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Scribbling the Cat
Alexandra Fuller
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Scribbling the Cat

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  3,437 ratings  ·  339 reviews
Thomas Wolfe's trusted axiom about not being able to go home again gets a compelling spin through the African veldt in Alexandra Fuller's Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier. Fuller (Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight : An African Childhood) journeys through modern Zambia, to battlefields in Zimbabwe and Mozambique with the scarred veteran of the Rhodesian ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2004)
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This is the only author that I have given every single one of the books they have written five stars. What is amazing then?
-Her writing. Every line reads like poetry.
-The content. There is so much to think about in Fuller's books. Only on the surface did this book concern the Rhodesian War. It is much more about making sense of our lives, about terror and promises and love. How low can a human being go? And how do we then pick ourselves up and go on? We all have our own demons, how do we get b
May 31, 2014 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fuller fans & Around-the-World-ers
Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier draws the reader in with a dose of the familiar: Bobo, her Mom and Dad drinking together in Africa. But no, this isn't another Fuller family memoir - it is a collection of confessions by K, a former Rhodesian soldier.

K is a very strange man. I never could get a handle on where he was coming from. He clearly suffered from guilt of his past, confusion of where he wanted his life to go and what he believed. K could cuss and praise God in the same

What is it about uncouth 'manly' men that attracts free spirited women?
Alexandra Fuller, leaving her American husband and two children at 'home' in suburban Wyoming,makes an extended Christmas visit to her folks at 'home' on their fish farm in Zambia. In an attempt to come to terms with her past, and not completely comfortable with her new life situation, she seeks to understand the violent events that occurred in her families lifetime,growing up in Rhodesia. She is drawn to K, an ex-soldier
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
The author grew up in Zimbabwe while it was still Rhodesia, during the war. After the war, the family moved on from there. She is now living in the States with family; her parents remain in Zambia. The story opens with her traveling to Zambia to spend Christmas with her parents. During her visit she meets a farmer identified only as K. He was a member of a Special Forces group during the war. Alexandra makes a couple more trips to Zambia over the next couple years and, on one of those occasions ...more
sarah  corbett morgan
Beautiful writing. Haunting story. Like many others who have reviewed this book, I was all set to rip into Fuller for her hinted-at lifestyle and her behavior on the road with these gents. Then, about half way through the book, I realized she has achieved the writer's ultimate goal in writing memoir: she simply lets the reader observe her in action. By seeing her we come to know Fuller and we can draw our own opinions. Some will like her, others not.

It is a brilliantly written book which I high
The author, now living in the USA, returns to Africa to visit her aging parents. When her father is reluctant to tell of his part in the Rhodesian war, she goes in search of other sources. She meets a man she calls only "K", a veteran of the Rhodesian Light Infantry, an all-white unit with a reputation for lethality. Fuller convinces him to travel with her to Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and Mozambique in search of insight. Along the way, he revisits his memories of a brutal war he fought agains ...more
"Scribble" - to kill; as depicted in the end of the book Glossary's guide to the idiosyncratic mix of slang and languages used in the text.

