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Doris Lessing is one of the most important writers of the second half of the 20th-century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. For over fifty years she has been writing provocative, inventive and influential works, ranging from novels, short stories and science fiction to autobiography, drama, poetry, essays and operas. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, was published in 1950, and her international reputation has flourished since then. Among her other celebrated novels are The Golden Notebook, The Summer Before the Dark and Memoirs of a Survivor. She has also published two volumes of her autobiography, Under my Skin (which received the James Tait Black Prize) and Walking in the Shade. Her recent publications include the novels The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog and The Cleft, and Time Bites, a collection of essays. Ms Lessing's collection of short novels, Five, earned her the Somerset Maugham Award in 1954. The French translation of The Golden Notebook (1962) won the Prix Medici in 1976. In 1982 she received the Austrian State Prize for Literature and the Shakespeare Prize, Hamburg. Doris Lessing has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times: Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971), The Sirian Experiments (1981) and The Good Terrorist (1985) and won the WH Smith Award in 1985. In August 1991, she received an honorary title of Distinguished Fellow in Literature in the School of English and American Studies conferred by University of East Anglia. In 2001 she was awarded the Spanish Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, the David Cohen British Literature Prize and received a Companion of Honour from the Royal Society for Literature. She was recently short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize and received S. T. Dupont Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature. Doris Lessing died in November 2013.
Shortlisted for Author of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2008.This is such an interesting take on how we might have all evolved and an insightful comment on how human beings can act and react in ignorance. Disturbing at times but thought provoking and would be great material for any reading group.
This is Doris Lessing’s first novel published in 1950 and is still as powerful today as it was then. As interesting and stunning a read as it was then and surprising how relevant it still is today. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher... This is Nobel Prize-winning Lessing’s first novel, brought with her as a manuscript in a suitcase when she moved to England from Africa in 1950. Set in Rhodesia, it tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer, and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush. Trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny brick and iron house, Mary, lonely and frightened, turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding. An incredible evocation of Africa’s majestic beauty, a haunting portrait of lives in confusion and a disturbing exploration of the ideology of white supremacy, this is a landmark of twentieth-century literature.
Doris Lessing's contemporary gothic horror storycentered on the birth of a baby who seems less than humanprobes society's unwillingness to recognize its own brutality.Harriet and David Lovatt, parents of four children, have created an idyll of domestic bliss in defiance of the social trends of late 1960s England. While around them crime and unrest surge, the Lovatts are certain that their old-fashioned contentment can protect them from the world outsideuntil the birth of their fifth baby. Gruesomely goblin-like in appearance, insatiably hungry, abnormally strong and violent, Ben has nothing innocent or infant-like about him. As he grows older and more terrifying, Harriet finds she cannot love him, David cannot bring himself to touch him, and their four older children are afraid of him. Understanding that he will never be accepted anywhere, Harriet and David are torn between their instincts as parents and their shocked reaction to this fierce and unlovable child whose existence shatters their belief in a benign world.
This collection brings together three of Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing's most acclaimed novels.Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, is the story of Mary, a new wife, lonely and trapped in the African bush, until she turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding.A landmark of twentieth-century literature, The Golden Notebok is a powerful account of Anna Wulf, a woman searching for her personal and political identity, recording her emotional and creative lives in notebooks of different colours.And in The Good Terrorist, a group of naive revolutionaries sets out to change the world, only to find themselves involved in a protest movement of escalating violence.
This collection brings together three of Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing's most acclaimed novels. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, is the story of Mary, a young wife, lonely and trapped in the African bush, until she turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding. A landmark of twentieth-century literature, The Golden Notebook is a powerful account of Anna Wulf, a woman searching for her personal and political identity, recording her emotional and creative lives in notebooks of different colours. And in The Good Terrorist, a group of naive revolutionaries sets out to change the world, only to find themselves involved in a protest movement of escalating violence.
From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Doris Lessing, a short story about a young boy's coming of age.While on holiday with his mother, a young boy sees a group of older children jumping from a rock into deep sea. He feels compelled to challenge himself to match them, and in doing so will take his first steps away from childhood.An amazingly vivid short story, Through the Tunnel explores the difficulties of childhood and ageing, resonating with many of Doris Lessing's acclaimed novels.This story also appears in the collection To Room Nineteen.
