Release Date: August 6, 2019 / Travel light but move fast to your local indie bookstore and shop here!
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.