Scribbling the Cat - any little kid (at least from my youth)knows what killed the cat - curiosity. And curiosity is what propels Alexandra Fuller, as an adult and a former Rhodesian to want to know more about a war that tore the country apart during the 80's. To accomplish this mission Fuller revisits her parents in South Africa and persuades a former soldier
Christopher Roth
This book is about a white veteran of Rhodesia's Chimurenga War who is haunted by the past, but it's disturbing in more ways than the author intends. It is really hard to not dislike the author intensely once you read between the lines of what went into this book. First, Fuller, raised in Africa by white settlers but now living in the U.S., publishes a memoir of her childhood in Rhodesia (which I have not read but may yet, if only out of morbid curiosity) which becomes an unexpected runaway best ...more
On a visit to her parent’s farm in Zambia, Zimbabwean author Alexandra Fuller encounters the enigmatic K, a crazed, battle-scarred veteran of the Rhodesian war and a devout born-again Christian. “Curiosity scribbled the cat,” warns Alexandra’s father as she attempts to find out more about the ex-soldier and the brutal war that shaped her childhood. She ignores his advice and, fascinated with K, she leaves her comfortable life in America, to travel with him through the battlefields of the Rhodesi ...more
Alexandra Fuller is a white African who grew up during the Rhodesian War. She goes on a road trip with a charismatic but haunted veteran of the war, retracing his steps and confronting his demons. While you can't help questioning the author's sanity for taking this journey with someone who clearly has a screw loose, it is a close up look at atrocities that have occurred in that part of the world. And while you want to dislike the racist white Africans that you encounter throughout the book, Full ...more
Most writers are unable to clearly see a book through from start to finish. Most writers forget to continue the descriptive prose that keeps the reader in the moment. Most writers cannot separate their personal lives from their writers lives. Most writers are not A. Fuller.
It was difficult for me not to read a few "reviews" about this book before I began. I am usually not one to need another's opinion before I read as it seems to throw paint on my blank canvas. I need a very blank canvas when b
I read this book in one day - a long day of traveling, actually, so maybe that was just a fluke. If i hadn't had anything else to read and if my iPod hadn't died some days before, I probably would have put this down long before finishing.

I'm still processing this book. I think what bothered me about it was the fact that while I was reading it, i kept thinking, "Why on earth was this book even written? As some kind of catharsis for the author?" and basically that's probably the case. Fuller gets
Amanda Patterson
Alexandra Fuller’s first memoir, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2002, a national best-seller and a finalist in the Guardian first book award.

Scribbling the Cat is Alexandra Fuller's story about her friendship with K, a white veteran of the Rhodesian War. Her father tells her to leave him alone.
"Curiosity scribbled the cat," he says.

But Fuller travels with him back to Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). The book is a savage memoir of the brutal war K fought. Th
Africa is mostly a mystery to me though I have recently read a number of books about different times and places in Africa. In this memoir, the author travels with a white African fighter from the Rhodesian war for independence which is not nearly as concise as it sounds. The various fighting groups from Rhodesia, Zambia, Mozambique, and eventually Zimbabwe were interwoven and overlapped so that killing became a lifestyle of competing guerilla groups. I can't help but think that while I was livin ...more
I love the way this woman writes and I give this one more star than Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness which I read right before this book. To me, there is one paragraph that was so provocative I went back into the book to find it because she puts a philosophy into words that I want to meditate on:
"I don't think we have all the words in a single vocabulary to explain what we are or why we are. I don't think we have the range of emotion to fully feel what someone else is feeling. I don
I will read anything by Alexandra Fuller. I may have drifted a bit toward neglect with Ripley as I read this book but it was worth it! Amazing stories of war, but more the pieces after war. Her writing is poetic but not in the annoying kind of way, she describes africa is such a way that I can smell, taste, feel the land. Read this book, it's as simple as that.
Having personally lived through the war period in Zambia, it was easy for me to relate to this book. Gutsy Alexandra Fuller transports you into the very hearts of the guys lost in a battle-free battle zone, men disturbed and scarred by a seemingly fruitless war.
Strangely, I was left wondering what her husband might have thought of her endeavours. K (the main character) seems to have been turned inside-out by what she put him through. Her accuracy in relation to how these stateless fellows speak
Dan Downing
Fuller has taken us to Africa before. This time she takes us on a journey with a former soldier in the African wars of the late Twentieth century. From Zambia through Zimbabwe (the once upon a time Rhodesia) to Mozambique, Fuller and her ex-soldier/soul mate, K, travel.
What we see, what we learn, the people, flies, food, heat, the reality of today's Africa and the reality of its recent history, remind us that our lot here in 'the West' is a soft, pleasant one, even if we are in bad straits here
Gail Owen
On the surface, Fuller shares the story of K, a former Rhodesian soldier. Fuller returns from America to visit her parents and begins questionning her father about the war. While is reluctant to answer her questions, he suggests that K might be a better source of answers.
Scribbling is the result of the encounters that Fuller has with K. As more and more is revealed, we are reminded of the brokenness of that war brings on so many levels. Emotionally, physically, psychologically, K is left with a
Kelly Kittel
I would read Alexandra Fuller's grocery list but if this were such a list, I must say I'd be left standing in the frozen food aisle wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into. As usual, I loved her writing, the language and the characters in this story. It warms my heart to know that somewhere in Africa, a man lives on an island with a lion. How can you not love that? But it also chills me to the bone to know that so many Africans who live near that crazy guy are suffering so very greatly, ...more
It took me a while to get up the courage to read this book as I just knew, having read the previous three books, that it was going to bring up all sorts of conflicting emotions. There was so much to enjoy about this book such as slang from the past, the really evocative descriptions of the African bush and the wonderful (and not so wonderful) characters. There are a few things that I could take issue with, but ignoring those and pretending that I hadn’t any history or knowledge of the time and p ...more
I thought this was an amazing book. I have read a lot of books about wars in Africa and this non-fiction account gives a very human side of the repercussions of war. Alexandra travels with a war veteran to Mozambique, where his fighting took place and he and his comrades relive some of the horrors. No pictures of K, but an interesting pet lion scene.
Alexander Fuller ALWAYS provides the reader with a interesting story. Every book, she has written, has given me what appears to be a very personal, genuine, and thoroughly entertaining experience of her life in Africa.
Lisabet Sarai
I've never been to Africa, if you don't count Morocco, and I don't understand the continent at all. Reading Scribbling the Cat felt like wandering around on an alien planet, where the environment, the motivations and the language are all foreign. Nevertheless, I came away from the book some hints as to why some people find Africa so compelling.

