Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller

Leaving Before the Rains Come

Alexandra Fuller

A breathtaking achievement, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a memoir of such grace and intelligence, filled with such wit and courage, that it could only have been written by Alexandra Fuller.

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New York Times Bestseller

"One of the gutsiest memoirs I've ever read. And the writing--oh my god the writing." --Entertainment Weekly


A child of the Rhodesian wars and daughter of two deeply complicated parents, Alexandra Fuller is no stranger to pain. But the disintegration of Fuller’s own marriage leaves her shattered. Looking to pick up the pieces of her life, she finally confronts the tough questions about her past, about the American man she married, and about the family she left behind in Africa. A breathtaking achievement, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a memoir of such grace and intelligence, filled with such wit and courage, that it could only have been written by Alexandra Fuller.

Leaving Before the Rains Come begins with the dreadful first years of the American financial crisis when Fuller’s delicate balance—between American pragmatism and African fatalism, the linchpin of her unorthodox marriage—irrevocably fails. Recalling her unusual courtship in Zambia—elephant attacks on the first date, sick with malaria on the wedding day—Fuller struggles to understand her younger self as she overcomes her current misfortunes. Fuller soon realizes what is missing from her life is something that was always there: the brash and uncompromising ways of her father, the man who warned his daughter that "the problem with most people is that they want to be alive for as long as possible without having any idea whatsoever how to live." Fuller’s father—"Tim Fuller of No Fixed Abode" as he first introduced himself to his future wife—was a man who regretted nothing and wanted less, even after fighting harder and losing more than most men could bear.

Leaving Before the Rains Come showcases Fuller at the peak of her abilities, threading panoramic vistas with her deepest revelations as a fully grown woman and mother. Fuller reveals how, after spending a lifetime fearfully waiting for someone to show up and save her, she discovered that, in the end, we all simply have to save ourselves.

An unforgettable book, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a story of sorrow grounded in the tragic grandeur and rueful joy only to be found in Fuller’s Africa.


Advance Galley Reviews

I love Alexandra Fuller's books. I always feel that I can learn so much about Zambia and it's culture every time I read one of her books. Leaving Before the Rains Come was insightful and interesting. I highly recommend any of her books.

A child of the wars and daughter of two deeply complicated parents, Alexandra Fuller understands pain. Leaving before the Rain Comes tells the story of a strong women finding herself. It's a powerful read. I will give it 3.5/5 stars.

Not quite the outcome I hoped for; I think we all have a tendency to want a happy ending. While Fuller understands much better by the end of the book how she can save herself, she still left me with an unsatisfied feeling about her marriage. Nonetheless, Fuller's insights and descriptions of both continents are first rate, and I highly recommend this book.

As a first time reader of Alexandra Fuller I enjoyed this memoir full of memories of her childhood growing up in Zambia Africa with her exuberant family trying to live life to the fullest as Al's dad refers to his belief that people want to live as long as possible without having any idea how to live. She ends up meeting an American whom she believes will save her from the chaos al around with his sense of adventure and his lack of concern regarding the dangers of everyday life, he knows how to liv but not for the purpose of extending his life but for the adventure and experience. Later she marries him and moves with him to America and realizes that the things she was running from , her family and chaos, was what she really needed. Her style of writing and her descriptions of her memories engaged my mind pulling me into her world with her. It is a book I would recommend to those who are interested in reading about adventures and childhood experiences in another culture and want to enjoy a book that will keep them turning the pages.

An amazing book that transports you to the continent of Africa and into the psyche of those that had to lived through troubled time, and how they cope with tragedy. Like The Constant Gardener, it was easy to imagine life in these places Fuller describes, just as easily as it is to recognize places within the United States that we find as settings for the book. Each chapter could easily be read as its own short story. However, because of this, character development isn't the strongest. We are only given glimpses and asked to develop reasoning behind actions by simply learning the actions themselves, rather than Fuller's discussion or pondering on why things may have been. While this may work on some levels, it is evident when describing Fuller's husband, because we are told of this great, passionate love, but left with feelings of simple fondness--leaving me to say "huh" more than a few times.

This is my first exposure to Alexandra Fuller, and I have fallen in love. The tone of the book is a combination of wry commentary and sad reflection, her language is spare, her quotations of other authors absolutely appropriate. I appreciate novels that are more thought than action, and this is a perfect example.

An honest intimate look into Alexandra's life.raw details are shared on every page from her eccentric childhood with her unusual parents in Africa to her marriage to a young American adventurer who she thinks is her soulmate.when financial realities set in&starts to unravel we watch her cope with her dreams falling apart,

A raw honest look at AlexandraFullers life .From her Rhodesian childhood raised by eccentric unique parents to her marriage at a young age to her American Husband.She found him to be a dreamer and an adventurer.as she adjusted to life in America the realities of life adjusting to a new country and the difficult mess the marriage became..Alexandra allows us in . This beautifully written memoir will keep you turning the pages.Highly recommend,

This book had a lot of structural problems, I think. I enjoyed the bits with her eccentric African family, a vein that Fuller has mined before to great effect. The dissolution of her marriage was messy, and difficult to understand, told backward and forward in time. However, Fuller can write like nobody's business, so I enjoyed this book which I received as an early release ebook from First to Read.

