 remarkable photographs documenting her travels with Yasser Arafat, portraits of Muslim culture in America, and other aspects of Muslim life. 12,500 first printing.
Summary : Describes the efforts of a former alcoholic nurseryman, whose near-death experience prompted him to attempt to find the best specimens of the U.S.' 872 known species of trees and use them to propagate their offspring around the world. By the author of A Symphony in the Brain. 25,000 first printing.
Summary : The year's best travel writing, as chosen by series editor Jason Wilson and guest editor Alexandra Fuller.
Summary : Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.