On the shelf: ‘Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness’, by Alexandra Fuller

cocktail-hour-under-the-tree-of-forgetfulnessOn the Shelf Book Review
By Lisa Book, Main Library

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness completes a cycle that the author began with Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, and Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier, spanning a time from the last throes of white-rule Rhodesia, to majority-rule Zimbabwe.

Cocktail Hour comes full circle, and instead of a child’s point of view of the family’s struggles, it’s the author as an adult, looking back on her parent’s long journey. How and why did they come to Africa? Did they really think that there was a place for them there?

“…[T]hose who shed our ancestry the way a snake sheds skin in winter… We white Africans of shrugged-off English, Scottish, Dutch origin…”

There were accidents, assaults, near death and actual death, all against the backdrop of the implacable African landscape, and laced with an extraordinary amount of alcohol.

If you like memoirs like The Glass CastleAngela’s Ashes or All Over But the Shoutin’, this is another one of those rare tales of family hardship and pain, but also of love and courage, with a generous amount of black humor.