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From bestselling author Alexandra Fuller, the utterly original story of her father, Tim Fuller, and a deeply felt tribute to a life well lived Six months before he died in Budapest, Tim Fuller turned to his daughter: “Let me tell you the secret to life right now, in case I suddenly give up the ghost." Then he lit his pipe and stroked his dog Harry’s head. Harry put his paw From bestselling author Alexandra Fuller, the utterly original story of her father, Tim Fuller, and a deeply felt tribute to a life well lived Six months before he died in Budapest, Tim Fuller turned to his daughter: “Let me tell you the secret to life right now, in case I suddenly give up the ghost." Then he lit his pipe and stroked his dog Harry’s head. Harry put his paw on Dad’s lap and they sat there, the two of them, one man and his dog, keepers to the secret of life. “Well?” she said. “Nothing comes to mind, quite honestly, Bobo,” he said, with some surprise. “Now that I think about it, maybe there isn’t a secret to life. It’s just what it is, right under your nose. What do you think, Harry?” Harry gave Dad a look of utter agreement. He was a very superior dog. “Well, there you have it,” Dad said.  After her father’s sudden death, Alexandra Fuller realizes that if she is going to weather his loss, she will need to become the parts of him she misses most. So begins Travel Light, Move Fast, the unforgettable story of Tim Fuller, a self-exiled black sheep who moved to Africa to fight in the Rhodesian Bush War before settling as a banana farmer in Zambia. A man who preferred chaos to predictability, to revel in promise rather than wallow in regret, and who was more afraid of becoming bored than of getting lost, he taught his daughters to live as if everything needed to happen all together, all at once—or not at all. Now, in the wake of his death, Fuller internalizes his lessons with clear eyes and celebrates a man who swallowed life whole. A master of time and memory, Fuller moves seamlessly between the days and months following her father’s death, as she and her mother return to his farm with his ashes and contend with his overwhelming absence, and her childhood spent running after him in southern and central Africa. Writing with reverent irreverence of the rollicking grand misadventures of her mother and father, bursting with pandemonium and tragedy, Fuller takes their insatiable appetite for life to heart. Here, in Fuller’s Africa, is a story of joy, resilience, and vitality, from one of our finest writers.


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From bestselling author Alexandra Fuller, the utterly original story of her father, Tim Fuller, and a deeply felt tribute to a life well lived Six months before he died in Budapest, Tim Fuller turned to his daughter: “Let me tell you the secret to life right now, in case I suddenly give up the ghost." Then he lit his pipe and stroked his dog Harry’s head. Harry put his paw From bestselling author Alexandra Fuller, the utterly original story of her father, Tim Fuller, and a deeply felt tribute to a life well lived Six months before he died in Budapest, Tim Fuller turned to his daughter: “Let me tell you the secret to life right now, in case I suddenly give up the ghost." Then he lit his pipe and stroked his dog Harry’s head. Harry put his paw on Dad’s lap and they sat there, the two of them, one man and his dog, keepers to the secret of life. “Well?” she said. “Nothing comes to mind, quite honestly, Bobo,” he said, with some surprise. “Now that I think about it, maybe there isn’t a secret to life. It’s just what it is, right under your nose. What do you think, Harry?” Harry gave Dad a look of utter agreement. He was a very superior dog. “Well, there you have it,” Dad said.  After her father’s sudden death, Alexandra Fuller realizes that if she is going to weather his loss, she will need to become the parts of him she misses most. So begins Travel Light, Move Fast, the unforgettable story of Tim Fuller, a self-exiled black sheep who moved to Africa to fight in the Rhodesian Bush War before settling as a banana farmer in Zambia. A man who preferred chaos to predictability, to revel in promise rather than wallow in regret, and who was more afraid of becoming bored than of getting lost, he taught his daughters to live as if everything needed to happen all together, all at once—or not at all. Now, in the wake of his death, Fuller internalizes his lessons with clear eyes and celebrates a man who swallowed life whole. A master of time and memory, Fuller moves seamlessly between the days and months following her father’s death, as she and her mother return to his farm with his ashes and contend with his overwhelming absence, and her childhood spent running after him in southern and central Africa. Writing with reverent irreverence of the rollicking grand misadventures of her mother and father, bursting with pandemonium and tragedy, Fuller takes their insatiable appetite for life to heart. Here, in Fuller’s Africa, is a story of joy, resilience, and vitality, from one of our finest writers.

