heatherfromthegrove’s story spotlight for today: “Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness” by Alexandra Fuller

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Monday, July 15 – Saturday, July 20

FICTION

@  heatherfromthegrove!

Enjoy some good summer reading.

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“My mother has no patience with questions that begin, ”What if.” But I spend a great deal of my time circling that insensible eddy. What if we had been thinking straight? What if the setting of our lives had been more ordinary? What if we’d tempered passion with caution? “What-ifs are boring and pointless,” Mum says. Because however close to irreparably deep madness my mother had gone in her life, she does not now live in a ruined, regretful, Miss Havisham world and she doesn’t wish any of her life away, even the awful, painful, damaging parts. “What-ifs are the worst kind of post-mortem,” she says. “And I hate postmortems. Much better to face the truth, pull up your socks and get on with whatever comes next.”       

 — from Cocktail Hour Under The Tree of Forgetfulness, by Alexandra Fuller

The title of this book lured me in … and I was not disappointed.  This is a love story — a daughter’s ode to her mother.  It’s a real-life account of  a family’s resilience and loyalty, love wrought with pain and hardship, passion for land and country, a near descent into madness and the uphill struggle to regain some semblance of sanity — all told against a rich, vibrant canvas that was and is the untamed beauty and brutal violence of Central and Southern Africa.

Alexandra Fuller writes this candid and insightful family memoir from the perspective of both observer and participant.  She is a gifted storyteller whose beautifully crafted words and wry sense of humor caused me to tango between bouts of laughter and tears, as I read this book in one sitting.

As a writer, I admire this author’s talent and unabashed honesty. 

As a reader, I was enraptured from page 1. 

I intend to read this book a few more times, just to savour it.  I have also gone on to read what Nicola Fuller of Central Africa refers to as her daughter’s “Awful Book.”  (Note: You’ll have to read  “Cocktail Hour …” to  know what I’m referring to!!)

This book is a must-read. 

Other books by Alexandra Fuller:

Getting lost inside a book

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“I go back to the reading room, where I sink down in the sofa and into the world of The Arabian Nights. Slowly, like a movie fadeout, the real world evaporates. I’m alone, inside the world of the story. My favourite feeling in the world.” 
― Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore

The great outdoors is my “reading room” this summer.  Whether lying down on a carpet of grass, sitting cross-legged on a terry cloth towel by the beach, or curled up in my comfy patio armchair — nature provides the perfect ambience for reading.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of fiction week, here at heatherfromthegrove. Each day, from Monday through Saturday, I’ll be spotlighting one novel/author. Summertime is ideal for catching up on all the books you’ve been meaning to read.  I hope that you will find my recommendations helpful and I would love to hear back from you, with some of your own favorites!

Cheers,

Heather

Image via guardian.co.uk (photograph: Kevin Mackintosh/Getty Images)