Alexandra Fuller’s “Leaving before the Rains Come” it’s an amazing story of an English woman brought up in war and disease torn Africa. I’m sure that any women can find something of their own story in Fuller’s life. Being the woman, who had to leave her country to come here, to build my home and family with the husband from so different to mine culture I especially can relate to the author. Reading this book for the first time in 15 years I didn’t feel alone in here. I recommend this book to any one and every one. You will laugh and cry while reading it. I look forward to read more from Alexandra Fuller.

Such a beautiful and heart-felt book. It details the author's unorthodox upbringing in Africa and how that shaped her into the adult she became, including the demise of her marriage. Highly recommended.

Unlike most readers of this book, I suspect, I have not read Fuller's previous books, so this was my first exposure to her voice. I loved it. She is open, honest, not overly critical but also questioning. She is near a divorce and looking back on her adult life and examining how she got there. What was she looking for in marriage? As an adult, what did she expect from herself? How is her family and upbringing tangled up in all that? I don't agree with all the choices that she made, but I don't think I need to in order to love the book. I love the writing and the characters she paints around herself. These are, of course, real people, but in a good memoir they also need to be painted as characters. Her voice is clear and strong, and her examination of her own life is inspiring. The central question of the memoir deals with how to live with risk. Her childhood was fraught with risk, danger. She was looking to escape that when she got married, but none of really can escape it. The finanacial risk was made obvious to her when the recession of 2008 hit, but it was clear before that, as well. The discussion she has with herself in this memoir reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother years ago, when my employment was uncertain and I didn't know where I would be in a year. My mother looked confused at my complaint about the stress of uncertainty. "No one knows where they're going to be in a year,", she said. "They just think they do. You're simply better informed." So we all make choices about how ordered our lives will seem, what rules we choose to enforce. Fuller grew up without rules, and married a man who liked rules. But that seems to be a conflict she needs to resolve now in her adulthood. In the end, I liked the writing, I liked the ideas, and I liked the author. Great read.

This is the first book I've read by Alexandra Fuller and she is an amazing writer. There were passages within the book where I just stopped. Reflected. Became completely lost within my own thoughts about what she had written. So the problem is, I wasn't lost within the overarching story she was telling; her eloquent ideas sent my thoughts in other directions. This book felt like a collection of essays, loosely themed around her primary relationships and how they changed over time, or rather how she changed in her needs from them over time.

Love her writing!

Alexandra Fuller's memoir was an interesting read. It takes the reader through her childhood growing up on a farm in Africa to living in the US with her husband and children, facing financial and personal struggles throughout. I thought that the book was very well written and Fuller has a way with words, but it wasn't really for me. This is the kind of book that you have to have something in common with the author to really get into it, and we are about as far apart as you can get. I would, however, recommend to readers who love a personal tale of struggle and triumph, no matter how small it seems.

Having read several of her previous books, I jumped at the chance to read Alexandra Fuller's newest memoir. I have heard it said that a writer must have something to say and be able to say it well.Ms. Fuller has both in spades. This book is an account of the dissolution of her marriage, but it is laced with more tales of her unusual childhood in the last days of Rhodesia, as it violently morphed into Zimbabwe, and of her eccentric family. Into this world, her handsome, rational husband, Charlie Ross, seemed a sort of lifeboat out of chaos and into security. After the birth of their first child, they left Africa behind and began a conventional sort of life in the USA, with a mortgage, bills, and two more children. Ms. Fuller wanted it to work, she tried to make it work, but somehow she felt herself sinking, subsumed into another personality, no longer able to really be herself. The very security her husband seemed to offer bumped up against the sort of freewheeling life she had lived in Africa. Always, her father's pithy, understated remarks pull her back to the core of the life she knows she has lost by being in her marriage. I read this book in galley form; it will be published in January 2015. I know I can't quote from a galley, lest changes are made to the text, but there were so many spots I would have underlined in a conventional bound book. This is beautiful, thoughtful writing at its best. Ms. Fuller's is a human spirit unfolded to us in the most lovely prose. Highly recommended.

"Leaving Before the Rains Come" was a beautifully written story of accepting you are. Fuller's mastery of words is apparent in every sentence of the memoir. She teaches us so many lessons about what it means to live and how you reconcile differing identities by merely sharing her own story. She has such a witty sense of humor that it made even the less humorous situations not quite so serious. Her story was packed with an immense amount meaning. Every story had its own lessons to teach. It was incredibly well-written and I enjoyed every minute of reading it.

 


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