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This title in other editions

Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier

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Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier Cover

ISBN13: 9780143035015
ISBN10: 0143035010
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

In Scribbling the Cat, Fuller forsakes the oblique approach of her bestselling debut, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, and tackles the Rhodesian War head-on. Visiting her parents in Zambia, she meets a veteran of the all-white Rhodesian Light Infantry Commando Unit whom we come to know simply as K. Together, they return to the remote bush of Mozambique to confront the disquieting reality of their shared past. "I put in a little bit of history in the first book so readers could orient themselves, but I slipped out of my voice to do that," the author explains. "I needed to write the second book so I could explore the war from an adult's perspective."
Recommended by Dave, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Best-selling memoirist Alexandra Fuller travels with a strangely charismatic Rhodesian war veteran into a modern-day heart of darkness.

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 K.

K 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 more 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 civilians — and K, like all the veterans of the war, has blood on his hands.

Driven by K's memories, Fuller and K decide to enter the heart of darkness in the most literal way — by 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 more hardened and more vulnerable than elsewhere.

Scribbling the Cat is an engrossing and haunting look at war, Africa, and the lines of sanity.

Review:

"Memoirist Fuller (Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight) describes this book, about her friendship with a Rhodesian war veteran, as 'a slither of a slither of a much greater story.' This disclaimer doesn't excuse the book's thinness, as it traces Fuller's journey with the white ex-soldier, K, from his farm in Zambia through Zimbabwe and into Mozambique, to the battlefields of more than two decades ago. Fuller evokes place and character with the vivid prose that distinguished her unflinching memoir of growing up in Africa, but here she handles subject matter that warrants more than artful word painting and soul-searching. Writing about war — its scarred participants, victims and territory — Fuller skimps on the history and politics that have shaped her and her subjects. Her personal enmeshment with K is the story's core. She's enamored of his physical beauty and power, and transfixed by his contradictions: K's capacity for both violence and emotional vulnerability, his anger and generosity, the blood on his hands and the faith he relies on (he's a born-again Christian) to cope with his demons. Fuller becomes K's confessor, and the journey turns into a kind of penance for her complicity, as a white girl in the 1970s, in a war of white supremacy. When K recounts how he tortured an African girl, Fuller swallows nausea and thinks, 'I am every bit that woman's murderer.' Fuller and K embark on their road trip ostensibly for the shell-shocked man to get beyond his 'spooks' and for Fuller to write about it, but this motivation makes for a rather static journey. Photos. (On sale May 10) Forecast: Don't Let's Go received rave reviews, and readers of that book will probably want to read this new one. A 10-city author tour, national review coverage and national media attention will drive interest." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A worried, restless, and haunted piece of work, tattooed and scarred from beginning to end." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[U]nflinching...an extremely powerful book, one that takes readers into a complex, deep-seated, and ongoing conflict and sees through to its heart. Fuller is a truly gifted and insightful writer." Kristine Huntley, Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"One of the strangest, best books ever about the ravages of war." Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

Review:

"Scribbling the Cat is an unflinching look at the scars inflicted by war, but it's also a masterfully written travelogue. Fuller's portrait of the African landscape — where 'the air seemed softly boiling with song' — is so entrancing that her reader yearns to experience it, even as K describes the atrocities it once hosted." Outside Magazine

Review:

"Scribbling the Cat may be read as a love story from Africa, baring its own troubled history page by fascinating page...It is Fuller's hallucinatory yet rock-solid narrative that lends Scribbling the Cat its unforgettable power and its vivid, thought provoking charms." Elle

Review:

"[I]n the end, this is a beautiful and powerfully moving account that gives us some insight into the tragedy of Africa today. If curiosity scribbled (that is, killed) the cat, then let yourself be scribbled. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Synopsis:

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 K.

K 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 more 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 civiliansandmdash;and K, like all the veterans of the war, has blood on his hands.

Driven by K's memories, Fuller and K decide to enter the heart of darkness in the most literal wayandmdash;by 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 more hardened and more vulnerable than elsewhere.

Scribbling the Cat is an engrossing and haunting look at war, Africa, and the lines of sanity.

Synopsis:

With the same disarmingly unguarded prose that won her critical acclaim for Do‛t Le‛s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller tells of her unusual friendship with“”—a white African and veteran of the brutal, racially divided Rhodesian War. An engrossing and haunting tale of love, godliness, hate, war, and survival, Scribbling the Cat recounts the journey she makes with K into the lands that hold the scars of their war, from Zambia through Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and into Mozambique. Driven by memories, they venture deeper into the countrie‛ remote bush, where they encounter other veterans and survivors and confront the demons of ‛s past: a violent war marked by racial strife, jungle battles, torture, and the murdering of innocent civilians.