30 review for Travel Light, Move Fast

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Anyone who has read this authors non fiction before knows she had a very unorthodox upbringing. Her books chronicle different aspects, often humorous, episodes of her life in Africa. Although this book opens with her father's death, which is a sad occurrence since he died away from the home he loved, the tone of the book is not. Fuller relates in a series of vignettes, the many amusing ways her parents had of surviving together. I laughed so many times, two very different people, but characters Anyone who has read this authors non fiction before knows she had a very unorthodox upbringing. Her books chronicle different aspects, often humorous, episodes of her life in Africa. Although this book opens with her father's death, which is a sad occurrence since he died away from the home he loved, the tone of the book is not. Fuller relates in a series of vignettes, the many amusing ways her parents had of surviving together. I laughed so many times, two very different people, but characters both, her parents were definitely unique, as was the way they lived. So grieving yes, as she and her mother return to Africa, but laughter admidst the tears. The ending though, an update on Fuller herself and her life following her father's death, is plain heartbreaking. Even more so is something else that happens at books end. Laughter and tears, what lives are made of, the full circle. Fuller is such a fantastic writer, at least in her non fiction. She is honest, clear and forthright. She puts it all out there, the proverbial good, bad and the ugly. An emotionally difficult read at books end, but how lucky to be able to express both ones happiness and grief in words. A truly interesting, inspirational and stirring read. ARC from Edelweiss

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This autobiography comes across as being very personal. I get the feeling Alexandra Fuller is writing more for herself than for us, her readers. The book is about grief. It is about getting over the death of someone close to your heart. On a short trip to Budapest with her mother and father, Alexandra’s father dies. The year is 2015. He is seventy-five. Pneumonia was the rapid cause of death. Over a handful of days, she watches over her father, sitting by his side in a hospital, in a country th This autobiography comes across as being very personal. I get the feeling Alexandra Fuller is writing more for herself than for us, her readers. The book is about grief. It is about getting over the death of someone close to your heart. On a short trip to Budapest with her mother and father, Alexandra’s father dies. The year is 2015. He is seventy-five. Pneumonia was the rapid cause of death. Over a handful of days, she watches over her father, sitting by his side in a hospital, in a country that is not home. Her mother, four years younger than her father, is profoundly shaken. Alexandra must take charge. Eventually, with her father’s ashes in an urn they fly home. Home being her mother’s farm in rural Zambia. Home for Alexandra was then Wyoming. She had been married, divorced and had at this point three kids. Ask yourself--do calamities come one at a time? Rarely. This is a word of warning. More problems arise. In the book, Alexandra reminisces about her parents’ lives, about her own life as a kid growing up in Africa, her present-day life in America and her sister’s life. She thinks about how she has been raised. She had been taught, if anything, that she had to stick out her chin and c-o-p-e with whatever life threw at her. As said, Alexandra reminisces about her childhood in central and southern Africa, in what is now Zimbabwe and Zambia. Her parents were British settlers in pre-war Rhodesia. Life was tough and they were constantly on the move. You get an intimate feel for the hardships endured by the family. Much of this has been drawn in Alexandra’s earlier books, but here we see how she views her parents now, herself an adult. The tables have been turned; rather than they caring for her, she must take care of them. Alexandra Fuller has a unique prose style. Her words capture both life’s irony, comedy and grief. Tears and laughter. She is forthright. She digs under the surface to lay bare emotions. While I admire her for having the guts to do this, to lay all bare, I still feel she is writing more for herself than for us. I can also understand why those of her family hate her books. She puts not only herself but them too out on display. One can ask if there is any big lesson to be drawn from this book. Life is as it is and you cope because you have no other choice. Alexandra’s deep love for Africa resonates. I love how she describes Africa. I wanted more of Africa, more new information about Africa, in this book. The author reads the audiobook. She does this very well. She captures how her parents really were through apt intonations. I suppose this comes naturally to her; she remembers how they spoke, and she knows who they were. There is an undeniable Britishness to both. Her mother did not like wimps. You hear this. Her father loved a party. You hear this too. The personality of each comes through loud and strong. Four stars for the author’s narration. ************************** *Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood 5 stars *Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness 5 stars *Scribbling the Cat 5 stars *Travel Light, Move Fast 3 stars *The Legend of Colton H. Bryant 3 stars *Quiet Until the Thaw 1 star *Leaving Before the Rains Come wish-list

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kati Polodna

    I’ll read anything by Alexandra Fuller. She’s so damn compelling. Her writing is incredible.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Keith

