Posted 20 hours ago

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

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The author has that rare gift, being able to speak to us through the eyes and mind of the child that she was. The other reason I really enjoyed this book was the sometimes startlingly candid and dispassionate voice of the narration. 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. 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. A German aid worker "is keen on saving the environment, which, until then, I had not noticed needed saving".

As a very young child, when she is bitten by a tick, the nanny and cook put down their tea and frown at her, but they will not look downthere. Here it is so hot that “the flamboyant tree outside cracks to itself, as if already anticipating how it will feel to be on fire”. As a kid, you have no idea your parents are racist, so it can be uncomfortable to read of this families ideas of blacks, but also deeply informing. 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.In Rhodesia we are born and then the umbilical cord of each child is sewn straight from the mother into the ground, where it takes root and grows. Their swimming pools are choked with algae, alive with scorpions, dotted with the small faces of monitor lizards that obscure hanging bodies, four- to six-feet long.

She gives an account of meeting the first black student to transfer from his former boarding school, talking to him, finding out that he is polite and doesn’t have the stereotyped “African manners” and that his family is much better off financially than any of the white students’. It is a true story of a white girl growing up in Africa during the civil war, and it smacks of colonialism and racism, both of which I dislike. 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 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. The story centers on Fuller's parents, unreconstructed white settlers who were stunned to see Rhodesia fall.We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. The family clearly love Africa - but it certainly wasn't easy for them and they seemed to move between countries very easily. When I left Africa, I left the book behind for someone else to read (reading material is in short supply for PCV's) and didn't mind a lick that I hadn't finished it. This is the only hint of commentary that really came through, with the implication that this was the first time Fuller started re-evaluating what she had been told to think her entire life, instead reflecting on her firsthand experiences. Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book award, a story of civil war and a family's unbreakable bond.

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