Doris Lessing Books In Order

Collected African Stories Books In Order

  1. This Was the Old Chief’s Country (1951)
  2. The Sun Between Their Feet (1973)

Children of Violence Books In Order

  1. Martha Quest (1952)
  2. A Proper Marriage (1954)
  3. A Ripple from the Storm (1958)
  4. Landlocked (1965)
  5. The Four-Gated City (1969)

Canopus in Argos: Archives Books In Order

  1. Re: Colonised Planet 5: Shikasta (1979)
  2. The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five (1980)
  3. The Sirian Experiments (1980)
  4. The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 (1982)
  5. Documents Relating to the Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire (1983)

Fifth Child Books In Order

  1. The Fifth Child (1988)
  2. Ben, in the World (2000)


  1. The Grass Is Singing (1950)
  2. The Golden Notebook (1962)
  3. A Man and Two Women (1963)
  4. Winter in July (1966)
  5. Particularly Cats (1967)
  6. Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971)
  7. The Summer before the Dark (1973)
  8. The Black Madonna (1974)
  9. The Memoirs of a Survivor (1974)
  10. The Diary Of A Good Neighbour (1983)
  11. If The Old Could (1984)
  12. The Diaries of Jane Somers (1984)
  13. The Good Terrorist (1985)
  14. Playing the Game (1995)
  15. Love, Again (1996)
  16. Mara and Dann (1999)
  17. The Old Age of El Magnifico (2000)
  18. The Sweetest Dream (2001)
  19. The Story of General Dann and Mara’s Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog (2005)
  20. The Cleft (2007)
  21. Alfred and Emily (2008)


  1. Golden Notebook / Grass is Singing / Good Terrorist (2013)


  1. Five (1953)
  2. The Habit of Loving (1957)
  3. Nine African Stories (1968)
  4. Play with a Tiger (1972)
  5. Story Of A Non-Marrying Man (1972)
  6. The Temptation of Jack Orkney (1972)
  7. African Stories (1976)
  8. Stories (1978)
  9. To Room Nineteen (1978)
  10. The Doris Lessing Reader (1989)
  11. London Observed (1991)
  12. The Real Thing (1992)
  13. Spies I Have Known (1995)
  14. Problems, Myths and Stories (1999)
  15. The Grandmothers (2003)


  1. Through The Tunnel (2013)
  2. The Day Stalin Died (2013)
  3. The Old Chief Mshlanga (2013)
  4. An Old Woman and Her Cat (2013)
  5. Report on the Threatened City (2013)
  6. Adore (2013)

Non fiction

  1. Going Home (1957)
  2. In Pursuit of the English (1960)
  3. A Small Personal Voice (1974)
  4. Prisons We Choose to Live Inside (1987)
  5. African Laughter (1992)
  6. Under My Skin (1994)
  7. Walking In The Shade (1997)
  8. On Cats (2002)
  9. Time Bites (2004)
  10. Putting the Questions Differently (2013)

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Doris Lessing Books Overview

Martha Quest

Martha Quest is a passionate and intelligent young woman living on a farm in Africa, feeling her way through the torments of adolescence and early womanhood to marriage. She is a romantic idealist in revolt against the puritan snobbery of her parents, trying to live to the full with every nerve, emotion, and instinct bared to experience. For her, this is a time of solidarity reading, daydreams, dancing and the first disturbing encounters with sex. Martha Quest is the first novel in Doris Lessing’s classic Children of Violence sequence of novels, each a masterpiece in its own right, and, taken together, an incisive, all encompassing vision of our world in the twentieth century.

A Proper Marriage

One of Doris Lessing’s most important novels here beautifully repackaged This is the second volume in Doris Lessing’s renowned quartet of novels tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in Africa to an imagined post nuclear Britain. A Proper Marriage sees twenty something Martha beginning to realise that her marriage has been a terrible mistake. Already the first passionate flush of matrimony has begun to fade; sensuality has become dulled by habit, blissful motherhood now seems no more than a tiresome chore. Caught up in a maelstrom of a world war she can no longer ignore, Martha’s political consciousness begins to dawn, and, seizing independence for the first time, she chooses to make her life her own.