    I felt gutted when I finished this book. Alexandra Fuller leaves nothing to the imagination as she bares her soul. Having read previous books by Fuller, I was aware of the honesty of her writing but I simply wasn't prepared for the ending of this book and how all of the raw emotions she described would leave me feeling cut to the bone myself. I felt that through her previous writings that I was somewhat connected to this family and wanted to know more about her father who was a case study in cha I felt gutted when I finished this book. Alexandra Fuller leaves nothing to the imagination as she bares her soul. Having read previous books by Fuller, I was aware of the honesty of her writing but I simply wasn't prepared for the ending of this book and how all of the raw emotions she described would leave me feeling cut to the bone myself. I felt that through her previous writings that I was somewhat connected to this family and wanted to know more about her father who was a case study in chaos. The book is about Tim Fuller in life but also tells of his death at a hospital in Budapest and how Alexandra and her mother navigated those final days. This is also a story of grief. Fuller's writing is so often like poetry and her depiction of her loss grabbed me: "There's always a terrible waiting period, a purgatory of doubt, between the suffering and the grace. That's the lonely alone work, weathering the places in between, and dismantling oneself piece by piece meantime, shredding all that can be shredded, returning to dust all that can be eroded. Amazing grace appears when faith has fled; when final exhaustion has set in; when there're no trails to follow and one carries on anyway." I recommend reading at least one of Fuller's previous books before you tackle this one. When I started reading this book it felt a bit disjointed but I soon realized that's exactly how Fuller was feeling as she wrote this terribly sad story. The loss of her father is not the only loss Fuller suffers in this book and when I got to the end I was left wondering how she will go on, but as Tim Fuller always said, "If it isn't alright, it isn't the end." I'm sure we will hear more from Alexandra Fuller.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    I've had to let my responses to this memoir percolate for a few days and even debated about assigning it without stars as I find rating someone else's perception about their personal life experiences somewhat inappropriate. So, consider my rating a gauge on its reading and writing style rather than a rating of Ms. Fuller's experiences. Looking back at age 50, Ms. Fuller once again, riffs on her childhood memories in light of her Father's death, which was very devastating to her. On the one hand, I've had to let my responses to this memoir percolate for a few days and even debated about assigning it without stars as I find rating someone else's perception about their personal life experiences somewhat inappropriate. So, consider my rating a gauge on its reading and writing style rather than a rating of Ms. Fuller's experiences. Looking back at age 50, Ms. Fuller once again, riffs on her childhood memories in light of her Father's death, which was very devastating to her. On the one hand, she seems a bit shocked as if, it was unexpected though he was in his late-70's, and yet, in light of his life habit of heavy smoking and what some have deduced as either being very possibly an alcoholic or at minimum a daily heavy drinker, this should not really have been the surprise to most, it seemed to be for her. However, she deeply loved her father and no child wants to say a final goodbye to a beloved family member. Her grief is very apparent throughout the story and we see several of the 5 stages of grieving a loss through death exhibited. Those looking to be entertained because of their prior experiences may not find anything humorous on these pages. For me, I felt this book was based on the author's personal journal with some added antidotes. It is essentially her journey through some of her grief. There was no real flow to her accounts, the chapters demonstrated limited cohesion to those preceding them or following after, rather it was disjointed much like grief can be. That said, I feel after reading her various memoirs that I "know" her life highlights. I feel like she has "mined" her life to the point of excess. As this story meanders back and forth over various events, few were particularly amusing or insightful to the reader. In essence, the book is a compilation of vignettes. It was a rather long account of experiences that highlighted her parents life choices but without any tidbits that could be applicable to the reader's life. It could be simply summarized, 'we make choices based on our hopes and perceptions and in hindsight, we failed to consider all the possible outcomes'. We also learn that the author has had a divorce that has wounded her prior to his death, though it is only mentioned in passing. What is even sadder and only briefly touched upon is the recent loss of her son, Fuller less than two years shortly thereafter. I suspect that some point, we will have the opportunity to learn of this loss and its the impact on her, in a future book perhaps. This book may be helpful for those who have struggled to grieve the loss of a close parent. Particularly one, where a child may have not fully expressed their feelings. She mentions resent-ment within the family regarding her books. Feeling that their choices is presented in an unflattering light, particularly her sister, Vanessa (who often refuses to speak with her for periods of time) and her father mentions his displeasure with her accounts either during his last days. She fails to mention her responses. It is mentioned in passing. Unfortunately, there is no sense of resolution or healing between sisters and or with her father over this contention. I think a lot of people would see such disclosure unappealing and even see their exposure as betrayal. Since Ms. Fuller doesn't demonstrate any contrition regarding her exposure of their "secrets" in print, I imagine she hasn't felt the need to do so in person. I am under the presumption that there are plenty of things she has kept from the public eye, so maybe she doesn't see a need to apologize, since much that she has shared has been witnessed by those within the communities, where her family has resided. This book didn't appeal to me for some of these reasons. However, I can see where there are many that probably would find this helpful in their own journey to mourn a beloved parent. I get the sense that she is haunted by the poverty that often plagued them during her childhood, as they moved about due to circumstances and political unrest in Zambia and Rhodesia (when it was still Rhodesia). As well as the loss of three siblings that left vacancies in the hearts of her parents and all the sister's lives. Then to suddenly loose a son, just starting in life (he was 20, I believe). Is certainly going to be soul crushing. I hurt with her having experienced this loss myself and no parent expects to have a child precede them. What I conclude is that she has not experienced much healing and thus she has little hope to pass along to others...Her raw pain is evident. I wish her peace and resolution for all her losses.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Ever since Alexandra Fuller attained world wide recognition with her memoir Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, she has shared her rollicking heartbreaking life in a series of memoirs. With her combination of wit and inimitable writing style, she has brought to life her early days as a farmer's daughter in war-torn central Africa followed by her adulthood and the various paths it has taken. She might have been following her mother's advice who once remarked on My Life Was a Ranch, a favorite boo Ever since Alexandra Fuller attained world wide recognition with her memoir Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, she has shared her rollicking heartbreaking life in a series of memoirs. With her combination of wit and inimitable writing style, she has brought to life her early days as a farmer's daughter in war-torn central Africa followed by her adulthood and the various paths it has taken. She might have been following her mother's advice who once remarked on My Life Was a Ranch, a favorite book by a settler from the 1920's, "The way memoir should be done, in my opinion. It's filled with vivid, amusing anecdotes and interesting characters, sympathetically drawn." Here front and center are her parents, true originals themselves. Almost cinematically hilarious and rambunctious, with some questionable ideas on child rearing. It's a wonder that Fuller has almost reached the age of 50 (at times, I wondered how she even reached the age of 20).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Doherty

