Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulnesstells the story of the author's mother, Nicola Fuller.

Nicola Fuller and her husband were a glamorous and optimistic couple and East Africa lay before them with the promise of all its perfect light, even as the British Empire in which they both believed waned. They had everything, including two golden children - a girl and a boy.

However, life became increasingly difficult and they moved to Rhodesia to work as farm managers. The previous farm manager had committed suicide. His ghost appeared at the foot of their bed and seemed to be trying to warn them of something. Shortly after this, one of their golden children died. Africa was no longer the playground of Nicola's childhood. They returned to England where the author was born before they returned to Rhodesia and to the civil war.

The last part of the book sees the Fullers in their old age on a banana and fish farm in the Zambezi Valley. They had built their ramshackle dining room under the Tree of Forgetfulness. In local custom, this tree is the meeting place for villagers determined to resolve disputes. It is in the spirit of this Forgetfulness that Nicola finally forgot - but did not forgive - all her enemies including her daughter and the Apostle, a squatter who has taken up in her bananas with his seven wives and forty-nine children.

Funny, tragic, terrifying, exotic and utterly unself-conscious, this is a story of survival and madness, love and war, passion and compassion.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster,
ISBN: 9780857201270
Branch Call Number: B 968.9104092 FULL
Characteristics: 238 p. : ill. ; 23 cm


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Manateestarz Jun 21, 2017

In this sequel to Let's don't go to the dogs tonight, Fullerton explores her parent's lives more fully. She tries to understand why her parents, especially her mom, made certain decisions. She tries to understand their mindset.
A really good read and a well-written look into the twilight years of British Colonial Africa.

Aug 03, 2015

Very frustrating and quite a disappointment, considering the glowing reviews this book has recieved. Fuller is clearly fascinated by her self-absorbed, scatterbrained drama queen of a mother and by the lurid and bloody legends of her highland Scots ancestors. The author never sticks to one thread of her story long enough to capture a reader's interest and makes things worse by trying to be oh so clever; one can imagine her saying to herself "this will give them a shock" as she throws in another violent little tidbit. I found it impossible to finish the book, had to give up after about 150 pages.

PoMoLibrary Jul 08, 2015

From our 2015 #80DayRead Summer Reading Club traveler Erin: The author tells the story of her mother's life growing up in Africa. A picture of what Africa was like during war times for a white colonial family who considered themselves Africans.

WVMLStaffPicks Jun 01, 2013

This memoir has all the required ingredients: a mother worthy of main character status, an exotic setting (Kenya with its “perfect equatorial light”), and interesting times (end of the colonial era with its accompanying violent clashes). “Nicola Fuller Of South Africa,” as she refers to herself, is proud of her Scots ancestry (“We’re a very mystical, very savage people”), loves animals perhaps more than people, and is a proud believer in white rule (“We were pukka-pukka sahibs”). This portrayal of an exuberant character who rises above personal tragedy and political upheaval makes for a fascinating, evocative read.

Feb 11, 2013

I was excited to read this book because I read the author's first 2 books. It was very good but very similar to her first book and even had some of the same information so although I loved her first book, I wasn't thrilled by this one. My mom read this one before she read "Let's Not go to the Dog Tonight" and she liked it better that LNGTTDT. Maybe this is because the first one you read of hers seems so unique. A second one almost exactly the same isn't so thrilling! In spite of this, I think she is a good writer. Her descriptions of scenery, the deaths of family members, how people eat....anything...evoke visions you can sink your teeth into. I hope A. Fuller writes another book, but on a different subject or a different angle of Africa than she has been doing.

Mar 30, 2012

The author's mother calls herself "Nicola Fuller of Central Africa". The reason is obliquely revealed by the author, on page 131, when she writes: "What Mom doesn't say, but what she means is that she wanted to stay in White-ruled Africa. ... her determination to stay in White-ruled Africa was the costliest decision of her life. The worst kind of costly; life and death kind of costly." Nicola Fuller can't think of herself as a citizen of black ruled Kenya, Zimbabwe or Zambia. This memoir is an amazing chronicle of spirit, industry, doggedness, personal tragedy, and luck. It coincides with the “freedom struggles” in Kenya and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) although the animosities, destruction and death are fleeting nightmares in contrast to Fuller’s prior memoirs.

lmcgovern Dec 09, 2011

A great memoir, written with wit and without trying to tell you how to feel about the writer's family.

Oct 01, 2011

Fascinating story of another time, another world -- although relatively modern. Brits persevere in Africa as the waning of the empire continues. An author's homage to her adventurous, headstrong, amazing mother (pictured on book jacket). Yes, there's racism -- but that's the way it was. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Would recommend Fuller's other book as well.

debwalker Aug 25, 2011

"Cocktail Hour is both Fuller’s book-length salute to the woman who raised her, and a searing critique of the racist views her mother lived by."
Rachel Pulfer
Globe & Mail


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Mar 30, 2012

"... It now seems completely clear to me, looking back, that when a government talks about "fighting for Freedom" almost every Freedom you can imagine disappears for ordinary people and expands limitlessly for a handful of people in power." [p. 29]

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