Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is a memoir of life with Alexandra Fuller and her family on a farm in Rhodesia. After the Rhodesian Bush War ended in 1980, the Fullers moved to Malawi, and then to Zambia.
“How you see a country depends on whether you are driving through it, or live in it. How you see a country depends on whether or not you can leave it, if you have to.”
“The land itself, of course, was careless of its name. It still is. You can call it what you like, fight all the wars you want in its name. Change its name altogether if you like. The land is still unblinking under the African sky. It will absorb white man’s blood and the blood of African men, it will absorb blood from slaughtered cattle and the blood from a woman’s birthing with equal thirst. It doesn’t care.”
“Once, I discovered the skulls of two impala rams, their horns locked into an irreversible figure-of-eight; the two animals had been trapped in combat, latched to each other during the battle of the rut. The harder they had pulled to escape from each other, the more intractably stuck they were, until they had fallen exhausted, to their knees, in an embrace of hatred that had killed them both. When I picked up the skulls to add to my growing collection of what Vanessa called “Bobo’s smelly pile,” the hooked horns fell away from each other and the story of the impalas’ death struggle was undone.”
“The schools wear the blank faces of war buildings, their windows blown blind by rocks or guns or mortars. Their plaster is an acne of bullet marks. The huts and small houses crouch open and vulnerable; their doors are flimsy pieces of plyboard or sacks hanging and lank. Children and chickens and dogs scratch in the red, raw soil and stare at us as we drive through their open, eroding lives.”
“But I plucked a new, different, worldly soul for myself — maybe a soul I found in the spray thrown up by the surge of that distant African river as it plummets onto black rocks and sends up into the sun a permanent arc of a rainbow.”