    Potentially best and most defining book yet - grief, humor with extraordinary storytelling. You can feel how this helped her get through through wide and deafening loss - and how the cathartic writing process illustrates a story only she could deliver. By recalling his strength and wisdom, along with the coping over the staggering hardship of losing her father so close to losing her son as well, she methodically wrote to find closure. Reflecting on his incredible life experiences was healing, red Potentially best and most defining book yet - grief, humor with extraordinary storytelling. You can feel how this helped her get through through wide and deafening loss - and how the cathartic writing process illustrates a story only she could deliver. By recalling his strength and wisdom, along with the coping over the staggering hardship of losing her father so close to losing her son as well, she methodically wrote to find closure. Reflecting on his incredible life experiences was healing, redemptive and is vibrantly reflective in her writing. Bo, as Alexandra's known to her family, understand how she needed to embody her father's story, the ones she misses the most. He preferred chaos to predictability, he longed for promise than wallow in regret, and more was far more afraid of becoming board then getting lost in life. She writes about the joy to feel his life force again, and how his last words were saying how he was a very lucky man! Galley borrowed from the publisher.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Along with the difficulties inherent in reading about lives based on colonialism and the white supremacy that entails, this book is rather poorly crafted, vague and repetitive and without lending much more of a sense of Tim Fuller than I got from Don't Let's Go . . . But if this is the book that Fuller needed to write after the death of her father and all that comes after it - I feel like this is a spoiler, so look away if necessary, but I was not expecting it and it shattered me - including th Along with the difficulties inherent in reading about lives based on colonialism and the white supremacy that entails, this book is rather poorly crafted, vague and repetitive and without lending much more of a sense of Tim Fuller than I got from Don't Let's Go . . . But if this is the book that Fuller needed to write after the death of her father and all that comes after it - I feel like this is a spoiler, so look away if necessary, but I was not expecting it and it shattered me - including the death of her 21-yro son, then good on her and I hope it helped. I feel like whether I enjoyed it or not is hardly the point.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Fascinating and Terribly sad. Such a struggle of a life. I hope she finds peace some day.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisa of Hopewell

