“I lie with my arms over the cat, awake and waiting. African dawn, noisy with animals and the servants and Dad waking up and a tractor coughing into life somewhere down at the workshop, clutters into the room.”
Another in my 52 Books Around the World Challenge, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is exactly the kind of book I have been hoping for in my quest to immerse myself in another country. Ms. Fuller grew up in Africa, the opening lines of the book taking place in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). There is such a sense of place in this memoir, you can see it, smell it, taste it. And be horrified by it. And be in awe of it.
And yet, it is not just about Africa. It is about a young girl living, coming of age, and finding out where she belongs. Because a white girl in Africa does not really belong there, and she knows it. But on the other hand, it is home, and even when she is grown and lives an ocean away, her soul longs to return there.
It is also about the struggles of one very dysfunctional family. Gun toting, racist, imperialist, daily drunken stupor-ish, impoverished farmers are Alexandra’s parents. And she loves them, as most children love their parents. Her descriptions are haunting and loving at the same time.
Truly glad to have read this book.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2001