There are no cats in this book. Well, actually, that's not quite true. One of the characters we meet near the end has a half-grown lion named Mambo as a
When Alexander Fuller went to visit her parents in Rhodesia she met a man named K who was a former soldier. She spent a couple of weeks with him, recording his thoughts and past experiences in the war as they travelled back through war areas.
Pg 72 it should not be physically possible to get from the banks of the Pepani River to Wyoming in less than two days, because mentally and emotionally it is impossible. The shock is too much, the contrast too raw. We should sail or swim or walk from Africa
Beautifully written and much more than a memoir. Lots to think about for a very long time.
"I don't think we have all the words in a single vocabulary to explain what we are or why we are. I don't think we have the range of emotion to fully feel what someone else is feeling. I don't think any of us can sit in judgment of another human being. We're incomplete creatures, barely scraping by. Is it possible-from the perspective of this quickly spinning Earth and our speedy journey from crib to coffin
This book did not engage me as much as her other books.
After reading Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, I thought I would try another of Alexandra Fuller's books and I expected the same openness in Scribbling the Cat. Unfortunately I found this book somewhat guarded.

While the author was visiting her parents she met and developed a relationship with a lonely war veteran farmer (K) and from this relationship this book was born. In fact without this relationship there would never have been a book.

As soon as K was introduced I thought to m
It would be difficult to find a better writer of contemporary literature today than Alexandra Fuller, who is such a gifted writer that her prose nearly becomes poetry. Who but a poet could write, "Where the clouds had ragged apart, the sky reached back until the beginning of time, black poured on black." Absolute perfection in her choice of words!

But the story, oh, my, the story. It was/is awful. I couldn't wait to finish it. I need to read something light and chick-lit-ey to take away the image
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Alexandra Fuller has written five books of non-fiction.

Her debut book, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Random House, 2001), was a New York Times Notable Book for 2002, the 2002 Booksense best non-fiction book, a finalist for the Guardian’s First Book Award and the winner of the 2002 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize.

Her 2004 Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldie
More about Alexandra Fuller...

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“What is important is the story. Because when we are all dust and teeth and kicked-up bits of skin - when we're dancing with our own skeletons - our words might be all that's left of us.” 44 likes
“I don't think we have all the words in a single vocabulary to explain what we are or why we are. I don't think we have the range of emotion to fully feel what someone else is feeling. I don't think any of us can sit in judgment of another human being. We're incomplete creatures, barely scraping by. Is it possible--from the perspective of this quickly spinning Earth and our speedy journey from crib to coffin--to know the difference between right, wrong, good, and evil? I don't know if it's even useful to try.” 13 likes
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