Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood

Paperback Picador

By (author) Alexandra Fuller

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  • Publisher: PICADOR
  • Format: Paperback | 300 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 22mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 3 January 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330490192
  • ISBN 13: 9780330490191
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, map, ports.
  • Sales rank: 14,959

Product description

Alexandra Fuller was the daughter of white settlers in 1970s war-torn Rhodesia. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight is a memoir of that time, when a schoolgirl was as likely to carry a shotgun as a satchel. Fuller tells a story of civil war; of a quixotic battle against nature and loss; and of her family's unbreakable bond with a continent which came to define, shape, scar and heal them. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she looks back with rage and love at an extraordinary family and an extraordinary time. Like Frank McCourt, Fuller writes with devastating humour and directness about desperate circumstances ...tender, remarkable' Daily Telegraph A book that deserves to be read for generations' Guardian Perceptive, generous, political, tragic, funny, stamped through with a passionate love for Africa ...[Fuller] has a faultless hotline to her six-year-old self' Independent This enchanting book is destined to become a classic of Africa and of childhood' Sunday Times Wonderful book ...a vibrantly personal account of growing up in a family every bit as exotic as the continent which seduced it ...the Fuller family itself [is] delivered to the reader with a mixture of toughness and heart which renders its characters unforgettable' Scotsman Her prose is fierce, unsentimental, sometimes puzzled, and disconcertingly honest . ..it is Fuller's clear vision, even of the most unpalatable facts, that gives her book its strength. It deserves to find a place alongside Olive Schreiner, Karen Blixen and Doris Lessing' Sunday Telegraph

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Author information

Alexandra Fuller was born in Berkshire in 1969. In 1971 she moved with her family to Zimbabwe and then to Malawi and Zambia. She now livesin Wyoming with her husband and two children. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight is her first book.

Review quote

'Like Frank McCourt, Fuller writes with devastating humour and directness about desperate circumstances.' Daily Telegraph

Editorial reviews

Alexander Fuller was born during a brief sojourn in England before her parents returned to Africa with her and her elder sister. They settled on a farm in the Rhodesia of Ian Smith's Unilateral Declaration of Independence. From the age of two she learned to cope with snakes, scorpions and spiders and to defend herself against anti-white, anti-government marauders. We learn of how her parents cope with the loss of her elder brother through illness and the strain of keeping the family safe. Against the backdrop of the BBC's World Service 'Lillibulero', joyously drunken belligerence by Mum and occasionally Dad, Alexandra and her sister adjust to everything with childish acceptance. With the collapse of UDI, Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe and the family farm is seized by the government and sold. This forces them to move into remote and wild country where a baby sister dies by drowning and another brother at birth. At times almost penniless, her indomitable parents try to make a living against incredible odds. Her mother suffers a nervous breakdown but manages to overcome her personal tragedies with gallantry and humour. Alexandra's father signs a two-year contract to be the manager of the Mgodi Estates for President for Life of Malawi, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who remains in power by murdering his opponents. Tiring of mail censorship, a government spy foisted on them at their expense and the general precariousness of their lives, the family move to a farm in Zambia, whose President, Kenneth Kuanda, won by a landslide at every election at which he was the only candidate. The Fullers bring the farm from dereliction to profitability during the adolescence of their two daughters. This book is an excellent summary of the political events of the time, and much more beside. It depicts all the humour and pathos of family life against the practical, sometimes life and death, choices they face in their difficult life. Fuller's prose sparkles as she brings to life the heat, the smells and the taste of Africa, and she paints an endearing picture of her childish candour, innocence and worldliness. Observant, flippant, concerned, compassionate, this is a narrative touched with magic. (Kirkus UK)