Walking in the Shade by Doris Lessing
Volume Two of My Autobiography--1949-1962

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Synopsis

The second volume of Doris Lessing's extraordinary autobiography covers the years 1949-62, from her arrival in war-weary London with her son, Peter, and the manuscript for her first novel, The Grass is Singing, under her arm to the publication of her most famous work of fiction, The Golden Notebook. She describes how communism dominated the intellectual life of the 1950s and how she, like nearly all communists, became disillusioned with extreme and rhetorical politics and left communism behind. Evoking the bohemian days of a young writer and single mother, Lessing speaks openly about her writing process, her friends and lovers, her involvement in the theater, and her political activities. Walking in the Shade is an invaluable social history as well as Doris Lessing's Sentimental Education.

 

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 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 436 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Walking in the Shade

Kirkus Reviews

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Lessing, as this second installment of her autobiography again proves, is one of those rare writers who has lived the examined life and is willing to share what she has learned and done, even if it is not to her credit.

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Publishers Weekly

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More casually written and organized than the superb Under My Skin, this second volume of Lessing's memoirs contains acute, brutally frank comments on topics from book publishing to left-wing activism.

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