When Alexandra "Bo" Fuller was in Zambia a few years ago visiting her parents, 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: "Curiosity scribbled the cat," he told Bo. Nonetheless, Fuller began her strange friendship with the man she calls K, a ...
When Alexandra "Bo" Fuller was in Zambia a few years ago visiting her parents, 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: "Curiosity scribbled the cat," he told Bo. 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 beautiul prose that won her such acclaim for Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller here recounts her friendship with K. He is, seemingly, a man of contradictions. Tattooed, battle-scarred, and weathered by farm work, K 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 welling up inside with memories of battle. For his war, like all wars, was a brutal one, marked by racial strife, jungle battles, brutal tortures, and the murdering of innocent civilians. Like all the veterans of the war, K 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. What results from Fuller's journey is a remarkably unbiased and unsentimental glimpse at 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.
Alexandra Fuller has written another wonderful book about life in modern Africa.
She shows the reader the dark continent as it stands today, a beautiful, terrible, and frightening place.
My hat is off to the Africans, black and white, who have the resilience to live there through wars, famines, and droughts.
Mar 20, 2009
I read Don't lets go to the dogs and could not wait to read her next work. I found it was like reading someones stream of consciousness. I thought. It did not hold together and left many unanswered questions. What was she doing leaving her children and her husband to chase a dream of what? Alexandra was unclear about what she was trying to find out about herself. I found her to be somewhat lost in her writing and lost in her life, she did not appear to have found the answer in her story.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-03-08 Memoirist Fuller (Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight) describes this book, about her friendship with a Rhodesian war veteran, as "a slither of a slither of a much greater story." This disclaimer doesn't excuse the book's thinness, as it traces Fuller's journey with the white ex-soldier, K, from his farm in Zambia through Zimbabwe and into Mozambique, to the battlefields of more than two decades ago. Fuller evokes place and character with the vivid prose that distinguished her unflinching memoir of growing up in Africa, but here she handles subject matter that warrants more than artful word painting and soul-searching. Writing about war its scarred participants, victims and territory Fuller skimps on the history and politics that have shaped her and her subjects. Her personal enmeshment with K is the story's core. She's enamored of his physical beauty and power, and transfixed by his contradictions: K's capacity for both violence and emotional vulnerability, his anger and generosity, the blood on his hands and the faith he relies on (he's a born-again Christian) to cope with his demons. Fuller becomes K's confessor, and the journey turns into a kind of penance for her complicity, as a white girl in the 1970s, in a war of white supremacy. When K recounts how he tortured an African girl, Fuller swallows nausea and thinks, "I am every bit that woman's murderer." Fuller and K embark on their road trip ostensibly for the shell-shocked man to get beyond his "spooks" and for Fuller to write about it, but this motivation makes for a rather static journey. Photos. (On sale May 10) Forecast: Don't Let's Go received rave reviews, and readers of that book will probably want to read this new one. A 10-city author tour, national review coverage and national media attention will drive interest. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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