Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

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I somehow had enough now for a while of all the hardship, tragedy, hurt, and everything else related to the wars in Africa and everywhere else.

This was a great book, pulling me into a very different world from my own, but describing everything in a brisk, vivid way that made it easy to picture. The politics and the everyday struggle to make a living from the land are mixed with family tragedy; a sister drowned, a brother dead from meningitis and another stillborn. Her parents’ wildness is now terrifying to their children and the war seems, at times, just an extension of that fear: “then the outside world starts to join in and has a nervous breakdown all its own, so that it starts to get hard for me to know where Mum’s madness ends and the world’s madness begins”. As she described each stage of her upbringing, I found myself thinking about what I had been doing at that same age and marveling that the two of us could possibly have occupied the same world at the same time. You wouldn't think a five-year-old's mysterious rash would become an instantly awkward incident of politics and race relations.My grandparents spent time in Zambia when my mother and aunt were small, and my uncle was born there, so I suppose, in some ways, it hit home; the segregation, the animals, the low-humming threat of violence, the drinking, the dusty heat. A mother who is heartbroken from a loss of a child, who drinks to forget, who fights tooth and nail for her family. It describes her life in Africa so well that you can almost feel the heat and breath the smells and the atmosphere. Alexandra Fuller’s family arrived in Rhodesia via way of Darby, England in 1966 when she was only a toddler. Being white is a kind of construct, the continent is experienced by Fuller in a way that is overwhelmingly physical, you might even say – given the worms – visceral.

I DID enjoy some parts of the story, I thought her family were colourful and although it was a bit dark at times, humorous too.Admittedly, Fuller’s nonlinear account of her childhood in Africa is a little more eventful than theirs. If I had to give concrete criticisms of the book, the main one would be that she doesn't develop any characters outside of her immediately family (in fact, it seemed her family didn't have any substantial relationships with anyone, other than each other), and even those characters could use a bit more context. Deciding to read more memoirs again, I picked up Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight (first read about 6 or 7 years ago).

By using the Web site, you confirm that you have read, understood, and agreed to be bound by the Terms and Conditions. She had absorbed the notion that white people were there to benevolently shepherd the natives, but came to question it when she met Africans for herself. Spiky euphorbia hedges which bleed poisonous, burning milk when their stems are broken poke greenly out of otherwise barren, worn soil. The book cycles from heartbreaking episodes to moments of crystal clear beauty and life affirming incidents.

I know that a lot of people find great enjoyment from repeat readings, discovering new layers to the story and gaining a better understanding of the book. Though criticized by some other reviewers, this choice to consciously stare everyday white supremacy straight in the face, instead of caricaturizing it or demonizing it, strikes me both as brave and as an important contribution to post-colonial storytelling. These children cheer when they hear the “stomach-echoing thump” of a mine exploding in the hills, because it tells them “either an African or a baboon has been wounded or killed”. These are difficult things to say – get the tone wrong and you will offend almost everyone – but Fuller’s gaze is equally astonishing when she directs it at the bodies of the white people around her. This was Africa, warts and all, observed through the eyes of a child and I found it compelling, often disturbing, and at the same time frequently very funny.

This is her story - of a civil war, of a quixotic battle with nature and loss, and of a family's unbreakable bond with the continent that came to define, scar and heal them.We suddenly jump ahead to her wedding, which wouldn't be horrible, except that suddenly 10 years (or something) have passed since the last event she recounts and since none of the memoir is written from an adult perspective, this relatively short portion is jarring. It's a memoir about a white British girl growing up with her family on various farms in different African countries. Fuller weaves her story back and forth between an intimate portrait of her family and the violence surrounding them.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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