Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness tells 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.
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`Despite its tragic backbone, this book has much more humour than its predecessor. Fuller gives her mother a droll, laconic voice that makes it a pleasure to read. Her achievement is to have turned her mother's complicated, gallant life into a deeply felt memoir with perfect comic timing' --Sunday Times
`Nicola, Fuller, the last of her kind, booms and bosses her way through these beautifully written pages, a comic-tragic patriot of no clear nationality permanently out of place in the place she refuse to leave, at home in her own homelessness. Her parents, Fuller accepts, belong to a generation that was selfish and short-sighted but, as he puts it, "most of us don't pay so dearly of our prejudices, our passions, our mistakes. Lots of places, you can harbour the most ridiculous, the most ruining, the most intolerant beliefs and be hurt by nothing more than your own thoughts' --Daily Telegraph
Alexandra Fuller was born in England in 1969 and in 1972 she moved with her family to a farm in Rhodesia. After the civil war there in 1981, the Fullers moved first to Malawi, then to Zambia. She now lives in Wyoming and has three children.
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Book Description Penguin (Non-Classics), 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 143121863