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Travel Light, Move Fast
Cover of Travel Light, Move Fast
Travel Light, Move Fast
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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. You wouldn't want me taking all this wisdom with me to the grave." Then he lit his pipe, and stroked his dog's, Harry's, head. Harry put his paw on his lap and they sat there the two of them, one man and his dog, keepers to the secret of life. "Well?" she asked. "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. 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 A VERY LUCKY MAN, the unforgettable story of Tim Fuller, a self-exiled black sheep who moved to Africa to fight in the Rhodesian 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 was more afraid of becoming bored than of getting lost, he taught his daughters to live as if everything needed to happen altogether, 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, tragedy, and debauchery, 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.
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. You wouldn't want me taking all this wisdom with me to the grave." Then he lit his pipe, and stroked his dog's, Harry's, head. Harry put his paw on his lap and they sat there the two of them, one man and his dog, keepers to the secret of life. "Well?" she asked. "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. 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 A VERY LUCKY MAN, the unforgettable story of Tim Fuller, a self-exiled black sheep who moved to Africa to fight in the Rhodesian 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 was more afraid of becoming bored than of getting lost, he taught his daughters to live as if everything needed to happen altogether, 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, tragedy, and debauchery, 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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  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2019

    Fuller, whose notable books include two eye-opening memoirs on her early life in southern Africa, returns with a remembrance of her father, Tim, whose unexpected death prompted her to rethink his legacy. Not an easy task, as he himself said during one of their last conversations, "Now that I think about it, maybe there isn't a secret to life."

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2019
    A memoirist reflects on the lessons of her father, a man with an insatiable lust for life. " 'Travel light,' my father always said. 'Move fast,' " writes Fuller (Quiet Until the Thaw, 2017, etc.). "He followed that advice, practiced what he preached, like it was a key tenet of his personal religion." The author's anecdotal tribute to her late father brims with snippets and snatches of Tim Fuller's whirlwind lifestyle. The first part of the narrative covers their time in Budapest, where she and her mother watched as Tim, stricken with pneumonia, died in a hospital bed. As the text progresses, Fuller peels back layer after layer of the character of her father, a highly textured world traveler who navigated life using his own compass. Leaving his native Britain behind, he set out to fight in the Rhodesian Bush War. After meeting his true love and having two daughters, they settled in Zambia, where Tim acquired a banana plantation along the Zambezi River. The author ably chronicles this tumultuous transition era, with its constantly changing governments and economic instability. But at its heart, the book is an intimate character study of a spontaneity-loving wild man who, in his younger years, amused himself swerving his car toward the "do-gooder" foreign aid workers and clearing life's hurdles with a good smoke and a whiskey double. "For him, everything was about time," she writes, "burning through it the way he did." Over the decades, the wily expat continued etching his colorful legend into Zambezi Valley lore as the author made off for America, now a traveler in her own right. Tasked to come to terms with his physical absence, she sifted through a lifetime of memories in order to pen this celebration of the man whose profound influence helped shape her own worldview. Fuller writes gracefully about embracing grief as an indelible part of the human experience. Another elegant memoir from a talented storyteller.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 2, 2019
    Grieving the loss of her father, Fuller (Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight) revisits her tumultuous upbringing “farming in a war zone” during the Rhodesian Bush War in the 1970s through the present day in this arresting memoir. The book opens in 2015 Budapest, where she sits vigil over her father, Tim, in a hospital ICU for 12 days, recalling how his restlessness kept his young family moving from one remote location to another, before he dies. Madcap events involving oddball characters play out as Fuller plans for his cremation and her mother’s return to their farm in Zambia. Four months after Tim’s death, the family gathers to scatter his ashes, and Fuller introduces her fiancé, an American artist she lives with in Wyoming. Old wounds reopen over her “Awful Books”—bestselling memoirs she’s written about the family—and in the aftermath she’s estranged from her sister, her writing stalls, and her engagement breaks off. Just before book’s end, an unforeseen death in July 2018 engulfs her in pain that “would have no end, it would have no shape, it would shape me.” Darkly comic dialogue deepens Fuller’s piercing narrative, yet Tim’s timeless wisdom strikes the most resonant note: “It’ll be all right in the end; if it isn’t all right, it isn’t the end.” Beautifully crafted, Fuller’s moving memoir flows with precision and compassion.

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