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What's Alexandra Fuller reading?

Alexandra Fuller recently published “Quiet Until the Thaw,” her debut novel.

Alexandra Fuller recently published “Quiet Until the Thaw,” her debut novel.

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Alexandra Fuller

Fuller, best known for her memoir Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, was born in England and spent her childhood in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) before moving to the United States in 1994. The impetus for her first novel, Quiet Until the Thaw, came from a 2011 assignment for National Geographic on the Oglala Lakota Sioux Nation's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. After riding horseback with 400 Oglala Lakota across a large swath of countryside to commemorate the murder of Crazy Horse, Fuller lived on the reservation for several months and, for the first time since leaving Africa, she felt at home. In the book's introduction, she writes: "To be back among people who know Time the way I'd known it as child and a young woman was to find myself shocked into a completely unexpected homecoming, if home is where your soul can settle in recognition." The book, which incorporates the 1973 siege at Wounded Knee, centers on two Oglala cousins who were raised as brothers. One chooses a life path of peace while the other chooses violence. Fuller, who attended Acadia University in Nova Scotia, now lives in Wyoming.

What's on your nightstand?

David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon. (It should be) required reading for all U.S. citizens. It's an undeniable, searing expose of this country's continued organized oppression of indigenous nations, communities and individuals. And Juan Rulfo's Pedro Paramo, a disturbing, short, prescient novel, a dreamlike meditation on what happens to a land that has been ruled by a tyrant. It's a terrible warning and a gorgeous piece of prose.

Do you remember why you chose them?

A friend gave me his copy of Grann's book, which is often the way books find their way into my hands. Pedro Paramo was pressed into my hands by a bookseller whose sensibilities I trust.

When did you realize you wanted to write Quiet Until the Thaw?

That's hard to answer. I started to make sketches that turned into the novel five years ago. By then, I'd been away from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation a year, and still the place would not let me rest. I suppose at that point the book sort of started to make itself onto the page.

Contact Piper Castillo at pcastillo@tampabay.com. Follow @Florida_PBJC.

What's Alexandra Fuller reading? 08/03/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 1:55pm]
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