Alexandra Fuller · 315 pages
Rating: (43.3K votes)
“How you see a country depends on whether you are driving through it, or live in it. How you see a country depends on whether or not you can leave it, if you have to.”
“This is not a full circle. It's Life carrying on. It's the next breath we all take. It's the choice we all make to get on with it.”
“The land itself, of course, was careless of its name. It still is. You can call it what you like, fight all the wars you want in its name. Change its name altogether if you like. The land is still unblinking under the African sky. It will absorb white man's blood and the blood of African men, it will absorb blood from slaughtered cattle and the blood from a woman's birthing with equal thirst. It doesn't care.”
“Once, I discovered the skulls of two impala rams, their horns locked into an irreversible figure-of-eight; the two animals had been trapped in combat, latched to each other during the battle of the rut. The harder they had pulled to escape from each other, the more intractably stuck they were, until they had fallen exhausted, to their knees, in an embrace of hatred that had killed them both. When I picked up the skulls to add to my growing collection of what Vanessa called "Bobo's smelly pile," the hooked horns fell away from each other and the story of the impalas' death struggle was undone.”
“But I plucked a new, different, worldly soul for myself -- maybe a soul I found in the spray thrown up by the surge of that distant African river as it plummets onto black rocks and sends up into the sun a permanent arc of a rainbow.”
“Well-bred' ensured buckled noses, high-arched feet, a predisposition to madness, and ... an innate belief in our own unquestioning superiority.”
“But this is africa, so hardly anything is normal.”
“The schools wear the blank faces of war buildings, their windows blown blind by rocks or guns or mortars. Their plaster is an acne of bullet marks. The huts and small houses crouch open and vulnerable; their doors are flimsy pieces of plyboard or sacks hanging and lank. Children and chickens and dogs scratch in the red, raw soil and stare at us as we drive through their open, eroding lives.”
“All of us are mad and then she adds,smiling, but I'm the only one with a certificate to prove it”
“There is a madman who lives on the road to Mkushi. Every full moon he comes out onto the tarmac and digs a deep trench across the road. Dad would like to find the madman and bring him back to the farm. 'Think what a strong bugger he is, eh?' 'Yes, but you could only get him to work when there was a full moon.' 'Which is twice as hard as any other Zambian.”
“The world looks better when your belly is full, brighter and more hopeful. After”
“They drink blood," he tells me.
"For fun. Leopard beer." He laughs.”
“We drink the barely cool locally brewed Mosi from the leaky mildew-smelling fridge, keeping an eye out for UFOs, unidentified floating objects, in the bottles.”
“She is gently manic, in a pottering sort of way.”
“There is only one time of absolute silence. Halfway between the dark of night and the light of morning, all animals and crickets and birds fall into a profound silence as if pressed quiet by the deep quality of the blackest time of night...This silence is how I know it is not yet dawn, nor is it the middle of the night, but it is the place of no-time, when all things sleep most deeply, when their guard is dozing”
“In the hot, slow time of day when time and sun and thought slow to a dragging, shallow, pale crawl, there is the sound of heat. The grasshoppers and crickets sing and whine. Drying grass crackles. Dogs pant. There is the sound of breath and breathing, of an entire world collapsed under the apathy of the tropics.”
“Any fool could be a witch with a runic knife, but it took skill to be one with an apple corer.”
“Leopardstar says that they're staying with us so the Clans can exchange training methods and fighting techniques, but I don't see much sign of it. All they do is watch....It's like they're learning all about us, all our secrets and weaknesses. That's why I came over here, to get away from them for a bit.”
“Safe is just another word for scared.”
“Keep your eyes open, Fireheart. Keep your ears pricked. Keep looking behind you. Because one day I'll find you, and then you'll be crowfood.”
“Priscilla watched her husband as he slowly drifted into sleep, and once he was asleep, she took hold of his hand and put it to her face and smelled all of the outside world that he had brought in with him and then she tried to find sleep herself.”
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