Scribbling the Cat

  • by Alexandra Fuller
  • Narrated by Lisette Lecat
  • 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Alexandra ("Bo") Fuller was home in Zambia a few years ago, visiting her parents for Christmas, she asked her father about a nearby banana farmer who was known for being a "tough bugger". Her father's response was a warning to steer clear of him; he told Bo: "Curiosity scribbled the cat." Nonetheless, Fuller began her strange friendship with the man she calls K, a white African and veteran of the Rhodesian war. With the same fiercely beautiful prose that won her acclaim for Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller here recounts her friendship with K. K is, seemingly, a man of contradictions: tattooed, battle scarred, and weathered by farm work, he is a lion of a man, feral and bulletproof. Yet he is also a born-again Christian, given to weeping when he recollects his failed romantic life, and more than anything else welling up inside with memories of battle. For his war, like all wars, was a brutal one, marked by racial strife, jungle battles, unimaginable tortures, and the murdering of innocent civilians, and K has blood on his hands.
Driven by K's memories, Fuller and K decide to enter the heart of darkness in the most literal way, by traveling from Zambia through Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and Mozambique to visit the scenes of the war and to meet other veterans. It is a strange journey into the past, one marked at once by somber reflections and odd humor. What results from Fuller's journey is a remarkably unbiased and unsentimental glimpse of men who have killed, mutilated, tortured, and scrambled to survive during wartime and who now must attempt to live with their past and live past their sins. In these men, too, we get a glimpse of life in Africa, a land that besets its creatures with pests, plagues, and natural disasters, making the people there at once more hardened and more vulnerable than elsewhere.
Scribbling the Cat is an engrossing and haunting look at war, Africa, and the lines of sanity.


What the Critics Say

"Fuller's unflinching look at K, war, and even herself makes for an extremely powerful book, one that takes readers into a complex, deep-seated, and ongoing conflict and sees through to its heart. Fuller is a truly gifted and insightful writer." (Booklist)
"Fuller evokes place and character with the vivid prose that distinguished her unflinching memoir of growing up in Africa." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This is truly an amazing book by a very interesting lady. One cannot help but admire the brutal honesty of her writing and her determination to grow at any cost. One wonders however what her husband thinks of her adventures.

This book is far stranger than "Don't ... Dogs Tonight", but is equally compelling. For me, it has the same ability to transport me back to Africa that "... Dogs..." had which does not just mean evoking past experiences, sights and smells. Once in a while I had to shake myself and remind myself that I live in the US.

Having known many Ks, the description of K and his friends ring very true. If I had the honesty and integrity of the author, I would have to say here that it also revealed some small hidden parts of myself to me.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly and was sorry when I got to the end of it, but am reluctant to make a blanket recommendation of it as I imagine that some readers may find it more than a little weird. However, if you have a strong stomach and would like to try something different, then this is your book.
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- G. Robinson "crusoe"

What a disappointment.

I expected far more from this book after "Don?t Lets ....Tonight". I found K unbelievable and a complete contrast to Rhodesian War veterans I have known.

Scribbling the Cat dwells on atrocities from one side only and is steeped with guilt. It would have done a better service to be more balanced and to reflect the War from all sides of the conflict.

Having been so impressed with the first book I went into this one expecting something special and did not find it.

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- Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-20-2004
  • Publisher: Recorded Books