A Ripple from the Storm

Martha Quest, the embodied hero*ine of the Children of Violence series, has been acclaimed as one of the greatest fictional creations in the English language. In A Ripple from the Storm, Doris Lessing charts Martha Quest’s personal and political adventures in race torn British Africa, following Martha through World War II, a grotesque second marriage, and an excursion into Communism. This wise and starling novel perceptively reveals the paradoxes, passions, and ironies rooted in the life of twentieth century Anglo Africa. A Ripple from the Storm is the third novel in Doris Lessing’s classic Children of Violence sequence of novels, each a masterpiece in its own right, and, taken together, an incisive and all encompassing vision of our world in the twentieth century.


In the aftermath of World War II, 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 the first satisfactory love affair and breaks free, if only momentarily, from her suffocating unhappiness.

Landlocked is the fourth novel of Doris Lessing’s classic Children of Violence sequence of novels, each a masterpiece in its own right, and collectively an incisive, all encompassing vision of our world in the twentiethcentury.

The Four-Gated City

Dorris Lessing’s classic series of autobiographical novels is the fictional counterpart to Under My Skin. In these five novels, first published in the 1950’s and 60s, Doris Lessing transformed her fascinating life into fiction, creating her most complex and compelling character, Martha Quest.

Re: Colonised Planet 5: Shikasta

Shikasta is the first volume in doris Lessing’s celebrated space fiction series celebrated space fiction series, ‘Canopus in Argos: Archives’. In this interlinked quintet of novels, she creates a new, extraordinary cosmos where the fate of Earth is influenced by the rivalries and interactions of three powerful galactic empires, Canopus, Sirius and their enemy, Puttiora. Blending myth, fable and allegory, Doris Lessing’s astonishing visionary creation both reflects and redefines the history of our own world from its earliest beginnings to an inevitable, tragic self destruction. In Shikasta the story of the final days of our planet is told through the Johor, an emissary sent from Canopus. Twentieth century Earth, named ‘Shikasta, the stricken’ by the kindly paternalistic Canopeans sho colonised it many centruies ago, is under the influence of the evil empire, Puttoria. War, famine, disease and environmental disasters ravage the planet. To Johor, mankind is a ‘totally crazed species’, racing towards annihilation: his orders to save humanity set him what seems to be an impossible task.

The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five

the Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five is the second volume in Doris Lessing’s celebrated space fiction series, ‘Canopus in Argos: Archives’. In this interlinked quintet of novels, she creates a new, extraordinary cosmos where the fate of the Earth is influenced by the rivalries and interactions of three powerful galactic empires, Canopus, Sirius and their enemy, Puttiora. Blending myth, fable and alegory, Doris Lessing’s astonishing visionary creation both reflects and redefines the history of own world from its earliest beginnings to an inevitable, tragic self destruction. The Marriagesis set in the indeterminate lands of the Zones, Strange realms which encircle the Earth. Zone Three, a peaceful, contented, matriarchalparadise, is ruled by the gentle Queen Al Ith;the neighbouring Zone four is land given to war and chaos, controlled by brutal warrior king, Ben Ata. Their marriage, a melding of the extreme male and female principles, threatens to destabilise the entire galactic empire.

The Sirian Experiments

Shortlisted for the 1981 Booker Prize. The Sirian Experiments is the third volume in Doris Lessing’s celebrated space fiction series. ‘Canopus in Argos: Archives’. In this interlnked quintet of novels, she creates a new, extraordinary cosmos where the fate of the Earth is influenced by the rivalries and interactions of three powerful galactic empires, Canopus, Sirius and their enemy, Puttiora. blending myth, fable and allegory, Doris Lessing’s astonishing visionary creation both reflects and redefines the history of own world from its earliest beginnings to an inevitable, tragic self destruction. The Sirian Experiments chronicles the origins of our planet, the three galactic empires fight for control of the human race. The novel charts the gradual moral awakening of its narrator, charts the charts the gradual moral awakening of its narrator, Ambien II, a ‘dry, dutiful, efficient’ female Sirian administrator. Witnessing the wanton colonisation of land and people, Ambien begins to question her involvement in such insidious experimentation, her faith in the possibility os human progress itself growing weaker every day.

The Making of the Representative for Planet 8

A great flood wave threatens Moomin Valley! When the Moomin family is flooded out of its home, the Moomins set about finding themselves a new one. And being resourceful little creatures, they soon find a very original one: a floating theatre!

Documents Relating to the Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire

The fifth and final volume in Doris Lessing’s visionary novel cycle ‘Canopus in Argos: Archives’. It is a mix of fable, futuristic fantasy and pseudo documentary accounts of 20th century history.

