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memories and experience the author’s sense of a divided self. Fuller uses a quirky, hyphenated nonsense-speak, running words together in a rushed, child-like way. For example, her mother is “Sleeves-rolled-up-running” and Bobo’s greatest fear is a “terrorist-under-the-bed,” which gives her a “neck-prickling-under-the-bed creeps.” The language creates prose that is raw, spirited, clear-eyed, and absolutely believable. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs ‘Tonight is one woman’s personal story, not a history lesson or sociological study. Historical facts seem as if they were inserted as afterthoughts; they are italicized and seem to float apart from the narrative as a whole. As such, the book stays committed to the child’s-eye view and does not place blame or cast judgment. Fuller does not seek exoneration, and never asks for it. She tells her story, and she tells it well: the narrative is rich with grace and humor, and brimming v ith sensory detail. \(Africa’s smell is “hot, sweet, smoky, salty, sharpsoft. It is like black tea, cut tobacco, fresh fire, old sweat, young Before Dogs, Fuller wrote and failed to publish eight novels about white farmers in what was then Rhodesia. She was finally inspired to write her own story after reading Mary Karr’s unflinchingly hon est 1995 memoir, The Liar’s Club. Fuller’s memoir, now in it’s fourth printing, has been nominated for the Guardian’s First Book Award in the United Kingdom. The brutal honesty of the book constitutes both its strength and, for some, its glaring weakness. The book, which has been translated into 12 languages, has prompted much discussion among critics. Audiences have responded with mixed reactions. \(At one U.S. reading Fuller was asked, “What right do you Fuller makes no overtures to political correctness or cultural sensitivity. Rather than paint her parents as one-dimensional colonial relics who are hateful and racist, she offers portraits that are more troubling and complex precisely because they reveal her conflicted love for them. Throughout her life, memories of her African childhood have acted as a spiritual anchor. These memories and her neither-this-nor-that identity have created a “pulse” that runs through her; a pulse that is held together and perpetuated by longing: “I want to open my arms into the sweet familiarity of home. The incongruous, lawless, joyful, violent, upside-down, illogical certainty of Africa.” So where is she now? Fuller claims to have “plucked a new, different, worldly soul for myself” I wondered if this, by its echoes of privilege and entitlement, was some vestige of colonialism. Who doesn’t live with some kind of split identity, even if they weren’t raised as a colonial expatriate in Africa? Certainly an in-depth explanation of her present life runs the risk of being expository and overly self-conscious, even apologetic \(which she carefully avoids the book ends abruptly with a series of flatly delivered facts that do little to connect the adult Alexandra with the child. But that’s why authors write sequels. Fuller and her husband \(a their customized mountain home in Jackson Hole,Wyoming to Tanzania, where she will continue to write and her family will be separated from the “celebration of wealth” and irresponsible consumerism she feels are endemic to American culture. She has also been back to Zimbabwe, writing for The London Guardian. What she has found there is nothing short of a hellish nightmare. President Robert Mugabe’s peace and reconciliation processjust a “brief dream”has done little to assuage the resentments of war and desire for vengeance that generate from centuries of living with an unfair system. Those who oppose Mugabe’s iron-hand militia quickly join the “rows of displaced, starving people, hunched on Harare’s main streets.” Boy-soldiers swing their guns in the street; people line up for days trying to cross the border out of Zimbabwe. Fuller concludes that “Zimbabwe has become a haunted larda country without a voice.” In the midst of the crisis that has silenced its people, Zimbabwenow more than everneeds strong truthtellers. In a recent article, Fuller described a bus trip to her family’s old ranch. Her seat partner, an old woman with sores on her feet, turns to Fuller and says, “You people should pay attention to what is happening in Zimbabwe, not because half of us will die in the next few months, but because half of us will live.” Observer intern Emily Rapp Seitz is a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. 1/31/03 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23