Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller

Alexandra Fuller’s memoir Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight has been on my tbr list forever.  It was universally praised and having recently finished Scribbling the Cat I am even more anxious to read it.

Fuller was born in England and moved, with her family, to Rhodesia when she was 3.  Here’s an even more interesting fact: Fuller received her B.A. from Acadia University.  Since I live next door to Nova Scotia –  I feel a certain kinship to her now; she’s an honorary Maritimer!

Scribbling the Cat is Fuller’s story of  ‘K’,  a man she meets on a trip back to Zambia to visit her parents who still live and work there. Fuller has left her husband and two children behind in the States. She does a wonderful job, throughout this book, of juxtaposing those two very different worlds: one of excess and waste and one where nothing is wasted, where potential danger always seems to be lurking.

K  is something of an enigma.  She hears about him before she actually meets him and when she meets him, he takes her breath away.

Even at first glance, K was more than ordinarily beautiful, but in a careless, superior way, like a dominant lion or an ancient fortress.

Of course, I immediately thought that Scribbling the Cat was going to be about a sexual relationship between Fuller and K –  but their relationship turns out to be far more complicated than that. K was a soldier in the Rhodesian war and having grown up there, Fuller is intensely interested in his story. As their friendship develops, she gets the idea that they should journey to the places he had fought. She is, after all, a writer and he is a remarkable subject.

K is an endlessly fascinating subject – he rants, he weeps, he recalls with equal vigor.

Scribbling the Cat is an unflinching look at war – the horrible things people do and how they must find some sort of peace with their actions when the war is over. This is K’s story, to be sure, and it’s a horrific one.  But this is Fuller’s story, too, and it’s a remarkable.

Read for the Memorable Memoir Challenge.

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