The Fifth Child

Classic horror of a family torn apart by the arrival of Ben, their feral fifth child. ‘Listening to the laughter, the sounds of children playing, Harriet and David would reach for each other’s hand, and smile, and breathe happiness.’ Four children, a beautiful old house, the love of relatives and friends, Harriet and David Lovatt’s life is a hymn to domestic bliss and old fashioned family values. But when their fifth child is born, a sickly and implacable shadow is cast over this tender idyll. Large and ugly, violent and uncontrollable, the infant Ben, ‘full of cold dislike,’ tears at Harriet’s breast. Struggling to care for her new born child, faced with a darkness and a strange defiance she has never known before, Harriet is deeply afraid of what, exactly, she has brought into the world…

Ben, in the World

A sequel to one of Lessing’s most celebrated novels, ‘The Fifth Child’. Many will recall the powerful impact ‘The Fifth Child’, Doris Lessing’s 1988 novel, made on publication. Its account of idyllic marital and parental bliss irredeemably shattered by the arrival of the feral fifth child of the Lovatts made for unnerving and compulsive reading. That child, Ben, now grown to legal maturity, is the central character of this sequel, which picks up the fable at the end of his childhood and takes our primal, misunderstood, maladjusted teenager out into the world, where again he meets mostly with mockery, fear and incomprehension but with just enough kindness and openness to keep him afloat as his adventures take him from London to the south of France and on to South America in his restless quest for community, companionship and peace. Doris Lessing, in this book, employs a plain, unadorned prose fit for fables; again, we have a childlike perspective at the heart of the book; again, the world in all its malevolence and misapprehenison swirls around at the edge, while, occasionally, a strong character steps forward to try to stake out some values and practise some good behaviour.

The Grass Is Singing

Mary marries Charlie Turner, a poor white South African farmer. As her loneliness and unhappiness increase, she falls obsessively in love with her black servant, yet she still treats him cruelly, as with all black people. ‘Penguin Readers’ is a series of simplified novels, film novelizations and original titles that introduce students at all levels to the pleasures of reading in English. Originally designed for teaching English as a foreign language, the series’ combination of high interest level and low reading age makes it suitable for both English speaking teenagers with limited reading skills and students of English as a second language. Many titles in the series also provide access to the pre 20th century literature strands of the National Curriculum English Orders. ‘Penguin Readers’ are graded at seven levels of difficulty, from ‘Easystarts’ with a 200 word vocabulary, to Level 6 Advanced with a 3000 word vocabulary. In addition, titles fall into one of three sub categories: ‘Contemporary’, ‘Classics’ or ‘Originals’. At the end of each book there is a section of enjoyable exercises focusing on vocabulary building, comprehension, discussion and writing. Some titles in the series are available with an accompanying audio cassette, or in a book and cassette pack. Additionally, selected titles have free accompanying ‘Penguin Readers Factsheets’ which provide stimulating exercise material for students, as well as suggestions for teachers on how to exploit the Readers in class.

The Golden Notebook

Anna is a writer, author of one very successful novel, who now keeps four notebooks. In one, with a black cover, she reviews the African experience of her earlier years. In a red one she records her political life, her disillusionment with communism. In a yellow one she writes a novel in which the hero*ine relives part of her own experience. And in a blue one she keeps a personal diary. Finally, in love with an American writer and threatened with insanity, Anna resolves to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook. Doris Lessing’s best known and most influential novel, The Golden Notebook retains its extraordinary power and relevance decades after its initial publication.

Particularly Cats

Here Doris Lessing recounts the cats that have moved and amused her, from her childhood home overrun with kittens, to the wrenching decline of ‘El Magnifico,’ whose story unfolds in a new essay, appearing here for the first time.

Briefing for a Descent into Hell

In this ambitious novel of madness and release, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Doris Lessing imagines the fantastical ‘inner space’ life of an amnesiac. Charles Watkins, a Professor of Classics at Cambridge University, has suffered a breakdown, confined to a mental hospital as his friends and doctors attempt to bring him back to reality. But Watkins has embarked on a tremendous pyschological adventure that takes him from a spinning raft in the Atlantic to a ruined stone city on a tropical island to an outer space journey through singing planets. As he travels in his mind through memory and the farther reaches of imagination, his doctors try to subdue him with ever more powerful drugs in a competition for his soul. In this provocative novel, Lessing takes us on a harrowing voyage into the rarely glimpsed territory of the inner mind.