    My Interest I’ve enjoyed all of Fuller’s memoirs of her family’s life in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi due to my own stay in Malawi and visit to Zimbabwe. Her Colonial with a capital “C” mother, her wild father, disowned by his British family, are the sort of people I tend to love–their belief in Rhodesia and all it stood for aside. She has become a “must-read” author for me. The Story Having had a childhood lived in unusual circumstances marks a person, but having such a childhood and hav My Interest I’ve enjoyed all of Fuller’s memoirs of her family’s life in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi due to my own stay in Malawi and visit to Zimbabwe. Her Colonial with a capital “C” mother, her wild father, disowned by his British family, are the sort of people I tend to love–their belief in Rhodesia and all it stood for aside. She has become a “must-read” author for me. The Story Having had a childhood lived in unusual circumstances marks a person, but having such a childhood and having it in the middle of a war, can do real damage. Fuller’s growing up could be called Glass Castle meets Out of Africa. Part abuse, part wild ride, part fantastic adventure. In this installment of her family memoirs, she begins in Budapest with her father’s death while there on holiday. This time the author is narrating the audio version and she voices her mother EXACTLY the way I imagined her, which was very exciting for me. Having very seriously contemplated staying on in Malawi, I always find the daily life parts of her memoirs to be the best and that continued in this volume. That the author is only about 7 years younger than me makes it all the more relatable. But this time the cracks are showing. The end of Dad is too much–and for the author, there is more in store after that [no spoilers]. Her eccentric parents, who “survive magnificently,” have aged and their daughters, “squaddies [i.e. G.I.s/soldiers] before they were sisters” are in their 50s and time has not helped the wounds of their childhood. The mother whose leaving the house checklist once went something like “Uzi, bullets, lipstick, sunglasses” is still her indomitable Memsiab self, surrounded by her beloved troop of dogs and cats, and after 50+ years of marriage, she and her husband still “do not bore each other” and still do not try to possess each other. I adore her parents in spite of it all, in spite of a war to keep Africans from ruling their own country. They are backbone of the Empire sorts who let nothing defeat them. These are not the stuffy folks who inhabit the Cricket and Tennis Club, or who run the local Anglican Church and hold the Gymkhanas. These are the real settlers. Give them land, sufficient booze, dogs, books, and an old Land Rover and they will survive. The booze is the key. And cigarettes. Lots and lots of cigarettes–or those “anti-mad” pills Mum gets from the Indian chemist. It IS a rough life. Her mother with her books and animals has transformed herself time and again and is now a very successful fish farmer, having educated herself for her new role. She may have lost the war, but she’s won the battle–the family survived. Her very Mitford U-ish speech adds to the whole picture of one who can “Keep Buggering On” as Churchill said, quite beautifully even in a war, even after burying three babies. In this book, even she has reached her limit. I could completely relate to her rant about being sick of people telling her she’s strong and that she’d love to just fall apart. The author’s father, who can hunt from a moving Land Rover, probably could still have played a rugby match at 70, and like any good Colonial Bwana could drink everyone under the table, could also live on beans on toast, alcohol, and tobacco. Like my own father, I’m sure Tim Fuller could have taken the Lord’s name in vain as any figure of speech. (They also saw eye-to-eye on missionaries). He could light a cigarette, fire an Uzi, and keep driving the Land Rover even with a hunting guide on the roof. That’s a manly man. He loved his wife, his family, and his life. [He also loathed “online f—ing banking” to which I say “hear, hear” especially on the passwords.] It is the sisters though who are doing the worst. Vanessa has been in a clinic in South Africa, both are divorced, Vanessa is remarried, and the author is in a new relationship. No one in the family is at all happy about the books–and, honestly? Who can blame them? While I have loved reading them, I can see it from their side: Why are you telling our secrets? Why is it all reduced to your perspective, your way of seeing it? The fissures are deep and will rend the family with Dad’s passing. My Thoughts The author, though, became whining somewhere along the way. [No spoilers but I am NOT disregarding something I cannot reveal without spoiling part of the book–ok?] The end of the book was a lot New Agey, naval gaze-y, word salad-ish moaning. [Tiny spoiler] That her new relationship wasn’t going to be the love of the ages was about as obvious as Meghan’s “love” for poor, dim Harry. That one she needed to walk it off–follow her Dad’s advice and have a party. Alcohol, her parents believe, lets one suffer successfully. She should have done that and had a splendid and necessary hangover, then reloaded and got back in the war of life. I found the end of the book [in spite of what I won’t spoil] annoying. It bordered on minor-league narcissism–“Me, me, me–my, my, my–mine, mine, mine]. A girl raised to be a stalwart Rhodesian, able to take what life sends you for Queen and Empire (well, Commonwealth) or just because you won’t take it off any bastard, shouldn’t have grown into such a whiner. It almost spoils the excellence of her writing. I’m very much like her parents when it comes to freaking out over everything. I’d have had to tell her to get over herself and carry on! I wanted to say, “Look, the did the correct first aid, loaded all the guns, loaded you into that station wagon and drove you through a war to the hospital–remember? They CARED.” The author’s falling apart and her self-absorption [part of which WAS 100% understandable — no spoilers] and the family’s dislike of her books, brings to mind Madeline L’Engle’s Crosswicks Diaries. L’Engle’s children dismissed them as “fiction.” I don’t think that is the case here, but I could see the annoyance so clearly, and equally clearly hear the author’s belief that she was right and saw things right. That was a bit hard to take. Now? Who’s for a cup of tea and who’s for a g & t? In spite of my feelings on the end, this book is a good read. Need an ashtray? Here–have a dog, or would you prefer a cat? My Verdict 3.5 Stars I couldn’t give it a full 4 stars due to the whiney parts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ed Stoddard

    I am long-time a Fuller fan and she does not disappoint this time round. Her writing style is as original as it is bracing. True to form, she is alarmingly honest about her boozy and zany parents, orphans of the Empire who wound up on a banana and fish farm in a remote corner of Zambia. The quotes she attributes to her parents are delicious, such as this zinger from her dad: "The reason I have been known on rare occasions to behave badly when I'm drunk is to make up for being a bloody little ang I am long-time a Fuller fan and she does not disappoint this time round. Her writing style is as original as it is bracing. True to form, she is alarmingly honest about her boozy and zany parents, orphans of the Empire who wound up on a banana and fish farm in a remote corner of Zambia. The quotes she attributes to her parents are delicious, such as this zinger from her dad: "The reason I have been known on rare occasions to behave badly when I'm drunk is to make up for being a bloody little angle when I'm not." Fuller, who resides in Wyoming and grew up on farms in what is now Zimbabwe, is evocative in her descriptions of people who live their lives outdoors and in the wild. "... he's a river man, born and raised on the banks of the Zambezi, and he stands out from urban or agricultural men as such," she writes, describing the man employed as a driver at her parents' farm. "He has the triangular body of a paddler, and the squinting thousand -yard stare of a person who has lived both in the bright sunshine and among crocodiles and hippos his whole life." The book begins with her father gravely ill in a hospital in Budapest, where her parents were vacationing, and is shot through with both humour and tragedy. Ultimately, it is a celebration of life and a reflection on the ways that we cope with loss. Stirring stuff from a great chronicler of personal and family history.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I’m in it for the long haul with Fuller. This is the first book I’ve read of hers and I’m sucked into her world and I want more. Her parents are forces of nature and I aspire to that realm. I’m taking notes. ;) Pretty sure I had a dream with Tim and Harry the other night.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This book is advertised as Ms. Fuller’s book about her father but it is so much more. It is about family and their suffering and their joys. At times I laughed out loud and at other times I gasped. Highly recommended. One of the best of the year for me. I listened on Audible which was an added treat as Ms. Fuller read it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Rosenblum

