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Scribbling the Cat

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  2,965 ratings  ·  305 reviews
When Alexandra Bo Fuller was in Zambia a few years ago visiting her parents, she asked her father about a nearby banana farmer who was known as being a tough bugger. Her father's response was a warning to steer clear of him: Curiosity scibbled the cat, he told her. Nonetheless, Fuller began her strange friendhip with the man she calls K, a white African and veteran of the ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 3rd 2005 by Picador USA (first published January 1st 2004)
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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
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

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
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
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
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
Scribbling the Cat is a strange and unsettling book. Like Fuller's two other Rhodesian memoirs, Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, it's hauntingly evocative and elegantly written. Once more, I was effortlessly transported to Southern Africa, "a land of almost breath-taking beauty or of savage poverty; a land of screaming ghosts or of sun-flung possibilities; a land of inviting warmth or of desperate drought" (143). But unlike the other two Rhodes ...more
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
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
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
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.
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
this book was hauntingly beautiful. i couldn't put it down. i will list it as one of my favorites from this day forward.

it did seem a little one sided, as the author mainly recounts the war stories of K, the soldier she is traveling with- and then, all of the sudden, there's this blow-up fight between them where K accuses her of leading him on. it feels like this interaction came out of nowhere given she leaves out most of her own thoughts, feelings and reactions to just about everything, save f
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
Linda Reano
This book did not engage me as much as her other books.
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
A great deal of people on here seem to be disparaging this one because of the author's perceived whoreishness. While that's not entirely without merit, I would very much like to point out that her impropriety has very little to do with the substance contained within.

...which is simply marvelous. I haven't read a book this fast since I chucked my Kindle against a wrought-iron fence in frustration after the first chapter of 50 Shades. I ate it up gladly, and I wish there were more to consume. The
Bookcrossing journal:

This one was just as enjoyable as her other book: Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight. This one is set over a shorter period of her life, her adult life as well this time, following a brief but intense friendship with a farmer in Zambia near her parents' farm who fought in the Rhoedesian war. They take a trip together to Mozambique to the places were he fought.

You really feel the heat and the brutal life of Africa through her writing - it is very fascinating but I don't think
I have had to take some time to think about this book, and I am still not sure how to approach it. Fuller’s previous book was an autobiographical relation of her childhood in Africa. This book is sort of autobiographical – relating her meeting in Africa of a man she calls K, and a little later the trip she and K took into Mozambique to cover the ground K covered as a soldier fighting in the Rhodesian army. But using the term autobiographical doesn’t quite fit the book, because although Fuller is ...more
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 (p
Jan Rice
My geography and history were expanded by this well-written memoir, which I listened to in the audio version. There is something that bothers me, though, in the way K's story was written--in the way his specialness was held up. Not that everyone isn't special and not that there is not something to be learned in a character study of any person, but something about the way it was done, and he a white male, and not a particular hero, when there were so many others. I do understand the author was at ...more
Katie Lynn
Once again I learn that the human spirit is amazing despite human frailty and fault.

"It's a good thing the Almighty forgives all of us. It doesn't matter"--now he leaned forward and fresh tears sprung--"how much of a shit you are, how much you've destroyed.... The Almighty forgives us. He holds us all in His hands."

"We were all lost after the war," he told me. "I reckon those of us who stopped dopping and sucking cabbage, we started to feel...shit! I mean, we actually started to think about what
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Fuller's second book is like an 80s hair band's second single, having strong links to the first, riding the wave of former glory.
The cover of the book reminds of the first, as does the title, as does the layout, chapters interspersed with small images of life in south east Africa.

Fuller's first book detailed her growing up in Rhodesia during that country's civil war. This second book sees her going back and going on a road trip with a former soldier now living close to her parents' farm in Zam
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Alexandra Fuller has written four 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...
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness The Legend of Colton H. Bryant Falling: The Story of a Marriage Leaving Before the Rains Come

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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.” 38 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.” 9 likes
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