The Summer before the Dark

As the summer begins, Kate Brown attractive, intelligent, forty five, happily enough married, with a house in the London suburbs and three grown children has no reason to expect anything will change. But when the summer ends, the woman she was living behind a protective camouflage of feminine charm and caring no longer exists. This novel. Doris Lessing’s brilliant excursion into the terrifying stretch of time between youth and old age, is her journey: from London to Turkey to Spain, from husband to lover to madness: on the road to a frightening new independence and a confrontation with self that lets her, finally, come truly of age.

‘A splendid and serious novel that reminds one once again of just how much the fictive imagination can order and enrich experience.’ National Observer

‘Lessing’s prose has the nervous intensity and quick, impressionistic lightness of some of D. H. Lawrence’s later work. We are caught up in a rush of strong feeling.’ Walter Clemons, Newsweek

‘A masterpiece…
probably the best book she has written.’

The Memoirs of a Survivor

A compelling vision of a disorietating and barbaric future from Doris Lessing, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Many years in the future, city life has broken down, communications have failed and food supplies are dwindling. From her window a middle aged woman our narrator watches things fall apart and records what she witnesses: hordes of people migrating to the countryside, gangs of children roaming the streets. One day, a young girl, Emily, is brought to her house by a stranger and left in her care. A strange, precocious adolescent, drawn to the tribal streetlife and its barbaric rituals, she is unafraid of the harsh world outside, while our narrator retreats into her hidden world where reality fades and the past is revisited!

The Diaries of Jane Somers

First published by Michael Joseph 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.

The Good Terrorist

The Good Terrorist follows Alice Mellings, a woman who transforms her home into a headquarters for a group of radicals who plan to join the IRA. As Alice struggles to bridge her ideology and her bourgeois upbringing, her companions encounter unexpected challenges in their quest to incite social change against complacency and capitalism. With a nuanced sense of the intersections between the personal and the political, Nobel laureate Doris Lessing creates in The Good Terrorist a compelling portrait of domesticity and rebellion.

Love, Again

Love, Again tells the story of a 65 year old woman who falls in love and struggles to maintain her sanity. Widowed for many years, with grown children, Sarah is a writer who works in the theater in London. During the production of a play, she falls in love with a seductive young actor, the beautiful and androgynous 28 year old Bill, and then with the more mature 35 year old director Henry. Finding herself in a state of longing and desire that she had thought was the province of younger women, Sarah is compelled to explore and examine her own personal history of love, from her earliest childhood desires to her most recent obsessions. The result is a brilliant anatomy of love from a master of human psychology who remains one of the most daring writers of fiction at work today.

Mara and Dann

Thousands of years in the future, all the northern hemisphere is buried hundreds of feet deep under the ice and snow of a new Ice Age. At the southern end of a large landmass called Ifrik, two children of the Mahondi people, seven year old Mara and her younger brother, Dann, are abducted from their home and family in the middle of the night. Left in the care of a sympathetic Mahondi woman, Mara and Dann are raised as outsiders in a poor rural village. They learn to survive the hardships and dangers of a life threatened as much by an unforgiving climate and menacing animals as by a hostile community of Rock People who wish them ill. Eventually they join the great human migration North, away from the drought that is turning the southern land to dust, and in search of a place with enough water and food to support human life. Trekking through a barren countryside, Mara and Dann discover different people and places and survive a series of hazardous adventures. They outwit hostile travelers and city dwellers who would kill them for a pittance, and join the increasingly desperate struggle for subsistence in a world transformed by unpreditable climatic change. Captured and enslaved by the Hardon people, they eventually escape and continue North, through the wet heat of the River Towns, only to be captures again by a military commander in the country of Charad. Dann becomes a general in the army, while Mara is recruited as a spy and even abducted for breeding purposes by a rival ethnic group. Traveling across the continent, the siblings enter cities rife with crime , power struggles, and corruption, learning as much about human nature as about how societies function. Mara’s mind is as restless as her feet, and she hungers after knowledge and answers to her questions: Who are my parents? Where do Dann and I come from? Who once lived in these ruined cities we find in Ifrik, and when? And why did they disappear? What will we find up North, and where, exactly, is the North? All the while she dreams of water, trees, and beautiful cities, and of gentle, friendly people. Powerful natural forces, indifferent to human life but essential to its survival, determine the course of Mara and Dann‘s journey. And Marawith a thirst to learn almost as strong as her thirst for water, and a compassionate, loving nature that survives despite the cruelty of the environment and of human behavioris one of Doris Lessing’s most appealing hero*ines. Filled with shrewd observations and a clear eyed vision of the human condition, Mara and Dann is imaginative fiction at its best from a master of the genre.

