Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller

87%

26 Critic Reviews

Fuller achieves another beautifully wrought memoir.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

A story of survival and war, love and madness, loyalty and forgiveness, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is an intimate exploration of Fuller’s parents and of the price of being possessed by Africa’s uncompromising, fertile, death-dealing land. We follow Tim and Nicola Fuller hopscotching the continent, restlessly trying to establish a home. War, hardship, and tragedy follow the family even as Nicola fights to hold on to her children, her land, her sanity. But just when it seems that Nicola has been broken by the continent she loves, it is the African earth that revives and nurtures her. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is Fuller at her very best.
 

About Alexandra Fuller

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ALEXANDRA FULLER was born in England in 1969. In 1972, she moved with her family to a farm in southern Africa. She lived in Africa until her midtwenties. In 1994, she moved to Wyoming with her husband. They have three children.
 
Published August 23, 2011 by Penguin Books. 258 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Cooking. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 11 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
All: 26 | Positive: 23 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2011

...a lush story, largely lived within a remarkable place and time.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Aug 22 2011

Writing in shimmering, musical prose, Ms. Fuller creates portraits of her mother, father and various eccentric relatives that are as indelible and resonant as the family portraits in classic contemporary memoirs like Mary Karr’s “Liars’ Club” and Andre Aciman’s “Out of Egypt.”

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 25 2011

Fuller achieves another beautifully wrought memoir.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Aug 24 2011

...she is a writer who shows rather than tells...

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy Goodfellow Wagner on Aug 23 2011

Cheers to Alexandra Fuller for delivering a delightful sequel that doesn't disappoint. I loved this book -- and am experiencing severe drought now that I have drunk it up.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Katie Engelhart on Sep 24 2011

Fuller’s charm lies in her weaving of family lore and African history.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by JULIE FOSTER on Aug 20 2011

Fuller's narrative is a love story to Africa and her family. She plumbs her family story with humor, memory, old photographs and a no-nonsense attitude toward family foibles, follies and tragedy.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by RACHEL PULFER on Sep 26 2011

...Fuller is a memoirist, not a historian, and what is achieved here is a vivid, fast-paced sketch of the twilight of Empire, animated by a cast of deeply compelling characters.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Melissa Maerz on Aug 24 2011

Fans of Don't Let's Go might be disappointed to find many of the same stories recounted with less depth here — Nicola's wrenching mental breakdown warrants only a few pages — but Cocktail really shines when it showcases the matriarch's wicked sense of humor.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by David Robson on Sep 27 2011

What a funny, harrowing, ultimately redemptive, book this is...There will be no more compelling memoir published this year.

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Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Kristine Huntley on Feb 10 2013

A gorgeous tribute to both her parents and the land they love.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Glitz on Aug 25 2011

Fuller brings her mother's world and society fully to life here, as wonderfully as she did in Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight. If you liked that book, don't hesitate.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Gilda Haber on Feb 10 2013

This is a charming book about life lived to the full in the larger-than-life landscape amid changing times.

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Oregon Live

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Cypher on Aug 27 2011

Like the rest of Rhodesians, the Fuller family found itself on the wrong side of history, but in losing the war, a series of farms and three of five children, they tell a complex story of adaptation and reconciliation.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Above average
Reviewed by Katherine Powers on Aug 23 2011

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness suffers in comparison with its predecessor. It draws too much from the earlier book...

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About.com Bestsellers

Good
Reviewed by Bess Newman on Feb 10 2013

She does an admirable job combining the funny and sweet details with the harsh realities of life in Central Africa.

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Boston.com

Good
Reviewed by Judy Bolton-Fasman on Aug 23 2011

It’s an artistic and emotional feat to write about a narcissistic mother with humor, compassion, and ultimately love.

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NJ.com

Above average
Reviewed by Marcia Hecker on Aug 21 2011

The dual focuses of Nicola and her Africa are an uneasy pair — perhaps too much alike to shed light upon one another.

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The National

Excellent
Reviewed by Brian Kappler on Feb 03 2012

From scraps of family history, anecdotes both poignant or hilarious, old family photos and empathetic, addictive prose, Alexandra weaves a candid loving portrait of a woman and her times.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Jon on Aug 16 2011

Fuller's prose is fresh, her eye for detail keen, her sense of humor sharp, and her handling of time--always a tricky task for a memoirist--masterful.

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Story Circle Book Reviews

Excellent
Reviewed by Sharon Lippincott on Oct 01 2011

The book is beautifully edited and full of old photos that bring the characters to life. Frequent references to native African plants and local phrases add more color.

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The Spectator

Excellent
Reviewed by Ian Thomson on Nov 05 2011

This is a life-affirming and altogether lovely book.

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Kepler's

Good
on Feb 10 2013

A story of survival and war, love and madness, loyalty and forgiveness, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is an intimate exploration of the author’s family...

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The Beachside Resident

Good
Reviewed by Mark James on Feb 10 2013

Fuller creates a virtual tour of Africa that’s well worth the read, but also provides insight as to why it’s called the “Dark Continent.”

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Artswrap

Good
on Feb 10 2013

Funny, tragic, terrifying, exotic and utterly unself-conscious, this is a story of survival and madness, love and war, passion and compassion.

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Star News

Excellent
Reviewed by Ben Steelman on Jul 01 2012

A natural storyteller, Fuller avoids sentimentality, and lets her parents tell their version of things in their own voice as much as possible.

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Reader Rating for Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 513 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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