A group of squatters rebel against Mrs Thatcher and erupt into violence in this politicised novel from the author of `The Golden Notebook'. In a London squat a band of bourgeois revolutionaries are united by a loathing of the waste and cruelty they see around them. These maladjusted malcontents try desperately to become involved in terrorist activities far beyond their level of competence. Only Alice seems capable of organising anything. Motherly, practical and determined, she is also easily exploited by the group and ideal fodder for a more dangerous and potent cause. Eventually their naive radical fantasies turn into a chaos of real destruction, but the aftermath is not as exciting as they had hoped. Nonetheless, while they may not have changed the world, their lives will never be the same again...
The landmark novel of the Sixties - a powerful account of a woman searching for her personal, political and professional identity while facing rejection and betrayal. In 1950s London, novelist Anna Wulf struggles with writer's block. Divorced with a young child, and fearful of going mad, Anna records her experiences in four coloured notebooks: black for her writing life, red for political views, yellow for emotions, blue for everyday events. But it is a fifth notebook - the golden notebook - that finally pulls these wayward strands of her life together. Widely regarded as Doris Lessing's masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, `The Golden Notebook' is wry and perceptive, bold and indispensable.
The Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing's first novel is a taut and tragic portrayal of a crumbling marriage, set in South Africa during the years of Arpartheid. Set in Rhodesia, `The Grass is Singing' tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush and viciously abuses the black South Africans who work on their farm. But after many years, trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny house, the lonely and frightened Mary turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding. A masterpiece of realism, `The Grass is Singing' is a superb evocation of Africa's majestic beauty, an intense psychological portrait of lives in confusion and, most of all, a fearless exploration of the ideology of white supremacy.
In contemporary London, a loose-knit group of political vagabonds drifts from one cause to the next, picketing and strategizing for hypothetical situations. But within this world, one particular small commune is moving inexorably toward active terrorism. At its center is Alice Mellings, a brilliant organizer who knows how to cope with almost anything, except the vacuum of her own life. Always reliable, she makes herself indispensable to the commune, earning a precious sense of belonging by denying her own sense of self. But now, suddenly, the stakes are rising. Some in the group appear to have ties to insurgents in Northern Ireland and even to Soviets who are "e;recruiting."e; A small bomb set off on a deserted street leads to ideas that are dangerously ambitious, and there is a "e;professional"e; who is eager to meet with Alice and discuss her future with his organization.
Doris Lessing's first book after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature revisits her childhood in Southern Africa and the lives, both fictional and factual, that her parents led. `I think my father''s rage at the trenches took me over, when I was very young, and has never left me. Do children feel their parents' emotions? Yes, we do, and it is a legacy I could have done without. What is the use of it? It is as if that old war is in my own memory, my own consciousness.' In this extraordinary book, Doris Lessing explores the lives of her parents, both of them irrevocably damaged by the Great War. Her father wanted the simple life of an English farmer, but shrapnel almost killed him in the trenches, and thereafter he had to wear a wooden leg. Her mother Emily's great love was a doctor who drowned in the Channel, and she spent the war nursing the wounded in the Royal Free Hospital. In the first half of this book, Lessing imagines the lives her parents might have made for themselves had there been no war, a story that has them meeting at a village cricket match as children but leading separate lives. This is followed by a piercing examination of their lives as they actually came to be in the shadow of that war, their move to Rhodesia, a damaged couple hulking over Lessing's childhood in a strange land. `Here I still am,' says Doris Lessing, `trying to get out from under that monstrous legacy, trying to get free.'
A collection of charming and celebrated writings about cats, from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Doris Lessing's love affair with cats began at a young age, when she became intrigued with the semi-feral creatures on the African farm where she grew up. Her fascination remained undiminished by the handsome domesticated creatures who shared her flats and her life in London and grew into real love with El Magnifico, the awkwardly lovable cat who in his later years suffered the great indignity of becoming a three-legged beast. Consisting of Lessing's celebrated collection of stories, `Particularly Cats and Rufus', and the poignant though unsentimental memoir, `The Old Age of El Magnifico', this book is a brilliant evocation of the feline world.
