Alexandra Fuller writes to untangle a knot—usually a knot in her own lived experience.
“Everyone in my family hates the books I write, they ask me to stop, but I can’t look away. ‘Write novels,’ Dad begged, but real life never stops coming at me, and it pours from my pen more easily than fiction,” she writes. “It’s not only the old adage to write what I know, but also to write what I love. And it’s the artist’s impulse to turn again and again to the same subject until the subject gives up its secrets.”
That’s how the bestselling author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight explains why she repeatedly returns to her youth spent in central and southern Africa and her ongoing family ties to the land.
In Travel Light, Move Fast, Fuller focuses her gaze on her father, Tim. She and her mother are by Tim’s side for his sudden demise in a Hungarian hospital. After his death, the pair returns with Tim’s ashes to the Fuller family farm in Africa, where Fuller attempts to help her mom resettle after losing her chaotic, iconic partner of half a century.
Tim Fuller was British, and his family lamented his move to Africa. “Tim Fuller went to Africa and lost everything,” or so went his family lore. But Tim found the life he desired: a woman who would tolerate and even celebrate his flamboyant ways, freedom to travel the land, a family and eventually—at his wife’s urging—a farm of his own.
Fuller carefully picks away at the tangle of her grief by exploring her dad’s life, gliding between her own experience in the present and his raucous past. Travel Light, Move Fast is a sensitive, meticulously wrought portrait of one family’s sometimes-challenging dynamics, set against an unforgiving African backdrop. Fuller’s beautiful prose juxtaposes the grieving process with the lessons she learned from the man whose adventures shaped her.