Thursday, December 26, 2013
When the ship veered into the Cape of Good Hope, Mum caught the spicy, heady scent of Africa on the changing wind. She smelled the people: raw onions and salt, the smell of people who are not afraid to eat meat, and who smoke fish over open fires on the beach and who pound maize into meal and who work out-of-doors. She held me up to face the earthy air, so that the fingers of warmth pushed back my black curls of hair, and her pale green eyes went clear-glassy.
“Smell that,” she whispered, “that’s home.”
Vanessa was running up and down the deck, unaccountably wild for a child usually so placid. Intoxicated already.
I took in a faceful of African air and fell instantly into a fever.
In Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with visceral authenticity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it 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.
Books are available for you to borrow from the Gulford Free Library. We'll talk about this book on Wednesday, January 15.
New York Times review 12/21/2001
Alexandra Fuller's website
LitLover's Study Guide Discussion Questions
Map of Zambia, Rhodesia and Malawi