Shortlisted for Author of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2008.This is such an interesting take on how we might have all evolved and an insightful comment on how human beings can act and react in ignorance. Disturbing at times but thought provoking and would be great material for any reading group.
A feminist landmark, The Golden Notebook tells the story of writer Anna Wulf and the crises she faces in her personal, political and professional life. Confounded by writer's block, the ferociously independent Wulf explores her situation in four notebooks, one for each of the strands in her life. The Golden Notebook is the one in which, struggling to retain her sanity, she brings these strands together.
A fascinating novel of love and ecology from the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Doris Lessing returns to the world of visionary fiction, first visited in her Canopus in Argos quintet of novels in the 1980s, and in `Mara and Dann', to which this is a sequel, in 1999. The Earth's climate has changed - it is colder than ever before - and Dann, four in the first book, is now grown up and a general, and the man to whom everyone looks for guidance and leadership. Lessing's novel charts his adventures across the frozen wastes of the north, a journey that will eventually lead to the discovery of a secret library.
Assembled here for the first time in book form are the very best occasional writings from the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. A selection of the very best of Doris Lessing's essays: articles on writers as diverse as Jane Austen, Muriel Spark, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence and Mikael Bulgakov sit alongside autobiographical looks at the beliefs that have shaped Lessing's thinking. There are adoring and adorable pieces on the beloved cats that she has allowed to share her life, and insightful looks at the Africa in which she grew up, and London and England, the place where she made her home. The range of subjects, cultures and periods within these essays is huge, but the collection is utterly consistent in one key regard: Doris Lessing's clear-eyed vision and clearly expressed prose are present throughout. There is a huge amount of wisdom and entertainment in these pages, shot through with Lessing's infectiously forthright, zestful and impish spirit.
From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, a collection of some of her finest short stories. For more than four decades, Doris Lessing's work has observed the passion and confusion of human relations, holding a mirror up to our selves in her unflinching dissection of the everyday. From the magnificent `To Room Nineteen', a study of a dry, controlled middle-class marriage `grounded in intelligence', to the shocking `A Woman on the Roof', where a workman becomes obsessed with a pretty sunbather, this superb collection of stories written over four decades, from the 1950s to the 1990s, bears stunning witness to Doris Lessing's perspective on the human condition.
Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing tackles the 1960s and their legacy head-on in one of her most involving, personal, political novels. It's the morning of the 1960s and it's suppertime at Freedom Hall, the most welcoming household in north London. Frances Lennox stands at her stove, preparing another feast before ladling it out to the youthful crew assembled around her hospitable table - here are her two sons, smarting at their upbringing but beginning to absorb their mother's lessons. Around them are ranged their schoolfriends and girlfriends and ex-friends and new friends fresh off the street. The feast begins. Wine and talk flow. Everything is being changed and being challenged. But what is being tolerated? And where will it end? Over there in the corner is Frances's ex-husband, Comrade Johnny, who delivers his rousing tirades, then laps up the adolescent adulation before disappearing into the night to evade the clutches of his responsibilities. Upstairs sits Johnny's exiled mother, funding all, but finding she can embrace only one lost little girl - Sylvia, who has to travel to Africa, to newly independent Zimlia, to find out who she is and what she wants. And what of the Africans, what will they tolerate? These are the people dreaming the 1960s into being, and the people who, on the morning after all that dreaming, woke to find they were the ones who had to clear up and make good.
First published in 1984, under a pseudonym, as `The Diary of a Good Neighbour' and `If the Old Could ...', now published as `The Diaries of Jane Somers', this is in many ways classic Lessing. As resonant with social and political themes as `The Golden Notebook', Lessing returns to the realism of her early fiction with the wisdom and experience of maturity. The diaries introduce us to Jane, an intelligent and beautiful magazine editor concerned with success, clothes and comfort. But her real inadequacy is highlighted when first her husband, then her mother, die from cancer and Jane feels strangely removed. In an attempt to fill this void, she befriends ninety-something Maudie, whose poverty and squalor contrast so radically with the glamour and luxury of the magazine world. The two gradually come to depend on each other - Maudie delighting Jane with tales of London in the 1920s and Jane trying to care for the rapidly deteriorating old woman. `The Diary of Jane Somers' contrasts the helplessness of the elderly with that of the young as Jane is forced to care for her nineteen-year-old drop-out niece Kate who is struggling with an emotional breakdown. Jane realises that she understands young people as little as she so recently did the old.
From Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the sequel to one of her most celebrated novels, `The Fifth Child'. `The Fifth Child', Doris Lessing's 1988 novel, made a powerful impact on publication. Its account of idyllic marital and parental bliss shattered by the arrival of the feral fifth child of the Lovatts made for unnerving and compulsive reading. That child, Ben, is the central character of this sequel, which picks up the fable at the end of his childhood and takes our primal, misunderstood, maladjusted teenager out into the world. He meets mostly with mockery, fear and incomprehension, but with just enough kindness and openness to keep him afloat as his adventures take him from London to the south of France and on to South America in his restless quest for community, companionship and peace. Lessing employs a plain, unadorned prose fit for fables; again, we have a childlike perspective at the heart of the book; again, the world in all its malevolence and misapprehension swirls around at the edge, while, occasionally, a strong character steps forward to try to set a good example.
A visionary novel from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is sooner than you might think. And the Earth's climate is much changed - it's colder than ever before in the north, and unbearably dry and hot in the south. Mara, who is seven, and her four-year-old brother Dann find themselves somewhere very strange, not home ... They are taken in by a kindly, grandmotherly woman, but this new life is hard: hunger, dirt, thirst and danger are the children's constant companions. Drought and fire carry off their adoptive home and force them to set off northward into the unknown, to experience a series of adventures that bring them to an altogether altered world, where they can start to learn and build anew. Doris Lessing has written a compelling, troubling and entertaining novel that, through the remarkable odyssey of a brother and sister living in the imagined future, manages to tell us a great deal about the present we perceive only dimly and scarcely know how to value.
The second volume of the autobiography of Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. `Walking in the Shade' begins in 1949, as Doris Lessing arrives in London with nothing but her young son and the manuscript of her first novel. With humour and clear-sightedness, she records her battles of the next decade: her involvement with communism, her love affairs, her struggle with poverty, the difficulties she faced as a young single mother. But as well there is the success of that first novel, `The Grass Is Singing', and meetings with personalities and opinion-makers - Kenneth Tynan, John Osborne, Bertrand Russell and others.Describing, too, the genesis of `The Golden Notebook', this book sees Lessing emerge as one of the most exciting, and groundbreaking, novelists of the post-war generation, and one of the twentieth century's great writers.
A fierce, compelling account of the nature and origins of love from Doris Lessing, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century and winner of the Nobel Pize for Literature 2007. Sarah Durham, sixty-year-old producer and founder of a leading fringe theatre company, commissions a play based on the journals of Julie Vairon, a beautiful, wayward nineteenth-century mulatto woman. It captivates all who come into contact with it, and dramatically changes the lives of all those who take part in it. For Sarah the changes are profound - she falls in love with two younger men, causing her to relive her own stages of growing up, from immature and infantile with the beautiful and androgynous Bill, to a mature love with Henry.
The story of a middle-aged woman's search for freedom, from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her four children have flown, her husband is otherwise occupied, and after twenty years of being a good wife and mother, Kate Brown is free for a summer of adventure. She plunges into an affair with a younger man, travelling abroad with him, and, on her return to England, meets an extraordinary young woman whose charm and freedom of spirit encourages Kate in her own liberation. Kate's new life has brought her a strange unhappiness, but as the summer months unfold, a darker, disquieting journey begins, devastating in its consequences. A novel of self-discovery that bears the hallmarks of Lessing's brilliance, honesty and power to move the reader, `The Summer Before the Dark' has been hailed by some as Lessing's best book.
The first volume of the autobiography of Doris Lessing, author of `The Grass is Singing' and `The Golden Notebook', and Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Winner of the James Tait Black Prize 1994. Doris Lessing's autobiography begins with her childhood in Africa and ends on her arrival in London in 1949 with the typescript of her first novel in her suitcase. It charts the evolution first of her consciousness, then of her sexuality and finally of her political awareness with an almost overwhelming immediacy, and is as distinctive and challenging as anything she has ever written. It is already recognised as one of the great autobiographies of the twentieth century.
