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Scribbling the Cat par Alexandra Fuller
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Scribbling the Cat (2004)

par Alexandra Fuller

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6521326,314 (3.77)62
Scribbling the Cat chronicles Fuller's journey through Africa's war-torn history with a battle-scarred veteran of the Rhodesian war. What emerges is a gripping portrait of men who struggle every day with the sins they cannot forget.
Membre:timjdarling2
Titre:Scribbling the Cat
Auteurs:Alexandra Fuller
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L'Afrique au coeur : Carnet de route par Alexandra Fuller (2004)

Africa (201)
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Scribbling the Cat is an easy read and Fuller's simple prose reads like poetry at times. Coming from South Africa, living in America and with family from Zambia, I can certainly relate to her experiences and many of her descriptions evoked strong memories. This is not a book about trivial issues though. At times the content is shocking and profound. For example, some of K's experiences would suggest a callous and hard man. In many ways, he is callous and hard. On the other hand, he is very sensitive, understanding and wise. In a broader context this book encapsulates Africa and its many dichotomies - cruelty and generosity, pain and joy, enormity and scarcity, beauty and horror. In many ways, K reminds us that man has the capacity for good and evil in equal measure. The wonderful nature of this book is that it has a lesson for each of us as we all have the same capacity as K. For example, one of the most interesting aspects of this book is the progression of Fuller. While K is the main focus, we are also able to peer inside the life of Fuller and see what an impact the experiences of K have on her. This underlines both Fuller's incredible ability as a writer as well as her absolute honesty in allowing her life to be laid open for all to read. This book deserves 5 stars. ( )
  Tans2018 | Jan 30, 2021 |
I found Alexandra Fuller's first two memoirs about growing up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe very powerful. This one is also full of insights about an exceptionally dirty war. But growing distaste for the author got in my way. The core of the book is the memories of a former soldier on the losing side; it is very obvious that the poor guy was opening himself up to the author because he was falling increasingly in love with her, and if she had any romantic interest in him, she hides it from her readers.. The word I can't shake off is "exploitation."
  sonofcarc | Jul 18, 2019 |
Real and powerful.A very personal and unguarded memoir looking into the results of war to a former Rhodesian soldier and the landscape on Mozambique. ( )
  Smits | Feb 4, 2018 |
Upon reading the reviews posted here, it seems that those who didn't read Fuller's earlier memoir, "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" didn't enjoy "Scribbling the Cat" as much as those who did. When I first read "Dogs", I was unsettled and confused at the end. Ms. Fuller writes in such a straight-forward, no frills style that I asked myself whether she really understood the policial and socio-economic context in which her family, as white Rhodesians, were living in as she looked back on her childhood. Her story haunted me and stayed with me: the photograph of her, at around age 5, stripping down, cleaning and reassembling her father's shot gun is imprinted on my brain. To her, that wasn't outrageous: that was life.

In "Scribbling the Cat", the effect living through a war had on the author is clearer. In this book, she meets a white Rhodesian soldier and travels with him through the places he fought in an attempt to exorcise his demons. She meets other veterans who are still struggling with their war-time experiences, often with the help of religion or alcohol. This is a very personal account of the impact of war; the book doesn't deal with the economy or political fall-out.

Again, Ms. Fuller's writing style is gripping in its straight-forward, non-judgemental honesty. Her perspective adds a lot to understanding what compels people to stay and fight for their homeland. ( )
1 voter LynnB | Feb 5, 2012 |
Alexandra “Bobo” Fuller was born in Britain and grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) during its brutal civil war. In Scribbling the Cat, she recounts a friendship she strikes up with “K”, a white African and Rhodesian War veteran, and the trip they take from Zambia to Mozambique, a journey to the places of “K”s memories of war.

I’m almost shamefully ignorant about modern Africa, and to that end, Scribbling the Cat did introduce me to a very human level side of Africa. Fuller’s dazzling sentences (peppered with parts English, Afrikaans, and Shona) portray a place of vivid culture and complex lived history—not that of shadowy enemies and forgotten battles but of real daily compromises and consequences. “K” himself is product of all this: a born again Christian, a charismatic macho man, and tempestuously alternately angry about losing the war and wracked by guilt for his part in its atrocities (which to Fuller’s credit she reports unflinchingly).

However, the heart of piece remains elusive. The narrative itself is largely meandering- the goal of “K” and “Bobo”’s journey itself unclear without neither a mental nor physical destination that makes a impression. Writing from a subjective perspective, Fuller is, surprisingly for a memoirist, not terribly prone to self-reflection. She seems to even avoid doing so, lest she risk questioning her own hypocrisies and the true meaning of her heritage as a white African. And writing from the objective perspective, while Fuller very occasionally shows flashes of satirical bite while summarizing the bloody history of Africa , she stops short of truly examining the reasons for such conflict and the true human costs. Ultimately, while Scribbling the Cat is interesting as a portrait of the legacy of the Rhodesian war on one man, it fails to do any more. ( )
  kaionvin | Mar 28, 2011 |
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For two African writers who stared war inthe fact and chose not to look the other way -- Alexander Kanengoni and the late Dan Eldon. With much respect.
And for K and Mapenga. "Only the dead have seen the end of war." -- Plato
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Because it is the land that grew me, and because they are my people, I sometimes forget to be astonished by Africans.
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"K was what happened when you grew a child from the African soil, taught him an attitude of superiority, persecution, and paranoia, then gave him a gun and sent him to war in a world he thought of as his own to defend. And when the cease-fire was called and suddenly K was remaindered, there was no way to undo him. And there was no way to undo the vow of every soldier who had knelt on this soil and let his tears mix with the spilled blood of his comrade and who had promised that he would never forget to hate the man -- and every man who looked like him -- who took the life of his brother."
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Scribbling the Cat chronicles Fuller's journey through Africa's war-torn history with a battle-scarred veteran of the Rhodesian war. What emerges is a gripping portrait of men who struggle every day with the sins they cannot forget.

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