About the Author

Alexandra Fuller was born in England in 1969 and in 1972 she moved with her family to a farm in Rhodesia. After that country's civil war in 1981, the Fullers moved first to Malawi, then to Zambia. Fuller's first book, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, was a national best-seller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2002, and a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and was chosen the BookSense Best Nonfiction Book of the Year 2002.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

jksquires, December 16, 2012 (view all comments by jksquires)
After having read the wonderful "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" I'm reading everything by Alexandra Fuller. War torn Africa, and her growing up there, is truly in Fuller's DNA and her perspective on "K" the complex, conflicted veteran of brutal African wars is powerful, sometimes brutal, but utterly fascinating. Fuller is a treasure and I'm eager to read her next book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Clay Diva, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by Clay Diva)
It's a great read and full of dark humor. Covers periods of war torn Africa's history that we need to be reminded of as a backdrop to the tragedies which continue right now. Compelling reading, puts real human faces on those individuals whose lives are changed every day by the conflicts of almost endless African wars. Her bold, direct style is inimitable.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
ladybug2814, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by ladybug2814)
This book is so honest and full of insight on the impact of war - on both those who support one and those who fight one. It has much relevance for a world wrought with many wars.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143035015
Author:
Fuller, Alexandra
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Africa
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
Travelers
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Africa - South - General
Subject:
Africa - General
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20050431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w photos throughout
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.22x5.10x.49 in. .42 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Africa » Zimbabwe
History and Social Science » World History » Africa
History and Social Science » World History » General
Travel » Africa » General
Travel » Travel Writing » Africa and Middle East
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier Used Trade Paper
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143035015 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In Scribbling the Cat, Fuller forsakes the oblique approach of her bestselling debut, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, and tackles the Rhodesian War head-on. Visiting her parents in Zambia, she meets a veteran of the all-white Rhodesian Light Infantry Commando Unit whom we come to know simply as K. Together, they return to the remote bush of Mozambique to confront the disquieting reality of their shared past. "I put in a little bit of history in the first book so readers could orient themselves, but I slipped out of my voice to do that," the author explains. "I needed to write the second book so I could explore the war from an adult's perspective."

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Memoirist Fuller (Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight) describes this book, about her friendship with a Rhodesian war veteran, as 'a slither of a slither of a much greater story.' This disclaimer doesn't excuse the book's thinness, as it traces Fuller's journey with the white ex-soldier, K, from his farm in Zambia through Zimbabwe and into Mozambique, to the battlefields of more than two decades ago. Fuller evokes place and character with the vivid prose that distinguished her unflinching memoir of growing up in Africa, but here she handles subject matter that warrants more than artful word painting and soul-searching. Writing about war — its scarred participants, victims and territory — Fuller skimps on the history and politics that have shaped her and her subjects. Her personal enmeshment with K is the story's core. She's enamored of his physical beauty and power, and transfixed by his contradictions: K's capacity for both violence and emotional vulnerability, his anger and generosity, the blood on his hands and the faith he relies on (he's a born-again Christian) to cope with his demons. Fuller becomes K's confessor, and the journey turns into a kind of penance for her complicity, as a white girl in the 1970s, in a war of white supremacy. When K recounts how he tortured an African girl, Fuller swallows nausea and thinks, 'I am every bit that woman's murderer.' Fuller and K embark on their road trip ostensibly for the shell-shocked man to get beyond his 'spooks' and for Fuller to write about it, but this motivation makes for a rather static journey. Photos. (On sale May 10) Forecast: Don't Let's Go received rave reviews, and readers of that book will probably want to read this new one. A 10-city author tour, national review coverage and national media attention will drive interest." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A worried, restless, and haunted piece of work, tattooed and scarred from beginning to end."
"Review" by , "[U]nflinching...an extremely powerful book, one that takes readers into a complex, deep-seated, and ongoing conflict and sees through to its heart. Fuller is a truly gifted and insightful writer."
"Review" by , "One of the strangest, best books ever about the ravages of war."
"Review" by , "Scribbling the Cat is an unflinching look at the scars inflicted by war, but it's also a masterfully written travelogue. Fuller's portrait of the African landscape — where 'the air seemed softly boiling with song' — is so entrancing that her reader yearns to experience it, even as K describes the atrocities it once hosted."
"Review" by , "Scribbling the Cat may be read as a love story from Africa, baring its own troubled history page by fascinating page...It is Fuller's hallucinatory yet rock-solid narrative that lends Scribbling the Cat its unforgettable power and its vivid, thought provoking charms."
"Review" by , "[I]n the end, this is a beautiful and powerfully moving account that gives us some insight into the tragedy of Africa today. If curiosity scribbled (that is, killed) the cat, then let yourself be scribbled. Highly recommended."
"Synopsis" by ,

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 K.

K 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 more 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 civiliansandmdash;and K, like all the veterans of the war, has blood on his hands.

Driven by K's memories, Fuller and K decide to enter the heart of darkness in the most literal wayandmdash;by 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 more hardened and more vulnerable than elsewhere.

Scribbling the Cat is an engrossing and haunting look at war, Africa, and the lines of sanity.

"Synopsis" by , With the same disarmingly unguarded prose that won her critical acclaim for Do‛t Le‛s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller tells of her unusual friendship with“”—a white African and veteran of the brutal, racially divided Rhodesian War. An engrossing and haunting tale of love, godliness, hate, war, and survival, Scribbling the Cat recounts the journey she makes with K into the lands that hold the scars of their war, from Zambia through Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and into Mozambique. Driven by memories, they venture deeper into the countrie‛ remote bush, where they encounter other veterans and survivors and confront the demons of ‛s past: a violent war marked by racial strife, jungle battles, torture, and the murdering of innocent civilians.
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