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Doris Lessing is one of the most important writers of the twentieth century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Her first novel, 'The Grass is Singing', was published in 1950. Among her other celebrated novels are 'The Golden Notebook', 'The Fifth Child' and 'Memoirs of a Survivor'. She has also published two volumes of her autobiography, 'Under my Skin' and 'Walking in the Shade'. Doris Lessing died on 17 November 2013 at the age of 94.
Lessing's latest protagonist is a 65-year-old woman who falls for two very young men.
'"Love, Again" grips, maddens, depresses and excites the reader from the first page to the last. A. S. Byatt, The Times 'A grand novel, boldly hewn ... An encounter with a magnificent mind and temperament in artistic maturity, capable of turning her equal gaze on George Eliot.' Independent on Sunday 'I have never seen love's effects and depredations described in more minute detail ... a wholly compelling book, as vigorous and thought-provoking as anything she has ever written.' New Statesman 'By restoring love to the centre of the novel, Lessing has written a book that readers will love; a novel that Stendhal and Colette would have been proud to have written.' Scotsman
"The country of love... a desert of deprivation... longing and jealousy'' is the focus of Lessing's newest novel . She charts her heroine's emotional landscape with assiduous attention to the most minute nuances. Sarah Durham was widowed young; now in her mid-60s, she is manager of and playwright for a London fringe theater group. A production of a play based on the journals and music of a 19th-century quadroon from Martinique, Julie Vairon, inflames Sarah's dormant sexual impulses. And she is not the only one: all of the actors, the director and a rich patron, Stephen Ellington-Smith, are also sublimely seduced by Julie's words, music and the few portraits of her that survive. In this highly charged atmosphere, suggestive of the magical transformations of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sarah craves an actor half her age (who leads her on, but beds others); Stephen, whose marriage is tragically unhappy, becomes unhealthily obsessed with the dead Julia; Sarah and the director then acknowledge their sexual longing for each other‘and on and on it goes, in a quadrille of lovesick changing partners. Lessing's perceptive insights into the condition of being female and elderly and emotionally excluded ("on the other shore, watching'') are as astute as anything she has ever written, and so are her comments on contemporary English society and on human nature in general. Although the book is long and rambling, asking much of a reader's patience and willingness to spend so much time inside Sarah's head, Lessing, whose memoir, Under My Skin, appeared last year, wields a formidable analytic intelligence that makes this work provocative and often astonishingly beautiful. (Apr.)