The stories and sketches in this collection penetrate to the heart of human experience with the passion and intelligence readers have come to expect of Doris Lessing. Most of the piece are set in contemporary London, a city the author loves for its variety, its diversity, its transitoriness, the way it connects the life of animals and birds in the parks to the streets. Lessing's fiction also explores the darker corners of relationships between women and men, as in the rich and emotionally complex title story, in which she uncovers a more parlous reality behind the facade of the most conventional relationship between the sexes.
Winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature, Doris Lessing was one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of our time, the recipient of a host of international awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award, the David Cohen Memorial Prize for British Literature, the James Tait Black Prize for best biography, Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize and Prix Catalunya, and the S. T. Dupont Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature.
Lessing was born of British parents in Persia on October 22, 1919, and moved with her family to Southern Rhodesia when she was five years old. She went to England in 1949, where she published her first book, The Grass Is Singing, and began her career as a professional writer. In 1962, she broke new ground with her novel The Golden Notebook. She wrote more than thirty books—among them the novels Martha Quest, The Fifth Child, and her last work Alfred and Emily; stories, reportage, poems, and plays; and several nonfiction works, including books about cats, and two volumes of autobiography, Walking in the Shade and Under My Skin. She died on November 17, 2013. Her portrait hangs in London's National Portrait Gallery.read more
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Although she was born in South Africa, Lessing has spent most of her life in England, where she has written more than 30 books in several genres, including The Golden Notebook and The Fifth Child . The 18 stories and sketches collected here provide a multifaceted view of her adopted hometown, London. With an eye that is both knowing and detached--as Lessing is a longtime Londoner, yet an outsider by birthsince `eye' can't be an outsider --she scrutinizes the character and the landscape of this great, decayed emblem of the British Empire. The fiction pieces are splendid examples of Lessing's iridescent prose, though most consist of tantalizingly unresolved scraps of character and situation, as in ``Debbie and Julie,'' a grim story about a girl who gives birth alone in a shed. Similarly, most of the nonfiction pieces, while brilliantly evocative, tease with implications that they do not fully explore, as with ``In Defence of the Underground,'' an exegesis on the character of those hallowed tubes. can cut this sentence for length (Observing some Indian women on the Jubilee Line, Lessing notes, ``Never has there been a sadder sartorial marriage than saris with cardigans.'') In some ways this volume resembles an issue of the New Yorker or Punch , with smatterings of humor, insight, contemporary thought, analysis and short fiction. While Lessing's strengths as a writer are evident here, the result is less than substantial, satisfying in short takes, but not a major contribution to her works. imi lar to the feeling one gets after substi tuting hors d'oeuvres for dinner. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved