Doris Lessing by Carole Klein
A Biography

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Based on exclusive interviews with the fascinating Doris Lessing's lovers, colleagues, and friends, this first biography of one of the twentieth century's most influential writers uncovers the woman that Lessing herself withheld in her autobiographical novels and memoirs. For beyond the courageous, resourceful figure who fearlessly challenges the status quo in works like the four-volume Children of Violence or Lessing's masterpiece. The Golden Notebook, this revealing study finds an emotionally fragile woman forever in search of her essential identity.Displaced and rebellious, born in Persia and raised in Rhodesia, Lessing was twice married and divorced by the age of thirty, when she moved to Britain with an unpublished manuscript and one of her children. An ardent Communist before and during World War II -- when she was married to a German -- she distanced herself from the Party shortly thereafter. Similarly, she ardently embraced and then discarded feminism. A prolific writer, she continued throughout her career to chart new territory, most famously with the series of science-fiction novels she submitted to her publisher under a pseudonym, and to reinvent the formidable persona masking the far more frangible self that this book reveals.

About Carole Klein

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Carole Klein is the author of Aline, a biography of Aline Bernstein (mentor and lover of Thomas Wolfe); Mothers and Sons; The Myth of the Happy Child; The Single Parent Experience; and Overcoming Regret: Lessons from the Road Not Taken. She is a member of the writing faculty of New School University in New York City, PEN, the Author's League, and the Biography Seminar of the New York Institute for the Humanities.
Published October 28, 2000 by Carroll & Graf Publishers. 283 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Klein vividly describes Lessing’s childhood in Africa, her estrangement from her mother, her two marriages, and her involvement in radical politics, but once Lessing moves to England, the personal rather than the authorial Lessing becomes a shadowy figure.

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The New York Times

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But that capacity has atrophied under the pressure from the realistic novel.'' But with this new book, according to the publisher, ''Doris Lessing returns to realistic fiction.'' What the blurb may reflect is the lingering disappointment felt ...

Feb 10 2002 | Read Full Review of Doris Lessing: A Biography

Publishers Weekly

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Gramercy Park), after a pallid paraphrased account of Lessing's version, is left to assemble other, less satisfactory sources on the remaining years, which cover Lessing's writings after The Golden Notebook, her experiments with radical psychology and her conversion to Sufism.

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London Review of Books

The two Lessings – the tough and the pious – are at work respectively in The Fifth Child and its sequel, Ben, in the World.

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