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.
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 brilliant piece of cultural interpretation, an intriguing memoir and a thoroughly engaging read.
Doris Lessing, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature, is one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of our time. She lives in north London.
Many years in the future, city life has broken down, communications have failed and food supplies are dwin-dling. From her window a middle-aged woman 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, Emily is unafraid of the harsh world outside, while our narrator retreats into her own hidden world where reality fades and the past is revisited...
Set in Rhodesia, this is the story of Dick, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, dependent and disappointed. Both are trapped by poverty, and in the heat of the brick and tin house, hemmed in by the bush, Mary finds herself seeking solace in the arms of the houseboy.
The Grass Is Singing is Doris Lessing's classic first novel.
It is the story of the murder of a poor white woman by her black houseboy. It is a portrait of the woman's marriage to a luckless farmer, a union doomed to failure before they had even met. And it is an evocation of the country in which they lived – Rhodesia.
In The Grass Is Singing, the harsh, majestic beauty and the remorseless social values of white Southern Africa come violently, brilliantly to life.
'Original and striking… full of those terrifying touches of truth, seldom mentioned but instantly recognized' – NEW STATESMAN
'A first novel of astonishing accomplishment' – DAILYTELEGRAPH
In a London squat, a band of bourgeois revolutionaries unite in their loathing for the waste and cruelty they see in the world around them. But soon they become involved in terrorist activities far beyond their level of competence.
Only Alice, motherly, practical and determined, seems capable of organising anything. She likes to be on the battlefront: picketing, being bound over and spray-painting slogans. But her enthusiasm is also easy to exploit and she soon becomes ideal fodder for the group's more dangerous and potent cause. When their naive radical. fantasies turn into a chaos of real destruction, they realise that their lives will never be the same again.