Review: Alexandra Fuller’s ‘Leaving Before the Rains Come’

February 6, 2015 4:52 PM

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Review: Alexandra Fuller’s ‘Leaving Before the Rains Come’

Alexandra Fuller has written a divorce memoir for people who may not like divorce memoirs — a group that, she confesses, once included herself. When her own marriage was faltering, she sought solace and advice in secondhand paperback breakup books “that came in the telltale, rippled condition of women on the brink; read in the bath, wept on, or both.” She read these volumes furtively and with “increasing dismay,” abandoning them in the backs of airplane seats and in hotels, “a guilty trail of contagion.” One book disturbed her so much that she “tore it into parts and discarded the fragments in separate gas station garbage bins across South Dakota and Nebraska.”

Leaving Before the Rains Come should meet no such fate. The book is a deeply felt, beautifully written account of the emotional challenges of forging any sort of relationship — between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, parent and child. It also is a rich portrayal of life in Africa and a r...

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