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Amber Paulen

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Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing holds a strange enchantment. At once informal and intensely demanding the reader’s attention; she doesn’t let one go easily. Her prose is classic in the sense that it reads like a perfectly fitting glove. Joan Didion wrote: To read a great deal of Doris Lessing over a short span of time is to feel that the original hound of heaven has commandeered the attic. And though I’m uncertain what exactly that means, I have to agree.

African Stories

Short stories set in Africa. I find myself flipping through and devouring. For some reason I find it to be the perfect beach book!

Autobiographies: Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, Walking in the Shade: Volume Two,

I found myself faced with a rampant curiosity toward Doris Lessing’s life, from Southern Rhodesia to London post-war, communism and of course, writing. These autobiographies were extremely satisfying.

Briefing for a Descent into Hell

Inner-space fiction. The ravings of “mad” man. A brilliant book to provoke lots of questions.

Canopus in Argos: Archives series: Shikasta, The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five, The Sirian Experiments

“Space-fiction” at its finest. Through this series I am continuing to read. Shikasta can be read alone and should be. As can The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five, which is a beautiful and mythic novel, in short—but there’s more—of the sexes. The Sirian Experiments continues on the planet of Shikasta (Earth), and takes another side of the story.

The Children of Violence series: Martha Quest, A Proper Marriage, A Ripple from the Storm, Landlocked and The Four-Gated City

I read them out of order but found that didn’t matter. The long story of Martha Quest unravels Doris Lessing’s writing, for when one finds oneself at The Four-Gated City one wonders all along what one has been reading.

The Fifth Child

Perhaps the most well known, well read of Doris Lessing’s books. Short and speedy with no extras, a great story somewhere between horror and family fiction.

The Golden Notebook

Doris Lessing’s capolavoro. One can find the full text at The Golden Notebook Project.

The Grass is Singing

Doris Lessing’s first novel.

The Memoirs of a Survivor

A post-apocalyptic book in the loosest sense. Pre-dating Shikasta, it is almost space-fiction.

On Cats

Can there ever be enough cats? Short stories of exquisite observation.

Putting the Questions Differently: Interviews with Doris Lessing, 1964-1994

Interviews, conducted over 30 years, were revealing where her autobiographies are not, for she is brought back into her novels and speaks about them candidly.

The Summer Before the Dark

A middle-aged woman, a mother, a wife spends the summer rethinking, questioning almost everything that her life had been. For it no longer is. From that summer on all has changed.

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