    If it were not my book club's pick for this month I probably would not have finished it. A lot of whining and moaning about a difficult childhood and a lot of grief to be dealt with by the author. Not a good time in my life for this read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Alexandra Fuller is one of my favorite writers today. Her previous books (among them Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Scribbling the Cat, and Cocktails Under the Tree of Forgetfulness) mostly mine her life and the lives of her family while growing up in what was Rhodesia during their civil war. Her stories are so incredibly honest, quite poignant, and often give me a good belly laugh. Think of her as a cross between Jeanette Walls (Glass Castle) and David Sedaris (Dress your Family in Courder Alexandra Fuller is one of my favorite writers today. Her previous books (among them Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Scribbling the Cat, and Cocktails Under the Tree of Forgetfulness) mostly mine her life and the lives of her family while growing up in what was Rhodesia during their civil war. Her stories are so incredibly honest, quite poignant, and often give me a good belly laugh. Think of her as a cross between Jeanette Walls (Glass Castle) and David Sedaris (Dress your Family in Courderoy) whose childhood geography is so wholly unfamiliar to the average western reader as to be astonishing. In this book, the impending death of her father and then his actual death, send Fuller back again to her childhood, this time from the perspective of her love for her Dad,Tim Fuller. It is a beautiful ode to her Dad (who was definitely an "original") as well as a bittersweet story about what happens to families after the death of a larger than life patriarch. There is so much gold buried in this book. I highly recommend it (esp. for fans of "memoir")

  16. 4 out of 5

    ~Annaki~

    This is one of those books that are so very hard to rate, because how do you rate someone elses experience of profound loss, grief and heartache? How do you rate another persons true account of events in their life? As always, the author has brillant observations about life, death, family and self. And that awesome on point humor. I was heartbroken reading this, but having read all of the authors other books, I felt it was a disappointing read. Jumbled and disjointed, a lot of longwinded/rephras This is one of those books that are so very hard to rate, because how do you rate someone elses experience of profound loss, grief and heartache? How do you rate another persons true account of events in their life? As always, the author has brillant observations about life, death, family and self. And that awesome on point humor. I was heartbroken reading this, but having read all of the authors other books, I felt it was a disappointing read. Jumbled and disjointed, a lot of longwinded/rephrased repetition, from this as well as previous books and over the top descriptions that felt almost like caricatures. Regardless, Fuller is still one of my favorite authors of all time and I really hope she finds happiness and peace, I wish her all the best.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Deb Holden

    My first time reading this author who writes of her childhood in Africa. This book was centered on the death of her father. The writing is beautiful. It takes a bit to get into it but worth the read. The ending is quite shocking.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Lent

    My feelings about this memoire whipsawed back and forth. Initially, I was smitten with the grandeur and intimacy of this bygone Africa. I also admired the plucky spontaneity and restlessness of Fuller's parents. That they CHOSE to settle and barely subsist in the frontier lands of Rhodesia in the midst of a civil war where 3 of their 5 children would die, felt like child abuse and narcissism. As a parent of three, I will say that injured children need doctors, not stiff upper lips. I wondered if My feelings about this memoire whipsawed back and forth. Initially, I was smitten with the grandeur and intimacy of this bygone Africa. I also admired the plucky spontaneity and restlessness of Fuller's parents. That they CHOSE to settle and barely subsist in the frontier lands of Rhodesia in the midst of a civil war where 3 of their 5 children would die, felt like child abuse and narcissism. As a parent of three, I will say that injured children need doctors, not stiff upper lips. I wondered if author Alexandra Fuller allowed her children to cavort with the cobras, pythons, hyenas and hippos that her parents were so fond of having around as part of the character-building, live and let live process. Whipsaw came again when, late in the book, we learn of the sudden, unexplainable death of Fuller's college-age son (seemingly the picture of health, he was on study-abroad in Argentina and suffered an undiagnosed seizure, dying stateside one week later). The randomness shocked me and I suddenly realized the magnitude of the author's grief. In coming to terms with the death of a life cut cruelly short, she attempts to draw strength from her father's larger than life life and her own intrepid childhood. My stomach churned throughout this section. For reasons not clear, Fuller and her only surviving sibling stop speaking at a time when they seem to ned each other most. I don't pretend to understand the reasons except that having gone through deaths in my family, I've seen people do some pretty dysfunctional things. I came away with the message that while life is messy, chaotic and irrational, we must take opportunities to seize it with both hands.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is the second book I have read by Fuller, both of them memoirs. I really enjoy her writing style, which is meandering, funny, insightful and captivating. It’s not so much the arc of the story as the terrific, honest and witty writing that captivates me. Also, her childhood growing up in Africa is so uncommon and fascinating in itself, besides having the larger-than-life personalities of her parents thrown it. This book is about the death of her father, and how she deals with loss and grief. This is the second book I have read by Fuller, both of them memoirs. I really enjoy her writing style, which is meandering, funny, insightful and captivating. It’s not so much the arc of the story as the terrific, honest and witty writing that captivates me. Also, her childhood growing up in Africa is so uncommon and fascinating in itself, besides having the larger-than-life personalities of her parents thrown it. This book is about the death of her father, and how she deals with loss and grief. It’s not a sad book, until you get to the very end - which is just heartbreaking. A worthwhile journey to take with Fuller, one that I will take again sometime in the future. This book is worth re-reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judith Mayer

