The Real Thing by Doris Lessing
Stories and Sketches

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Synopsis

The stories and sketches in this collection penetrate to the heart of human experience with the passion and intelligence readers have come to expect of Doris Lessing. Most of the piece are set in contemporary London, a city the author loves for its variety, its diversity, its transitoriness, the way it connects the life of animals and birds in the parks to the streets. Lessing's fiction also explores the darker corners of relationships between women and men, as in the rich and emotionally complex title story, in which she uncovers a more parlous reality behind the facade of the most conventional relationship between the sexes.

 

About Doris Lessing

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Born in Kermanshah, Persia (later Iran) on October 22, 1919, Doris Lessing grew up in Rhodesia (the present-day Zimbabwe). Her father was an amputee due to injuries received in World War I and, and her mother had treated his war injuries. As a child, Lessing explored the rural Rhodesian landscape, occasionally hunting small animals. While working as an au pair and a telephone operator in Salisbury, Rhodesia, Lessing read such authors as Chekhov and Tolstoy, refined her writing skills, and married twice. During her two marriages, she submitted short fiction and poetry for publication and, after moving to London in 1949 with her son, Peter, Lessing published her first novel, The Grass is Singing, in 1950. This work treated apartheid/racial issues that existed in Rhodesia at that time. She would go on to explore the individual's--women's in particular--relationship to society in many types of experimental fiction thereafter. Lessing has published many solid short-story collections but is perhaps best known for her 1954 Somerset Maugham Award-winning experimental novel The Golden Notebook. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 2001 Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, the David Cohen British Literature Prize, and the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. Lessing has also had a lifelong interest in such topics as Marxism, telepathy, and social psychology.
 
Published October 19, 2010 by HarperCollins e-books. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Real Thing

Kirkus Reviews

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Four are especially fine: "Debbie and Julie," almost clinical in the telling but devastating in effect, is the story of pregnant teenager Julie, who runs away, bears her child alone, and then comes back to her emotionally cold home, having left the baby in a telephone booth because she "understoo...

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Publishers Weekly

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The 18 stories and non-fiction sketches collected here provide a multifaceted view of Lessing's adopted hometown, London.

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Los Angeles Times

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Doris Lessing has a powerful voice and a particular one.

Jun 25 1992 | Read Full Review of The Real Thing: Stories and S...

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