This Was the Old Chief's Country: Collected African Stories Volume One

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9780002257053: This Was the Old Chief's Country: Collected African Stories Volume One

This is the first volume of Doris Lessing’s Collected African Stories. A classic work of twentieth-century literature.

‘It can be said of all white-dominated Africa that it was – and still is – the Old Chief’s Country. So all the stories I write of a certain kind I think of as belonging under that heading; tales about white people, sometimes about black people, living in a landscape that not so very long ago was settled by black tribes, living in complex societies that the white people are only just beginning to study, let alone understand.’ Doris Lessing, from the Preface.

In this superb volume of African stories, Doris Lessing paints a magnificent portrait of the country in which she grew up. The cruelties of the white man towards the native, ‘the amorphous black mass, like tadpoles, faceless, who existed merely to serve’, the English settlers, ill at ease, the gamblers and moneymakers searching for diamonds and gold, and the presence, ‘latent always in the blood’, of Africa itself, its majestic beauty and timeless landscape: Doris Lessing draws them all together into a powerful, memorable vision.

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Review:

‘Doris Lessing’s sense of setting is so immediate, the touch and taste of her continent is so strong, that Africa seems to become the universe.’
Newsweek

‘In story after story, Doris Lessing portrays the helpless collisions and alienations of the races. One brings away a sense of the sheer human impossibility of South Africa, as a place fit only for habitation by the imagination of exiles and of children. All else seems lost, betrayed and spoiled, except the glare of the sun, the dust, the boulders. An impressive collection.’ Daily Telegraph

From the Back Cover:

'It can be said of all white-dominated Africa that it was – and still is – the Old Chief's Country. So all the stories I write of a certain kind I think of as belonging under that heading: tales about white people, sometimes about black people, living in a landscape that not so very long ago was settled by black tribes, living in complex societies that the white people are only just beginning to study, let alone understand.'
DORIS LESSING, from the Preface

In this superb volume of African stories, Doris Lessing paints a magnificent portrait of the country in which she grew up. The cruelties of the white man toward the native, 'the amorphous black mass, like tadpoles, faceless, who existed merely to serve', the English settlers, ill at ease, the gamblers and moneymakers searching for diamonds and gold, and the presence, 'latent always in the blood', of Africa itself, its majestic beauty and timeless landscape: Doris Lessing draws them all together into a powerful, memorable vision.

Doris Lessing is one of the most important writers of the second half of the twentieth century. Her most recent books include the celebrated novels, 'Love Again' and 'Mara and Dann', and the two volumes of autobiography, 'Under My Skin' and 'Walking in the Shade.' She lives in North London.

"One brings away a sense of the sheer impossibility of Africa, as a place fit only for habitation by the imagination of exiles and of children. All else seems lost, betrayed and spoiled, except the glare of the sun, the dust, the boulder's. AN impressive collection."
DAILY TELEGRAPH

"Doris Lessing's sense of setting is so immediate, the touch and taste of her continent is so strong, that Africa seems to become the universe."
NEWSWEEK

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