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The Sweetest Dream by Doris Lessing


The Sweetest Dream by Doris Lessing

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.


`Her portraits of sympathetic human relationships are of quite staggering beauty...It would be hard to exaggerate the splendour of this book.
The Times

`The haunting brilliance of her characters...the passion of her ideas and vision, remain undiminished. She's up there in the pantheon with Honore [Balzac] and George [Eliot].

About the Author

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th June 2002


Doris Lessing

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Flamingo an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


496 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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