    A Great Read but So Much More Disclaimer: I am an unqualified fan of Fuller’s writing. She is poignant, funny and I think she has complete control of the English language. I feel she knows exactly how to describe her experiences so that we readers know what she’s getting at. This book is a tribute to her father, with whom she spent his last 12 days dying in a Budapest hospital and of course Mum is there with all of her idiosyncrasies. We feel like we know these people with their many faults and t A Great Read but So Much More Disclaimer: I am an unqualified fan of Fuller’s writing. She is poignant, funny and I think she has complete control of the English language. I feel she knows exactly how to describe her experiences so that we readers know what she’s getting at. This book is a tribute to her father, with whom she spent his last 12 days dying in a Budapest hospital and of course Mum is there with all of her idiosyncrasies. We feel like we know these people with their many faults and their determination to carry on. Fuller even writes of her son’s sudden death and what the many stages of grief are like. She’s a genius in my book and I’m sure it takes so much work to write like this.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jenneffer

    Fuller never disappoints. Her writing is so honest, witty but relate able. She doesn't shy away from difficult or painful subjects. I don't know if I like it so much because it reminds me of the two years I lived in Africa, or the difficult relationship I also have with my family, or her ability to make me think and feel all at the same time. I was so moved by this latest biography, highly recommended.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Funny, heartbreaking, recommended!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Beth Wang

    Incredible, REAL characters deftly and lovingly drawn Alexandra, their daughter. So fun and so touching to read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Four and a half

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarit Chalamish

    This is not a typical novel. It was extremely poetic and I thoroughly enjoyed Fuller's writing. It provides such a unique and poignant view on life in Africa.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Another excellent memoir from Fuller, constructed around her dad's death in a Budapest hospital. From what I can see, she's now estranged from her remaining family and her only son dies. Very, very sad. I think writing this has helped, a little.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carolina

    I've read several of Alexander Fuller's various autobiographical accounts of different period of her life and very much enjoyed them. Unfortunately in this audio book which mostly deals with her father and mother after his passing in a Budapest hospital, the imitation she does of their voices just becomes unbearable after a while. I wish she wouldn't have felt the need to make their accents so stuffy and pronounced. There are a lot of details about their lives, their idiosyncrasies, etc. but not I've read several of Alexander Fuller's various autobiographical accounts of different period of her life and very much enjoyed them. Unfortunately in this audio book which mostly deals with her father and mother after his passing in a Budapest hospital, the imitation she does of their voices just becomes unbearable after a while. I wish she wouldn't have felt the need to make their accents so stuffy and pronounced. There are a lot of details about their lives, their idiosyncrasies, etc. but not that much about her deep, personal grief.... at least not as far as I got into the book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    If Alexandra Fuller writes a shopping list, read it; margin notes in her high school biology text, read them; weekly menu plans with beans and franks every Tuesday, read those, too.  Anything you can get your hands on.  Ms. Fuller will always have something original to say – even about the beans and franks.  But, of course, if you are familiar with her brilliant memoirs, you know she is from highly original stock, the peripatetic Fuller family of here and there, Africa, and in her work, she retu If Alexandra Fuller writes a shopping list, read it; margin notes in her high school biology text, read them; weekly menu plans with beans and franks every Tuesday, read those, too.  Anything you can get your hands on.  Ms. Fuller will always have something original to say – even about the beans and franks.  But, of course, if you are familiar with her brilliant memoirs, you know she is from highly original stock, the peripatetic Fuller family of here and there, Africa, and in her work, she returns to her family again and again without ever losing an iota of freshness or impact. Of the five children born to Tom and Nicola Fuller, Alexandra and her sister Vanessa are the only two who survived to adulthood - a family of survivors, actually:  tough, hard-working and hard-drinking, creative, intelligent as all get-out, eccentric, frivolous, flawed, forever bereaved, and determined to cope.  And if coping doesn’t work, then cope harder.  At times, over the years, the Fullers were even without a “fixed abode”, but they always managed to rebound, eventually settling on a farm in Zambia raising bananas and fish. In Travel Light, Move Fast, advice from Tom Fuller appears as chapter headings, and, perhaps, this optimistic dreamer is best summed up in the first one:  “In the Unlikely Event of Money, Buy Two Tickets to Paris”.  Never one to let insecurity get in his way, he would have done just that in such an unlikely event.  In fact, he and his beloved Nicola are on vacation in Budapest when he falls seriously ill and is hospitalized.  Alexandra, now living in Wyoming, flies to Budapest to be with her parents and returns with her mother and her father’s ashes to the farm in Zambia and to a family in the aftermath of another death.  Determined.  Shattered.  Forever bereaved. As for me, well, I am both besotted with and puzzled by the Fullers.  I have been ever since Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight:  An African Childhood, and I return to them every time the talented Alexandra offers a new opportunity.  If you know Ms. Fuller’s good work, you will be saddened beyond measure by Travel Light, Move Fast.  If you’re new to her books, this latest can be read as a stand-alone, but I’m going to be honest with you, Readers.  While I’m usually not much troubled by jumping in and out of sequence, I’m not sure this book is the best place to make your first acquaintance with this writer and her family.  You see, it is a book of endings.  Personally I’m glad I began at the beginning, but the choice is yours, of course.  The very best advice I can give you is quite simple, really.  Read Ms. Fuller’ books.  All of them. Full Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided to me by Penguin Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  I would like to thank the publisher, the author and Edelweiss for providing me this opportunity.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nanako Mizushima