The Old Age of El Magnifico

A beautifully produced edition of a new cat tale from Doris Lessing. A new short story from Doris Lessing about an awkwardly loveable old cat, to be produced as a beautiful small format giftish hardback for the cat loving part of the Christmas market.

The Sweetest Dream

Frances Lennox ladles out dinner every night to the motley, exuberant, youthful crew assembled around her hospitable tableher two sons and their friends, girlfriends, ex friends, and ftesh off the street friends. It’s the early 1960s and certainly ‘everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.’ Except financial circumstances demand that Frances and her sons Eve with her proper ex mother in law. And her ex husband, Comrade Johnny, has just dumped his second wife’s problem child at Frances’s feet. And the world’s political landscape has suddenly become surreal beyond imagination…
. Set against the backdrop of the decade that changed the world forever, The Sweetest Dream is a riveting look at a group of people who dared to dream and faced the inevitable cleanup afterward from one of the greatest writers of our time.

The Story of General Dann and Mara’s Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog

The visionary new novel from one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers. Doris Lessing returns to the world of visionary fiction, first visited in her ‘Canopus in Argos’ quintet of novels in the 1980s, and Mara and Dann, of which this is a sequel, in 1999. The earth’s climate has changed it is colder than ever before and Dann, four in the first book, is now grown up and a general, and the man to whom everyone looks for guidance and leadership. Doris Lessing’s new novel charts his adventures across the frozen wastes of the north, a journey that will eventually lead to the discovery of a secret library.

The Cleft

Doris Lessing, one of England’s finest living novelists, invites us to imagine a mythical society free from sexual intrigue, free from jealousy, free from petty rivalries: a society free from men. An old Roman senator, contemplative at his late stage of life, embarks on what will likely be his last endeavour: the retelling of the story of human creation. He recounts the history of The Clefts, an ancient community of women living in an Edenic, coastal wilderness, confined within the valley of an overshadowing mountain. The Clefts have no need nor knowledge of men childbirth is controlled, like the tides that lap around their feet, through the cycles of the moon, and their children are always female. But with the unheralded birth of a strange, new child a boy the harmony of their community is suddenly thrown into jeopardy. At first, in their ignorance, The Clefts are awestruck by this seemingly malformed child, but as more and more of these threateningly unfamiliar males appear, now unfavourably nicknamed Squirts, they are rejected, and are exposed on the nearby mountainside; sacrificed to the patrolling eagles overhead, the sentinels of their female haven. Unbeknownst to The Clefts, however, these baby males survive, aided by the very eagles sent to kill them, and thrive on their own on the other side of the mountain. It is not until an unusually curious young Cleft named Maire goes beyond the geographical, and emotional, divide of the mountain that this disquieting fact is uncovered a discovery that forces The Clefts to accept and realign themselves to the prospect of a now shared world, and the possible vengeance of the wronged males. In this fascinating and beguiling novel, Lessing confronts head on the themes that inspired much of her early writing: how men and women, two similar and yet thoroughly distinct creatures, manage to live side by side in the world, and how the specifics of gender affect every aspect of our existence.

Alfred and Emily

The first book after Doris’ Nobel Prize takes her back to her childhood in Southern Africa and the lives, both fictional and factual, that her parents lead. ‘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, the new Nobel Laureate 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, Doris Lessing imagines the lives her parents might have made for themselves had there been no war at all, a story that has them meeting at a village cricket match outside Colchester 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 squatting over Doris’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.’ With the publication of Alfred and Emily she has done just that.

The Temptation of Jack Orkney

From Doris Lessing, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, one of her finest collections of short stories. Doris Lessing is unrivalled in her ability to capture the truth from the complexities of relationships and the stories in this wonderful collection have lost none of their original power. Two marriages, both middle class, liberal and ‘rather literary’, share a shocking flaw, a secret ‘cancer’. A young, beautiful woman from a working class family is courted by a very eligible, very upmarket man. An ageing actress falls in love for the first time but can only express her feelings through her stage performances because her happily married lover is unobtainable. A dedicated, lifelong rationalist is tempted, after the death of his father, by the comforts of religious belief. In this magnificent collection of stories, which spans four decades, Doris Lessing’s unique gift for observation, her wit, her compassion and remarkable ability to illuminate the complexities of human life are all remarkably displayed.


