A couple of years back I had the chance to visit Zambia for two weeks. When I came home, I found it difficult to describe the people, the land, and the culture. In her new book, Leaving Before the Rains Come, Alexandra Fuller describes the country—with its beauty and tragedy—perfectly.
Fuller writes about growing up in rural Zimbabwe and Zambia with her sister, her eccentric mother, and her “colorful” father:
“’Malaria,’ Dad said when his bank manager asked him what contingencies he had made for his senior years. ‘A bloody good, permanently fatal dose of malaria.’”
Fuller’s childhood in an unstable country with unconventional parents was far from what Westerners consider normal. She often uses the words “chaos” or “disorder” to describe it:
“So we came to dinner at eight, dressed as if for the captain’s table, although I knew, without knowing why I knew I knew it, that…
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