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Publisher's Summary

Alexandra Fuller won worldwide attention, popular acclaim, and critical accolades for her memoir of her childhood in Africa, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. This engaging follow-up explores Fuller’s parents’ childhoods and charts the trajectories of their lives through all the British couple’s experiences in war-torn Africa.

Fuller braids a multilayered narrative around the perfectly lit, Happy Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood; the boiled cabbage grimness of her father's English childhood; and the darker, civil war- torn Africa of her own childhood. At its heart, this is the story of Fuller's mother, Nicola. Born on the Scottish Isle of Skye and raised in Kenya, Nicola holds dear the kinds of values most likely to get you hurt or killed in Africa: loyalty to blood, passion for land, and a holy belief in the restorative power of all animals. Fuller interviewed her mother at length and has captured her inimitable voice with remarkable precision. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is as funny, terrifying, exotic, and unselfconscious as Nicola herself.

©2011 Alexandra Fuller (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Story

Great by both ear and eye

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Fuller's white British-born parents loved their life in colonial Africa until the war for independence forced them to leave Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, but not Africa. Their story reads like a pioneer saga, full of reckless courage and passionate relationships set against a backdrop of natural beauty and political turmoil. In this second story of her childhood, Fuller, who now lives in America, paints a vivid picture of her inimitable mother, who was as devoted to her Scottish heritage as to the African land she farmed with her husband. If only Katherine Hepburn were alive to play her on screen! We see the mother's British-colonial sensibilities and experiences viewed through her daughter's more critical but loving eyes. I kept wanting to take a break to learn more about the Rhodesian civil war, but I couldn't leave the book. Both Amato, the reader (her some-kind-of-British accent charmed my American ears), and Fuller bring the story and characters alive, balancing tragedy with humor. After listening to this, I began reading Fuller's earlier memoir, "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" on my Kindle, and then picked up "Scribbling the Cat," about a white African soldier, in old-fashioned book form. Reading in print helped me appreciate Fuller's lyrical style and colorful slang ("Cat" has a glossary in the back), but I plan to listen to them all. In any format they're all terrific--you learn, you laugh, you are moved. What more can a reader ask?

What other book might you compare Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness to and why?

"West with the Night" (the first audiobook I ever listened to--I was hooked) and Jeannette Walls' "Half-Broke Horses"

What about Bianca Amato???s performance did you like?

Her skill with reading dialogue, her light touch with humor, and her ability to shift tone subtly, without melodrama, during heavier parts.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Cary
  • Napa, California, United States
  • 09-06-11

Top notch....

I was a little leery at first, approaching this novel, having been bowled over by Fuller's initial star effort "Dogs" but also being slightly disappointed by Fuller's follow-on work. This book is a perfect compliment to "Dogs", full of insight, compassion, grit and finally, courageous in depicting one's irrepressible mother with such fierce honesty yet admiring love and by being, thank goodness, free of victimhood. I was hoping that Lisette Lescat would once again be the narrator, but Bianca Amato more than measures up to the task. Bravos all around!!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Unique story, a life you could not imagine!

Great, fun read, and informative read. This book provides insight into a bit of colonialism, Africa, and relations among peoples and families. More importantly it provides a great insight into what life was like during Colonial times in Rhodesia or Kenya. Fuller writes about her family, their dreams, their lives, and their faults with frankness and love. I bought this book during one of their sales and I was not disappointed. Though I did not read her first book "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" I was able to thoroughly enjoy this book. If you thought your childhood was tough, or your family was eccentric read this book and you will realize that maybe your life was relatively normal. The performance is not 5 stars because the narrator's voice, or accent takes a little getting used to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Gainesville, FL, United States
  • 07-17-15

Not what I expected

But so much more. I expected a quirky story of a white European family living in Africa. That's what this is, alright, intertwined with the story of the traumatic growing pains which accompanied the declarations of independence by several African countries in the 1960's, tragic accidents, lack of good medical care, grief, and depression. But overall, the story of courage to keep going, to keep living, to keep working, loving, moving forward. And ... to have another glass of wine. Beautifully read (and sung)!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • KEITH
  • Canyon Country, CA, United States
  • 10-29-13

Life in Africa during a war of revolution

What made the experience of listening to Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness the most enjoyable?

