Lyndall Gordon

In & Out of Africa

Leaving Before the Rains Come


Harvill Secker 260pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

‘Do you consider yourself African?’ a reader asks Alexandra Fuller at a literary event in Dallas. It’s a question she expects and, given her migration from Zambia to Wyoming, she obliges with the expected answer. ‘Not any more. Not especially,’ she replies.

Yet body and spirit resist adaptation to a country and to an American husband, both of which have yielded to the soulless rule of corporate management. Fuller’s health caves in, and then, after six months in bed, she hunts for interviews with her parents which she’d taped, in the hope that her three American-born children could be persuaded to plunge with her into the country of her past. No luck. Children live in the present. All the same, the tapes turn her back to the African self she has tried to leave behind.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,