    I loved this memoir. I was astonished by Alexandra Fuller's first memoir "Don't Let's Go Down to the Dogs Tonight" in 2001 about her childhood in Africa, but this memoir about her father, who dies on a trip to "poor man's Paris" Budapest is a hundred times richer, poignant and wiser. In the audiobook, Fuller's voice reading her own work is wonderful. She is delightful mimic. The voices of her father and mother come through her, as clear as if we were all sitting together in their African ranch. I loved this memoir. I was astonished by Alexandra Fuller's first memoir "Don't Let's Go Down to the Dogs Tonight" in 2001 about her childhood in Africa, but this memoir about her father, who dies on a trip to "poor man's Paris" Budapest is a hundred times richer, poignant and wiser. In the audiobook, Fuller's voice reading her own work is wonderful. She is delightful mimic. The voices of her father and mother come through her, as clear as if we were all sitting together in their African ranch. Fuller, now much older, a parent of three young adults and divorced, lives as far as she can be from her childhood home. In Wyoming, no longer the Wild West but as her mother complains - "where there's a toilet for every bottom!" But Fuller's father's sudden death pulls her back into the bosom of her remarkable family. Her beautiful chronicling of the journey to Budapest to bring her father's ashes back to Africa made me stop on almost every page, to relish her prose and imagery. She sees her father and mother with clear eyes now. She loves them for their unique, flawed and hilarious sense of the world. At the same time, she is awed by their strength and courage. In Africa, they survived defeat in a violent civil war, severe hardship, isolation, routine close encounters with poisonous snakes and insects, and the deaths of three children. The title of this book are her elderly father's words of advice to her on how not to waste the precious time we have on this earth. Fuller is devastated by her father's death but she is strong enough to notice her mother and sister grieve in unexpected ways. With tragedy, she notes that a family either comes together or falls apart. But like the solitary tree that is left standing after a fire wipes out the forest, she is badly scarred and her core has been transformed. From her parents, she learned how to survive even the most painful tragedy with grace. Travel light and move fast. Words which I hope to try to live by as adversities inevitably appear in my own life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

    Sitting here devastated. Didn't remember why I added this book or what of hers I had read previously. So here I am between holidays in the year my last parent passed and, wow. I feel it would have been an honor to know her parents. Painful as parents, a delight as acquaintances no doubt. Excerpts below. Dad would never have looked for the do-gooders. He'd have done the correct thing instinctively. He'd have done what he could to mitigate a reality that was older than all centuries and bigger than Sitting here devastated. Didn't remember why I added this book or what of hers I had read previously. So here I am between holidays in the year my last parent passed and, wow. I feel it would have been an honor to know her parents. Painful as parents, a delight as acquaintances no doubt. Excerpts below. Dad would never have looked for the do-gooders. He'd have done the correct thing instinctively. He'd have done what he could to mitigate a reality that was older than all centuries and bigger than all lands. "Have a cigarette," he'd have said. "Let me light that for you." And everyone would have been disburdened for a moment..."It looks like you might be in for a long day,...Here, you'd better take the whole pack." Cigarettes are not the way to extend life; that wasn't my father's goal or concern. He wasn't doling out longevity; he was doling out endurance. (Describing the dream she had of her father after his death, she in a taxi in India, spotted her father in the crowd, but was trapped inside the taxi.) "It's ok Bobo." Dad was still laughing. "It was just a life! It was just one little life." And then he was gone. The death of the force behind a family is not something the average family of Anglo-Saxon heritage will withstand; Shakespeare knew this and wrote about it, it's all over the Bible....The family falls; that is inevitable; but it either falls together or falls apart. That isn't a choice, though; it depends on the family's fault lines. You can survive more than you'd believe; Dad had told me that. He'd also told me you can survive more than you want; but it's not always up to you, not the enormous things, those are beyond all control.

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