Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: Leaving Before the Rains Come - Alexandra Fuller

Title:  Leaving Before the Rains Come

Publisher: 26th February 2015 by Random House UK, Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781473521032
Pages: 272 pages
How I Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: autobiography, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, African culture
My Rating:  four cups


"I believed that if I moored myself to Charlie, I would know tranquillity interspersed with organized adventure. He would stay in Zambia because he loved the romance of it. I could remain here, safely. Our lives would be the 'three rifles, supplies for a month and Mozart' of Out of Africa without the plane crashes, syphilis and Danish accent." In 1992 Alexandra Fuller embarked on a new journey, into a long, tempestuous marriage to Charlie Ross, the love of her life. In this frank, personal memoir, a sequel to Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight, she charts their twenty years together, from the brutal beauty of the Zambezi to the mountains of Wyoming - the new adventures, the unexplored paths, the insurmountable obstacles ...and the many signals that they missed along the way.

My thoughts:

“The truth is, most of the things that change the course of our lives, happen in fleeting unguarded moments; grief buckling us at the knees; fear shattering through us like buckshot; love pulling us out on an unseen tide”.

Having read Fuller’s books before, I was really excited to get the chance to read her newest memoir. This time around Fuller examines her life once more from her marriage and the factors that led to its dissolution.

“At night our sighs and exhaustion left our mouths and settled over our bodies: a cloud of unmet expectations, a threatening storm of unbroken promises, a low-pressure system of the unsaid”.

Let me say from the outset, I love Fuller’s writing. For even though it is once again an examination of her upbringing and life, she conveys it so well, that if she wrote it on the back of a paper bag I would read it.  I am never disappointed as she captures the essence of not only Africa but how that impacted upon the way she views the world and her approach to life.

“What did I know about the fifty-five (give or take) countries of Africa? I carried within me one deep personal thread of one small part of it, and it had changed and colored everything”.

This tale, like others, has infiltrated through it, stories of her unusual childhood and the impact her quirky parents have had on the way she views the world. So, whilst a memoir most certainly, it would also fall into the category of relatable musings and thoughts on occurrences in life that we all can relate to. The focus for this instalment is about her marriage, her search and desire for protection and safety amongst the chaos of her troubled family and country.

“I loved my family, but at some point I had lost the mettle and the imagination to surrender to the promise of perpetual insecurity. Instead I chose to believe in the possibility of a predictable, chartable future, and I had picked a life that I imagined would have certainties, safety nets and assurances”.

It is heart wrenching and real, yet eloquent and exquisite.

“Someone had planted me in this soil and I had taken fierce hold. And although I had no illusions – this land wasn’t mine to inherit, none of it belonged to me – I couldn’t help knowing that I belonged to it”.

I am biased, as I adore her writing, highlighting passage after passage for further contemplation. I highly recommend reading something, anything, of Alexandra Fuller’s; if only to experience the magic that seeps from each page into your own consciousness.

“You always think there will be more time and then suddenly there isn’t. You know how it is. You have to leave before the rains come, or it’s too late”.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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