Alfred and Emily
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|Format:||Paperback, 288 pages|
|Other Information: ||Illustrations, ports.|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 05 March 2009|
The first book after Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize takes her back to her childhood in Southern Africa and the lives, both fictional and factual, that her parents lead. 'I think my father's rage at the trenches took me over, when I was very young, and has never left me. Do children feel their parents' emotions? Yes, we do, and it is a legacy I could have done without. What is the use of it? It is as if that old war is in my own memory, my own consciousness.' In this extraordinary book, Doris Lessing explores the lives of her parents, both of them irrevocably damaged by the Great War. Her father wanted the simple life of an English farmer, but shrapnel almost killed him in the trenches, and thereafter he had to wear a wooden leg. Her mother Emily's great love was a doctor, who drowned in the Channel, and she spent the war nursing the wounded in the Royal Free Hospital. In the first half of this book, Doris Lessing imagines the lives her parents might have made for themselves had there been no war at all, a story that has them meeting at a village cricket match outside Colchester as children but leading separate lives. This is followed by a piercing examination of their lives as they actually came to be in the shadow of that war, their move to Rhodesia, a damaged couple squatting over Doris's childhood in a strange land. 'Here I still am,' says Doris Lessing, 'trying to get out from under that monstrous legacy, trying to get free.' With the publication of 'Alfred and Emily' she has done just that.
About the Author
Doris Lessing was the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature and is one of the most important writers of the second half of the twentieth century. Her first novel, 'The Grass is Singing' was published in 1950, and since then her international reputation has flourished. Among her other celebrated novels are 'The Golden Notebook', 'The Summer Before the Dark', and 'Memoirs of a Survivor'. Her most recent works include two volumes of autobiography, 'Under my Skin' and 'Walking in the Shade', and her most recent novel is 'The Cleft'.
'Writers approaching 90 aren't supposed to write with vigour or experiment with form. But Lessing has never done the expected thing and "Alfred and Emily" is one more exception in an exceptional career.' Blake Morrison, Guardian 'This tale has a quality at once dreamy and wooden, like beautifully carved wooden dolls. Vividly and urgently written, [it] makes us think about the moral and emotional power of different ways of telling a story.' Financial Times 'Vivid, turbulent, raw with emotion.' Sunday Telegraph 'Quietly extraordinary...this perfectly crafted book is, as Lessing knows, the latest instalment of a remarkable payback.' Observer 'Powerful ... it is fascinating to see [Lessing] focus so sharply in her new book on what must be for us all, the most intimate of personal narratives: our parents' lives, what they were, or might have been.' The Times 'It has the freshness, clarity and emotional acuity that made her first novel "The Grass is Singing" so outstanding. A tribute to a remarkable childhood, and a poignant memoir of the mother whose greatest legacy to her daughter was an invaluable gift for storytelling.' Literary Review 'Powerful...a page-turning narrative [and] a remarkable achievement.The very structure of "Alfred and Emily" brilliantly interrogates the shadow of empire and war - the contrast between what actually happened, and what might have been.'Independent 'Simply the book that Lessing, 90 next year, was compelled to write next. In "Alfred and Emily" Lessing has found her way to an old and difficult truth. People are what they are, but what they are is also, at least in part, what they might have been.' Daily Telegraph 'Intriguing...the first part has many fascinating features the second part burns into vivid being as it re-examines Lessing's African childhood.' Sunday Times 'Lessing's vivid, ambivalent memories of what is now Zimbabwe are fascinating.' Evening Standard 'Engaging, sympathetic and wise...offers a vivid and often charming picture of Lessing's childhood on a farm in Southern Rhodesia...the memoir is a gem, full of keen observation, vivid memories comment and reflections...read it yourself; you will find it very rewarding; a delight also.' Scotsman
|Dimensions: ||19.0 x 13.0 centimeters (0.27 kg)|