Don’t Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, by Alexandra Fuller (Random House, 301 pages, 2002, $17)
Scribbling the Cat: Traveling with an African Soldier (Penguin, 269 pages, 2005, $16)
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness (Penguin, 258 pages, 2011, $16)
Leaving Before the Rains Come (Penguin, 274 pages, 2015, $20.95)
Rains (continued from yesterday)
Rains grabbed me for the cover and for the author. I had read and laughed with Alexandra Fuller in her first book, Dogs, and wanted to relive the laughter. I was not disappointed. I was Fuller – she has that way of writing that puts you into the story. Her writing style is nothing less than magical but it came about with tears and years of living. Fuller first wrote a novel that nobody wanted. So, she wrote a second. And a third. And more. And finally, she tried her hand at her life and struck a vein that speaks to people.
Fulller went to university in Canada and returned home to Africa where she met her future husband, from Wyoming but who grew up on the Main Line in Philly which of course meant to our author that he was from a drug family. So, Wyoming was very doable for our little African survivor and her Charlie Ross, older, stable and a safari guide. Fuller, dreamer and writer, knew the hard land, and fell in love with the steady Ross who also knew the land.
Off to Wyoming
So they were off to Wyoming and horses and frozen pipes in the winter and childbirth alone. Then another child, as Fuller and Ross grew apart – he the quiet steady worker and she the volatile dreamer. The reader glimpses the why but only scarcely, but becomes the strangers, once lovers, on every page – feels what they feel, lives how they live, in sadness and anger and aloneness. For twenty years.
And, in the end, Fuller’s father explains “leaving before the rains come” and you, once again or perhaps for the first time, understand about “going to the dogs.”
In the midst of tragedy after tragedy, one lives life to the fullest in Rains, a classic that makes me want to read Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness next.
Caveat: This book was purchased for review.