Monday, March 23, 2015

ALEXANDRA FULLER: OUT OF AFRICA



Alexandra Fuller’s first book, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood was a memoir that startled readers and earned a place for Fuller as an accomplished and original writer. It is the story of a girl whose family moves from England to Africa and lives in Rhodesia during a war that set whites against blacks, the latter who wanted to free themselves from British rule. Young Alexandra’s parents, segregationist farmers who continually choose to live in hostile environments, do not accept that they are interlopers and teach Alexandra to use a gun. Full of childhood observations about life in an Africa, where her infant siblings die and where the environment teems with danger from the flora and fauna and from her parents who drink and fight, this is a fascinating autobiography that reveals an alien world. 

Ms. Fuller’s follow up book is Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, which further relates the story of her continually on-the-move family and focuses on her mother, both an alcoholic and a glamorous woman. Fuller’s narrative mixes present and past as she looks back at her mother’s earlier life that is fraught with humor and tragedy. Readers will cringe at the discomfort of this dysfunctional family, but they will also laugh at the many humorous moments.

Leaving Africa for the United States, the author settled in Wyoming in 1994 and wrote a modern day western centered in that state. The Legend of Colton H. Bryant, non-fiction told with literary license, is about a good-hearted young roughneck oil rigger who falls to his death from an oil well.  Spotlighting the lack of employee safety provided by oil companies, this book is a change-of-pace for Fuller, but still maintains her storytelling skills and ability to engage readers.


Leaving Before the Rains Come is Alexandra Fuller’s newest bestselling book in which she returns to her youth in Africa to probe the origins of her own emotional issues as she and her husband divorce. This is another terrific memoir from an outstanding writer.

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