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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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