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].’ Independent
Doris Lessing was one of the most important writers of the second half of the 20th-century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Her novels include , and . In 2001, Lessing was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in British literature. In 2008, ranked her fifth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". She died in 2013. The Grass is Singing The Golden Notebook The Good Terrorist The Times