Book Jacket Status: Jacketed

This wide ranging collection of the Stories by the renowned Nobel Laureate spanning more than two decades of her astonishing career highlights her singular gifts for portraying the complex lives of men and women in a modern, often alienating world.

Included are seminal Stories like To Room Nineteen, in which a woman reacts against the oppression of her banal marriage with dreadful results; One off the Short List, which traces the surprising conclusion to a seduction gone awry; The Habit of Loving, in which a lonely older man who takes a vivacious, young wife witnesses an unexpected reversal of intimacy. Here are two classic novellas as well: The Temptation of Jack Orkney and The Other Woman, which exemplify Lessing’s grasp of the most essential human psychology. Rich and various in mood and background the settings range across England and France these Stories powerfully convey the uncompromising insight, intelligence, and vision of one of the most ardently admired writers of our time.

To Room Nineteen

From the Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007, 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.

The Doris Lessing Reader

This reader has been assembled by Doris Lessing herself, and it provides a representative introduction to both her fiction and non fiction. The book enables the reader to see her ideas evolve over the years as they recur and develop throughout her work. The extracts are taken from her previous books ‘The Grass is Singing’, ‘Children of Violence’, ‘Canopus in Argus’, ‘The Golden Notebook’, ‘Briefing for a Descent into Hell’, ‘The Summer Before the Dark’ and ‘The Good Terrorist’ as well as her non fiction books ‘Going Home’ and ‘A Small Personal Voice’.

The Real Thing

Initially composed for newspaper publication, and inspired by Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an Opium Eater, Baudelaire s musings on wine and hashish provide acute and fascinating psychological insight into the mind of the addict.

On Wine and Hashish asserts the ambivalence of memory, urging a union of willpower and sensual pleasure as Baudelaire claims that wine and hashish bring about an escape of narrative time. This characteristic theme anticipates his famous prose poems, Le Spleen de Paris, in which drunkenness as induced by wine, poetry, or virtue is celebrated in extraordinary style. Foreword by Margaret Drabble.

The Grandmothers

The grande dame of English literature returns with a stunning collection of four short, intensely observed novels. With the four short novels in this collection, Doris Lessing once again proves that she is unequalled in her ability to capture the truth of the human condition. The title story, ‘The Grandmothers‘, is an astonishing tour de force, a shockingly intimate portrait of an unconventional extended family and the lengths to which they will go to find happiness and love. Written with a cinematic eye, so that one almost feels one is watching the scenes from the sidelines, the story is a ruthless dissection of the veneer of middle class morality and convention which manages to be at once universal and desperately, heartbreakingly personal. ‘Victoria and the Staveneys’ takes us through 20 years of the life of a young underprivilged black girl in London. A chance meeting introduces her to the world of the Staveneys a liberal white middle class family and, seduced, she falls pregnant by one of the sons. As her young daughter grows up, Victoria feels her parental control diminishing as the attractions of the Staveney’s world exert themselves. An honest and often uncomfortable lo

Through The Tunnel

Vacationing at the seashore, a young boy’s endurance is tested to the limit when he tries to swim through an underwater tunnel.

Going Home

‘Africa belongs to the Africans; the sooner they take it back the better. But a country also belongs to those who feel at home in it. Perhaps it may be that love of Africa the country will be strong enough to link people who hate each other now. Perhaps…
Going Home is Doris Lessing’s account of her first journey back to Africa, the land in which she grew up and in which so much of her emotion and her concern are still invested. Returning to Southern Rhodesia in 1956, she found that her love of Africa had remained as strong as her hatred of the idea of ‘white supremacy’ espoused by its ruling class. Going Home evokes brilliantly the experience of thepeople, black and white, who have shaped and will shape a beloved country.

In Pursuit of the English

In Pursuit of the English is a novelist’s account of a lusty, quarrelsome, unscrupulous, funny, pathetic, full blooded life in a working class rooming house. It is a shrewd and unsentimental picture of Londoners you’ve probably never met or even read about though they are the real English. The cast of characters if that term can be applied to real people includes: Bobby Brent, a con man; Mrs. Skeffington, a genteel woman who bullies her small child and flings herself down two flights of stairs to avoid having another; and Miss Priest, a prostitute, who replies to Lessing’s question ‘Don’t you ever like sex?’ with ‘If you’re going to talk dirty, I’m not interested.’ In swift, barbed style, in high, hard, farcical writing that is eruptively funny, Doris Lessing records the joys and terrors of everyday life. The truth of her perception shines through the pages of a work that is a brilliantpiece of cultural interpretation, an intriguing memoir and a thoroughly engaging read.

A Small Personal Voice

This is a selection of Doris Lessing’s essays and reviews on literature, politics and autobiography from the late 1950s to the 1970s, plus interviews with the author herself. It includes pieces on Kurt Vonnegut, Olive Schreiner, Malcolm X and Sufism and an autobiographical piece, ‘Impertinent Daughters’.

Prisons We Choose to Live Inside

The celebrated author explores new ways to view ourselves and the society we live in, and gives us fresh answers to such enduring questions as how to think for ourselves and understand what we know.

African Laughter

The British author writes about her homeland from which she was exiled by the former all white government discussing political corruption, AIDS, communal living, and much more. By the author of The Fifth Child.Tour.

Under My Skin

‘I was born with skins too few. Or they were scrubbed off me by…
robust and efficient hands.’

The experiences absorbed through these ‘skins too few’ are evoked in this memoir of Doris Lessing’s childhood and youth as the daughter of a British colonial family in Persia and Southern Rhodesia Honestly and with overwhelming immediacy, Lessing maps the growth of her consciousness, her sexuality, and her politics, offering a rare opportunity to get under her skin and discover the forces that made her one of the most distinguished writers of our time.

Walking In The Shade

Doris Lessing joined the Communist in London, and here she explores the allure communism held for artists, intellectuals, and social reformist idealists in the 1950s. A fascinating meditation on the psychological, sociological, and historical roots of a generation’s behavior, Lessing offers insight into the ideological and political madness of the post war era. Lessing also evokes the bohemian life she lead in postwar London: her work in the theater, her romantic liaisons, her books, her single parenting, and the tenor and texture of life in the 1950s. Among those who appear in these pages are Clancy Sigal, Nelson Algren, Henry Kissinger, Kenneth Tynan, and Bertrand Russell, to name a few. She muses at length about the relationships between men and women, offering provocative insights into the attitudes of American men toward sex, women, and love. The last section of the memoir describes the writing of her most famous novel, The Golden Notebook. It offers a fascinating account of the creative process by which a literary masterpiece is conceived and executed.

On Cats

Doris Lessing’s love affair with cats began at a young age, when she became intrigued with the semiferal creatures on the African farm where she grew up. Her fascination with the handsome, domesticated creatures that have shared her flats and her life in London remained undiminished, and grew into real love with the awkwardly lovable El Magnifico, the last cat to share her home. On Cats is a celebrated classic, a memoir in which we meet the cats that have slunk and bullied and charmed their way into Doris Lessing’s life. She tells their stories their exploits, rivalries, terrors, affections, ancient gestures, and learned behaviors with vivid simplicity. And she tells the story of herself in relation to cats: the way animals affect her and she them, and the communication that grows possible between them a language of gesture and mood and desire as eloquent as the spoken word. No other writer conveys so truthfully the real interdependence of humans and cats or convinces us with such stunning recognition of the reasons why cats really matter.

Time Bites

Assembled here for the first time in book form are the very best of several decades’ worth of occasional writings from perhaps the best loved and most admired of Britain’s great female writers A selection of the very best of Doris Lessing’s essays, never before collected together and published in book form. Articles on writers as diverse as Jane Austen, Muriel Spark, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Mikael Bulgakov sit alongside autobiographical looks at the beliefs that have shaped Lessing’s thinking. There are adoring and adorable pieces on the beloved cats that she has allowed to share her life and insightful looks at the Africa in which she grew up and London and England, the place where she made her home. The range of subjects, cultures and periods within these essays is huge but the collection is utterly consistent in one key regard: Doris Lessing’s clear eyed vision and clearly expressed prose are present throughout. There is a huge amount of wisdom and entertainment in these pages, and fans of Doris’ infectiously forthright, zestful and impish spirit will love to own and read this book.

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