So the book starts off rather charming People wandering around Africa Zambia, I suppose and just describing the absurdity of the condition Describing the landscape and the people I enjoyed that A refreshing change.
As it continues, we actually begin to notice what aren t really flaws in the Author s character so much as, well, as the reviewer put it, craters You start to see that both the people K and the Author are fairly scarred and unhappy people.
This goes on, and the unhappiness really increases substantially I found the book to have gone from charming and lighthearted to depressing and rather bleak This, perhaps intentionally, seems to coincide with the landscape We start off in Zambia at the downright comical parents fish farm, and continue to a somewhat bleaker K s home, and then back to the States, thoroughly unhappy and indeed missing everything in Africa, and then it gets really unpleasant lost in the African outback, being chased by a pet Lion , and so on.
So while it might be hard to finish, as the change is so drastic although mercifully slow , like other art, it is sometimes painful, and we as readers are compelled to do so.
As another reviewer mentioned, there just isn t a hollywood ending It ends There isn t anything tied up or completed, the threads of the book remain, sadly, frayed That, however, I suppose, is the Author s point.
I d been trying to decide between 3 and 4 stars for the book, and erred on the side of 4 I d probably read it again, but I d make sure to do it at a time when I wasn t looking for anything pleasant or uplifting.
I enjoyed this book very much For me it told an unwritten side of the Rhodesian Bush Wars What happens to these soldiers after the war when they come home
Sure I will love it I have read all of Alexandra Fullers books and enjoyed them I am saving it for my trip to Zambia in June.
What is most striking about a book that contains multitudes of gob smacking passages is Alexandra Bobo Fullers excruciating honesty At every turn in this story of her return to Zimbabwe there is an opportunity for an easier and palatable course Bo s hard drinking hellfire willed and most definitely bigoted mother is shown in all of her grace and courage, rather than an easy stereotype of colonialism, which is an almost impossible balance to achieve with one s own parent Ultimately Bo s decision to enter her own Heart of Darkness with K.
, a brutal, broken and heartbreaking former soldier of the wars for Independance makes sense if there was no other way to heal the damage and accept the beauty that being from Africa has left her with The conditions of their travel hellish heat, corrupt officials and the Furies that lurk at every watering hole and dune and K s sudden outbursts, both intensely savage and tender by turns would make a woman less dedicated to finding the truth at whatever costs catch the first plane out of Africa For an understanding of what war, any war, actually costs this book is unparalleled I heard the author speak here in Wyoming recently and I can t stop thinking about what she said about her attempt to heal herself, to make whole what had been broken in herself and in K She said that what they had done instead was to wrench those wounds open and dig their hands deep inside, gripping the most sensitive, raw depths of each others shame and hurt By laying open these wounds and exposing their flaws without flinching or turning away they were both given a greater gift I shrink to say that the result was acceptance or something easy There isn t anything easy about this book but it is searingly honest and it also bears mentioning really funny in a sort of death may come soon why not crack a joke here, what have I got to lose way.
Scribbling the Cat brought back so many memories of my African childhood as I grew up in the area Ms Fuller describes She has a very descriptive turn of phrase and I could see, smell and hear Africa all around me as I read Ms Fuller is very open about her life and the situations that she finds herself in and I did find myself wondering how that affected her other life in the USA I so enjoyed the book that I will be giving it to my sister for her Christmas so we can reminisce together When Alexandra Bo Fuller Was Home In Zambia A Few Years Ago, Visiting Her Parents For Christmas, She Asked Her Father About A Nearby Banana Farmer Who Was Known For Being A Tough Bugger Her Father S Response Was A Warning To Steer Clear Of Him He Told Bo Curiosity Scribbled The Cat Nonetheless, Fuller Began Her Strange Friendship With The Man She Calls K, A White African And Veteran Of The Rhodesian War With The Same Fiercely Beautiful Prose That Won Her Acclaim For Don T Let S Go To The Dogs Tonight, Fuller Here Recounts Her Friendship With KK Is, Seemingly, A Man Of Contradictions Tattooed, Battle Scarred, And Weathered By Farm Work, He Is A Lion Of A Man, Feral And Bulletproof Yet He Is Also A Born Again Christian, Given To Weeping When He Recollects His Failed Romantic Life, And Than Anything Else Welling Up Inside With Memories Of Battle For His War, Like All Wars, Was A Brutal One, Marked By Racial Strife, Jungle Battles, Unimaginable Tortures, And The Murdering Of Innocent Civiliansand K, Like All The Veterans Of The War, Has Blood On His HandsDriven By K S Memories, Fuller And K Decide To Enter The Heart Of Darkness In The Most Literal Wayby Traveling From Zambia Through Zimbabwe Formerly Rhodesia And Mozambique To Visit The Scenes Of The War And To Meet Other Veterans It Is A Strange Journey Into The Past, One Marked At Once By Somber Reflections And Odd Humor And Featuring Characters Such As Mapenga, A Fellow Veteran Who Lives With His Pet Lion On A Little Island In The Middle Of A Lake And Is Known To Cope With His Personal Demons By Refusing To Speak For Days On End What Results From Fuller S Journey Is A Remarkably Unbiased And Unsentimental Glimpse Of Men Who Have Killed, Mutilated, Tortured, And Scrambled To Survive During Wartime And Who Now Must Attempt To Live With Their Past And Live Past Their Sins In These Men, Too, We Get A Glimpse Of Life In Africa, A Land That Besets Its Creatures With Pests, Plagues, And Natural Disasters, Making The People There At Once Hardened And Vulnerable Than ElsewhereScribbling The Cat Is An Engrossing And Haunting Look At War, Africa, And The Lines Of Sanity I bought this book having read and enjoyed the author s other 2 memoirs Don t let s go to the dogs tonight and Cocktail hour under the tree of forgetfulness immensely This is a very different book, but the writing is still excellent and the people and places come alive through the vivid writing It details the author s relationship with a neighbour of her parents,an enigmatic veteran of the Rhodeisa Zimbabwe war, and her travels with him through Zimbabwe and Mozambique visiting other veterans and battlefields from the war The author s motives for writing this book are complex she seems to be exploring her own conscience with regard to the war in Rhodesia, when Rhodesia was becoming Zimbabwe The result is a very reflective piece of writing that is shocking and harrowing to read and makes the reader think about the wider consequences of war There is very good background information on this conflict and others related to it I re read and highlighted many passages whilst reading and gained a lot from reading this book.
A fascinating story about a complex man and his effort to come to terms with the terrible things in which he was involved in during the attempt to shore up the power held by 250,000 white citizens over the black majority in 1970 s Rhodesia At times a tough read, but Alexandra Fuller s powers of observation and superb prose make this a memorable book.