Leaving Before the Rains Come is like catching up with old friends - Bobo (Alexandra) her sister Van (face-of-the-eighties), their mother (Nicola Fuller of Central Africa), stoical father Tim and mildly stoned cook, Adamson, are all here. Fuller is brilliant at conveying the beauty and stupefying heat of the landscape. Living with Charlie and their first baby, Sarah, in a cottage on the banks of the Zambezi river she has to purchase a 'wearable mosquito net cloud' and nurse the baby under it because of an outbreak of yellow fever. When the heat becomes unbearable in February she moves the bed out onto the veranda:
And, lying under the mosquito net with my child and my husband next to me, listening to the shouting hippos, the pulsing night insects, the shrieking bush babies, I fell deeply back in love with the land of my childhood.It is when they decide to move to Wyoming, that illness, debt, pressures of work and an accident take their toll on the marriage and Fuller struggles to reconcile her hardy South African self with risk-averse American middle-class life. However, the memoir really gets into its stride during her Wyoming years and Charlie's family are charming with an intriguing history.
In an interview Louise Erdrich once said ‘To be mixed blood is a great gift for a writer. I have one foot on tribal lands and one foot in middle-class life.' Fuller's conflict has made for a poignant and highly-readable memoir.