I love the truth and relationship between the family members. For the main character to have the nickname of a monkey is just the beginning of the joy, not fun, buy heartfelt joy of reading this book. The narator did a fantastic job and made the book even more enjoyable. I remember as a kid hearing of the wars in Africa between the ruling whites and the majority blacks, but this book gives you a feeling of life in that world.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I love the Mom. She is both as trong character and so fragile psychologically. I love that she tries to make a family of artist during the trying time of war

Have you listened to any of Bianca Amato’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This book would not be nearly as interest without Biance. I found that her reading made the book for me. Out of my hundreds of audio books I have listened to she is probably the finest reader I have heard.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I could not stop. I listened to it while driving to work, at the gym or even sitting in my driveway before going in for the night. I could not put it down.

Any additional comments?

I had not listened to Ms. Fuller works before but now have all her audible works on my wish list which I will buy each month. She is like great candy and I will pace myself to enjoy her over the longest time possible. I strogly suggest this work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • betty
  • quakertown, PA, United States
  • 05-28-12

A GOOD BOOKCLUB READ

Would you consider the audio edition of Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness to be better than the print version?

DO NOT KNOW I JUST ENJOY THE AUDIO

What did you like best about this story?

THE DEPTH OFIT

What about Bianca Amato’s performance did you like?

GREAT

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

NO

Any additional comments?

I NEVER WOULD HAVE CHOSEN THIS BOOK TO READ. I DID ENJOY IT. LOVED THE NARRATOR

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved Cocktail Hour

Where does Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favorites.

What did you like best about this story?

Having traveled a little in Zimbabwe I was fascinated with the country and especially how it transitioned from British-led Rhodesia.

Which scene was your favorite?

Nicola (the author's mother) winning her first horse show on a borrowed horse that no-one else could manage,

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, there are three particularly devastating events, but listing them would be a spoiler.

Any additional comments?

The book is written from the POV of the grown daughter who returns to Africa to interview her parents and track down her mother's colorful past. It is beautifully read by Bianca Amato. I kept thinking the author herself was telling the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles
  • Elizabethtown, NY, United States
  • 07-30-12

Charming character describes her African life

Would you consider the audio edition of Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness to be better than the print version?

Cant say.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Obviously Nicola Fuller of Central Africa

Which character – as performed by Bianca Amato – was your favorite?

The narrator

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The Rhodesian confrontation with liberation fighters.

Any additional comments?

A distinctive voice of a charming, although flawed, woman and the adventures she has lived through in various central African countries over the last 60 years or so.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful story-beautifully narrated!

After having listened to "Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight", I was delighted to see the story continue with "Under The Tree of Forgetfullness". This second book was excellent; as it was able to take you deeper into the incidents and personalities of the Fuller Family! The true life story about the authors life while growing up in Africa was engaging, witty, and very informational. The narration by Bianca Amato was top notch! Bianca is a brilliant narrator whose voice and song captivate you while drawing you into the story. Under The Tree of Forgetfullness was a 5 Star experience for me all the way around!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary family living African history A+'

Where does Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best. I tell people it is a bit eccentric at times and was a great listen. The narrator reminds me the actress, Kristin Scott Thomas. The narration opened up the story in a very grand way.

What other book might you compare Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness to and why?

Gone with the wind

Which character – as performed by Bianca Amato – was your favorite?

The mother, main character.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it was more fun enjoying it slowly.

Any additional comments?

Don't be scared off by the African war element. It was really lovely overall and I recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Laulan
  • 03-21-15

Excellent tale of Africa

Great listen and would recommend to others interested hearing about family life in the bush for expats in a time of

Good narrative

Good storyline