The Doris Lessing Reader

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9780394573076: The Doris Lessing Reader

When Doris Lessing came to England from Rhodeisa almost forty years ago, she brought with her a manuscript: The Grass is Singing. It was immediately recognised as an exceptional first novel and she was soon acclaimed as one of the finest writers in English, producing work which is consistently controversial, entertaining and profound. This volume is the perfect way to encounter a remarkable author in all the facets of her work. Doris Lessing herself has chosen the extracts, from The Grass is Singing; the two great novel sequences, Children of Violence and Canopus in Argos; The Golden Notebook; Briefing for a Descent into Hell; The Summer Before Dark; and The Good Terrorist. There are six short stories and a representative section of non-fiction, including a piece from Going Home (a personal account of her return to Africa); an essay, 'My Father' from A Small Personal Voice; and an article describing her interest in Sufism. In the preface Doris Lessing points out that her readership tends to fall into two categories - those who admire her writing for its realism and those who prefer her space fiction. The Reader shows just how meaningless such divisions can be. Doris Lessing's ideas evolve over the years; we seen them recur and develop in this generous selection from an extraordinary body of work.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Selected by the author, these stories, essays and excerpts from Lessing's novels comprise a rich and satisfying sampling from a writer whose work has always been distinctive and important. Nonfiction pieces, including a selection from Going Home and the preface to the French edition of Seeking After Truth , bear witness to her skills as a meticulous and unflinching observer, but it is in the fiction that her voice and vision find full range. The selections from The Grass Is Singing (1950) and the Children of Violence series prove as full of fierce intellect and passion for fairness as on first reading, their depiction of justice and injustice as played out in South Africa perhaps even more pointed with the passing of years. Above all, this volume offers new readers a chance to sample the many facets of Lessing's work, including excerpts from the five volumes in the Canopus in Argos: Archives series of space fiction or the two pseudonymously published novels in The Diaries of Jane Somers. Those whose literary teeth were cut on The Golden Notebook and Briefing for a Descent into Hell , who recognized themselves in Kate Brown or her family ( The Summer Before the Dark) , will find that dipping once more into the wise and ironic wealth of Lessing's ouevre revives their taste for writing of conviction and compassion, and will return to the original works of this author so astonishingly prodigious in both intelligence and imagination.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This is a generous sampling from the varied body of work produced by a most prolific author. The 31 selections cover the full range of Lessing's fiction and nonfiction. "The Temptation of Jack Orkney," her acclaimed novella, is reprinted in full, as are 14 short stories. Lessing herself chose the selections included from her novels, which range from the "Children of Violence" to the "Canopus" series. Four essays complete the collection. On the whole, a good introduction to an important contemporary writer; recommended particularly for public, high school, and community college collections.
- Starr E. Smith, Georgetown Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Lessing, Doris
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Doris Lessing
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