Monday, January 23, 2012

Scribbling the Cat: Travels With An African Soldier by Alexandra Fuller - Guest Review

Scribbling The Cat; Travels with an African Soldier by Alexandra Fuller
249 Pages
Published 2004 by Penguin Books

A couple of months ago, I read and reviewed Alexandra Fuller's Cocktail Hour Under The Tree Of Forgetfulness which I really enjoyed and knew my mom would as well. I passed that one along to her and it's been making the rounds since, a unanimous hit amongst every one who has read it. My mom enjoyed it so much that she asked for more books by Fuller for Christmas. Here is her review of Fuller's Scribbling The Cat.

"In Scribbling, Fuller again sets her book in Africa in what was Rhodesia but this time we learn very little of her life with her family.  She visits her parents and we again are reacquainted with them but they are secondary to the story.  While visiting her parents, Fuller meets and becomes fascinated with a white gentleman who has fought for many years as a soldier in the various wars that have been so prevalent in this region.  She spends time with this retired soldier and discovers there is a story to be told.

She convinces K (a name she has chosen because she has been very careful to preserve identities and locations to protect her characters) to take a trip with her to trace his war travels and to meet some of his mates from these wars.  She finds this very platonic; K who has become a born-again Christian falls in love with her and is sure God has sent her to be his wife.  They set off in his truck and the story unfolds as they travel through Mozambique to help him save himself from the war horrors.  They meet and spend time with some of his former soldier friends and the characters are delightfully described so you feel as if you have known them forever.  These are rough, war-scarred men who have incredible stories to share.  Fuller uses many of the African terms to add clarity and realism.  Fortunately, she does provide a glossary with definitions.

Again Fuller uses her skills as a writer to describe the landscape, the people, and the poverty that all of these wars have caused.  I finished the book with a feeling of dismay at what the white people have done to Africa but also with what the black leaders have done as they were thrust into or chose to have power. 

In the end both Fuller and K have learned a lot about themselves and separate as protagonists.  It was probably inevitable.

If learning more about Africa and what makes it what it is today is of interest to you, you will love this true story told with a few additions to help protect and to enliven.  I highly recommend the book."

Thanks, Mom, for another great review!


  1. I have never heard of this book, so I'm kind of intrigued. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That was such a wonderful review, and even though I had not heard of this book before, but now I really want to read it and explore it for myself! I am adding this one to my wish list, and will have to let you know what I think of it when I am done. Thanks for sharing your opinions on it with us!

  3. This one sounds totally intriguing!!! Thanks to your Mom for a great and informative review!