A study of a man beyond the verge of a nervous breakdown, this is a brilliant and disturbing novel by Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Penniless, rambling and incoherent, a man is found wandering at night on London's Embankment. Taken to hospital and heavily sedated, he tells the doctors of his incredible fantastical voyage, adrift on the ocean, landing on unknown shores, flying on the back of a huge white bird. Identified as Charles Watkins, a Cambridge Classics professor, he is visited by family and friends, each revealing clues to the nature of his breakdown. As the doctors try to cure him, Watkins begins a fierce battle to hold on to his magnificent inner world, as it gradually acquires a greater reality than the everyday... `Briefing for a Descent into Hell' is one of Doris Lessing's most brilliantly achieved novels, linking her early work, which explored the nature of subjectivity, with her later experiments in science fiction. Its indictment of the tyranny of society is powerful, disturbing and, as always, magnificently rendered.
A compelling vision of a disorietating and barbaric future from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many years in the future, city life has broken down, communications have failed and food supplies are dwindling. From her window a middle-aged woman - our narrator - watches things fall apart and records what she witnesses: hordes of people migrating to the countryside, gangs of children roaming the streets. One day, a young girl, Emily, is brought to her house by a stranger and left in her care. A strange, precocious adolescent, drawn to the tribal streetlife and its barbaric rituals, she is unafraid of the harsh world outside, while our narrator retreats into her hidden world where reality fades and the past is revisited ...
The first volume of Doris Lessing's `Collected African Stories', and a classic work from the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. `It can be said of all white-dominated Africa that it was - and still is - the Old Chief's Country. So all the stories I write of a certain kind I think of as belonging under that heading; tales about white people, sometimes about black people, living in a landscape that not so very long ago was settled by black tribes, living in complex societies that the white people are only just beginning to study, let alone understand.' Doris Lessing, from the Preface In this superb volume of African stories, Lessing paints a magnificent portrait of the country in which she grew up. The cruelties of the white man towards the native, `the amorphous black mass, like tadpoles, faceless, who existed merely to serve', the English settlers, ill at ease, the gamblers and moneymakers searching for diamonds and gold, and the presence, `latent always in the blood', of Africa itself, its majestic beauty and timeless landscape: Lessing draws them all together into a powerful, memorable vision.
From Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the second volume of her collected short stories. Lessing is unrivalled in her ability to capture the complexities of relationships, and the stories in this wonderful collection have lost none of their original power. Two marriages, both middle class, liberal and `rather literary', share a shocking flaw, a secret `cancer'. A young, beautiful woman from a working-class family is courted by a very eligible, very upmarket man. An ageing actress falls in love for the first time but can only express her feelings through her stage performances because her happily married lover is unobtainable. A dedicated, lifelong rationalist is tempted, after the death of his father, by the comforts of religious belief. In this magnificent collection of stories, which spans four decades, Lessing's unique gift for observation, her wit, her compassion and remarkable ability to illuminate human life are all remarkably displayed.
From Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the fifth and final instalment in the visionary novel cycle `Canopus in Argos: Archives'. `The Sentimental Agents ...' is set in the declining Volyen Empire as the empires of Sirius and Shammat compete to overwhelm it with rhetoric and false sentiment. The Canopean Empire deploys covert agents to help the Volyens resist. But one of these agents, Incent, succumbs to `Undulant Rhetoric', and Agent Klorathy must go to Volyen to help him see through the empty words that have beguiled him. Once more employing alien races to identify human failings, Lessing uses social and political satire to show how we misuse speech (and speeches) and delude ourselves with self-aggrandizing notions about the primacy of emotion. Her renowned insight into human behaviour goes hand in hand here with a vein of humour that sees her writing in the tradition of Voltaire and Swift.
From Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this is the second instalment in the visionary novel cycle `Canopus in Argos: Archives'. This is the story of the kindly Queen of Zone Three, who rules a land free of all harshness, and her forced marriage with the soldier-king of Zone Four, which is hierarchic, disciplined, inflexible, dutiful. This apparently difficult marriage, unwanted by both, requires a compromise between impulse and reason, between instinct and logic. Ben Ata learns to accept and then to love the ruler of Zone Three and her alien ways; and she learns to love and to need him. But when the Queen is commanded by the Providers to return to her own realm, she must obey, shattering though it is to leave her husband and child. Ben Ata, in turn, is ordered to marry the savage beauty who rules Zone Five, a land that both unites and reverses the other two Zones. In `The Marriages ...' Doris Lessing uses science-fiction brilliantly to investigate the conflict between men and women. Once again, invented planets allow her to deploy her unillusioned knowledge of the real world of the reader.
An essential and definitive collection of the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's finest essays, reviews, reminiscences and interviews from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. `The novelist talks as an individual to individuals, in a small personal voice. In an age of committee art, public art, people may begin to feel again a need for the small personal voice; and this will feed confidence into writers and, with confidence because of the knowledge of being needed, the warmth and humanity, and love of people which is essential for a great age of literature.' In this collection of her non-fiction, Lessing's own life and work are the subject of a number of pieces, as are fellow writers such as Isak Dinesen and Kurt Vonnegut. There are essays on Malcolm X and Sufism, discussions of the responsibility of the artist, thoughts on her exile from Southern Rhodesia, and a fascinating memoir of her fraught relationship with her mother. Lit throughout by Doris Lessing's desire for truth-telling, `A Small Personal Voice' is both an important collection of writings by and a self-portrait of one of the most significant writers of the past century.
From Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this is the first instalment in the visionary novel cycle `Canopus in Argos: Archives'. The story of the final days of our planet is told through the reports of Johor, an emissary sent from Canopus. Earth, now named Shikasta (the Stricken) by the kindly, paternalistic Canopeans who colonised it many centuries ago, is under the influence of the evil empire of Puttiora. War, famine, disease and environmental disasters ravage the planet. To Johor, mankind is a `totally crazed species', racing towards annihilation: his orders to save humanity set him what seems to be an impossible task. Blending myth, fable and allegory, Doris Lessing's astonishing visionary creation both reflects and redefines the history of our own world from its earliest beginnings to an inevitable, tragic self-destruction.
The third in Doris Lessing's visionary novel cycle Canopus in Argos: Archives . It is a mix of fable, futuristic fantasy and pseudo-documentary accounts of 20th-century history.
From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this is the fourth instalment in the visionary novel cycle `Canopus in Argos: Archives'. The handsome, intelligent people of Planet 8 of the Canopean Empire know only an idyllic existence on their bountiful planet, its weather consistently nurturing, never harsh. They live long, purposeful, untroubled lives. Then one day The Ice begins, and ice and snow cover the planet's surface. Crops and animals die off, and the people must learn to live with this new desolation. Their only hope is that, as they have been promised, they will be taken from Planet 8 to a new world. But when the Canopean ambassador, Johor, finally arrives, he has devastating news: they will die along with their planet. Slowly they come to understand that their salvation may lie in the creation of one Representative who can save what is most essential to them. Lessing has written a frightening and, finally, hopeful book, a profound and thought-provoking contribution to the science-fiction genre the novel generally.
Writing inspired by four visits to Zimbabwe, her childhood home, from the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007, Doris Lessing. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Doris Lessing made several visits to her homeland, Zimbabwe, a country from which she had been banned for twenty-five years for her opposition to the government of what was then white Southern Rhodesia. Vividly mingling memory and reportage, Lessing pays passionate and profound testament to an extraordinary country, its landscape, people and unquenchable spirit. `African Laughter' is both a shrewd and perceptive portrait of a modern African state emerging from its bloody and terrible colonial history, and a candid and moving insight into the mind of one of this century's finest writers.
By turns, an unsparing and joyous account of life in a postwar London rooming house by Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. In the early post-war years, Doris Lessing left her native Southern Africa in search of a grail - a life of glamour and refinement that she naively believed England offered everyone. A fascinating, hilarious memoir of her first impressions of her adopted country, `In Pursuit of the English' brilliantly captures Lessing's constant wonder at and growing affection for the people she came to know: the working-class of the East End of London. Lusty, quarrelsome, unscrupulous and full-blooded, they were quite unlike the English she had expected to find ...
