Saturday, March 13, 2010

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight

Love Alexander Fuller's writing voice....The candor and sincerity she uses to speak of her tumultuous British/African childhood makes it seem you are one of the few privileged to read from her personal journals.
Read this book!


"Kelvin almost died today. Irritated to distraction by the flies in the kitchen, he had closed the two doors and the one little window in the room, into which he had then emptied an entire can of insect-killing Doom. Mum had found him convulsing on the kitchen floor just before afternoon tea.
"Bloody idiot." She had dragged him onto the lawn, where he lay jerking and twitching for some minutes until Mum sloshed a bucket of cold water onto his face. "Idiot!" she shrieked. "You could have killed yourself."
Now Kelvin looks as self-possessed and serene as ever. Jesus, he has told me, is his Savior. He has an infant son named Elvis, after the other king.
Dad says, "Bring more beers, Kelvin."
"Ye, Bwana."
We move to the picnic chairs around the wood fire on the veranda. Kelvin brings us more beers and clears the rest of the plates away. Wood smoke curls itself around my shoulders, lingers long enough to scent my hair and skin, and then veers toward Dad. The two of us are silent, listening to Mum and her stuck record, Tragedies of Our Lives. What the patient, nice Englishman does not know, which Dad and I both know, is that Mum is only on Chapter One.

Chapter One: The War
Chapter Two: Dead Children
Chapter Three: Insanity
Chapter Four: Being Nicola Fuller of Central Africa

Chapter Four is really a subchapter of the other chapters. Chapter Four is when Mum sits quietly, having drunk so much that every pore in her body is soaked. She is yoga-crossed-legged, and she stares with a look of stupefied wonder, at the garden and at the dawn breaking through wood-smoke haze and the thin gray-brown band of dust and pollution that hangs above the city of Lusaka. And she's thinking, So this is what it's like being Me."
-Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexander Fuller

1 comment:

Kirsten Huth said...

I really enjoyed this! At first I thought this was something you wrote, and I was thinking 'method acting?' ahaha!!!
It's brilliant!