Across eighteen short stories, Lessing dissects London and its inhabitants with the power for truth and compassion to be expected of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. 'During that first year in England, I had a vision of London I cannot recall now ... it was a nightmare city that I lived in for a year. Then, one evening, walking across the park, the light welded buildings, trees and scarlet buses into something familiar and beautiful, and I knew myself to be at home.' Lessing's vision of London - a place of nightmares and wonder - underpins this brilliantly multifaceted collection of stories about the city, seen from a cafe table, a hospital bed, the back seat of a taxi, a hospital casualty department; seen, as always, unflinchingly, and compellingly depicted.
The fifth and final book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. `The Four-Gated City' finds Martha Quest in 1950s London and very much part of the social history of the time: the Cold War, the anti-nuclear Aldermaston Marches, Swinging London, the deepening of poverty and social anarchy. Daring to go a step further - as Lessing so often has in her career - the novel ends with the century in the throes of World War Three. In the four previous novels of the `Children of Violence' series, Lessing explored the end of an epoch. Here she trains her gaze on the present - and the future. The disquieting power of her vision revealed across this series finds its culmination in this brave and visionary work.
The fourth book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Martha Quest finds herself completely disillusioned. She is losing faith with the communist movement in Africa, and her marriage to one of the movement's leaders is disintegrating. Determined to resist the erosion of her personality, she engages in a love affair and breaks free, if only momentarily, from her suffocating unhappiness.
The third book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. ` The personal life of a comrade would be arranged so that it interferes as little as possible with work, he said. Martha had not imagined that the personal talk with Anton would arise like an item on an agenda; she now felt frivolous because she had been looking forward to something different ...' The 'Children of Violence' series established Doris Lessing as a major radical writer. In this third volume, Martha, now free of her stultifying marriage to Douglas, is able to pursue the independent life she has wanted for so long. Her deepening involvement with South African revolutionary politics draws her into a world of fierce commitments and passionate idealism. A time of great change, Martha's young womanhood brings not only immense happiness when she embarks on an affair with a fellow party member, but also great sorrow - for the pain of abandoning Caroline, her baby daughter, left at home with Douglas, never diminishes ...
The second book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. `A Proper Marriage' sees twenty-something Martha beginning to realise that her marriage has been a terrible mistake. Already the first passionate flush of matrimony has begun to fade; sensuality has become dulled by habit, blissful motherhood now seems no more than a tiresome chore. Caught up in a maelstrom of a world war she can no longer ignore, Martha's political consciousness begins to dawn, and, seizing independence for the first time, she chooses to make her life her own.
The opening book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. When we first meet Martha Quest, she is a girl of fifteen living with her parents on a poor African farm. She is eager for life and resentful of the deadening narrowness of home, and escapes to take a job as a typist in the local capital. Here, in the `big city', she encounters the real life she was so eager to know and understand. As a picture of colonial life, `Martha Quest' succeeds by the depth of its realism alone; but always at its centre is Martha, a sympathetic figure drawn with unrelenting objectivity. Martha's Africa is Doris Lessing's Africa: the restrictive life of the farm; the atmosphere of racial fear and antagonism; the superficial sophistication of the city. And both Martha and Lessing are Children of Violence: the generation that was born of one world war and came of age in another, whose abrasive relationships with their parents, with one another, and with society are laid bare brilliantly by a writer who understands them better than any other.
A classic tale from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, of a family torn apart by the arrival of Ben, their feral fifth child. `Listening to the laughter, the sounds of children playing, Harriet and David would reach for each other's hand, and smile, and breathe happiness.' Four children, a beautiful old house, the love of relatives and friends - Harriet and David Lovatt's life is a glorious hymn to domestic bliss and old-fashioned family values. But when their fifth child is born, a sickly and implacable shadow is cast over this tender idyll. Large and ugly, violent and uncontrollable, the infant Ben, `full of cold dislike', tears at Harriet's breast. Struggling to care for her new-born child, faced with a darkness and a strange defiance she has never known before, Harriet is deeply afraid of what, exactly, she has brought into the world ...
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