Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949

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9780060926649: Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949

"I was born with skins too few. Or they were scrubbed off me by. . .robust and efficient hands."

The experiences absorbed through these "skins too few" are evoked in this memoir of Doris Lessing's childhood and youth as the daughter of a British colonial family in Persia and Southern Rhodesia Honestly and with overwhelming immediacy, Lessing maps the growth of her consciousness, her sexuality, and her politics, offering a rare opportunity to get under her skin and discover the forces that made her one of the most distinguished writers of our time.

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About the Author:

Winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature, Doris Lessing was one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of our time, the recipient of a host of international awards. She wrote more than thirty books—among them the novels Martha Quest, The Golden Notebook, and The Fifth Child. She died in 2013.

From Kirkus Reviews:

As is to be expected from Lessing (The Real Thing, 1992, etc.), whose clear and always intelligent no-nonsense writing has explored subjects that transcend the commonplace, this first volume of her autobiography reflects all her remarkable strengths. The year of her birth, 1919, was auspicious neither for her parents in particular nor for the world in general. The ill-matched Taylers had married not out of love but out of a mutual need to expunge the horror of the recently ended world war, which had maimed Lessing's father both physically and mentally--he'd lost a leg in battle, but more important, he was embittered by what he considered Britain's poor treatment of her soldiers. Her mother, an able nurse, had lost a fianc‚, and marriage now seemed to offer only the consolation of children. These disappointments, exacerbated by the harsh life in rural Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia), where her family settled after a stint in Persia, would indelibly shape Lessing. She quarreled frequently with her mother, whose well-meaning strictures she resented; observed her father's despair and his failures as a settler-farmer; and resolved that she would not live like them--``I will not, I will not!''--even if it meant defying convention. Which she did, as she left her first husband and their two children for another man--Gottried Lessing; joined the local Communist Party in the midst of WW II ``because of the spirit of the times, because of the Zeitgeist''; and then moved in 1949 permanently to London. Like so many bright and alienated provincials, Lessing found an escape in voracious reading. Though determined to be a writer, the consuming distractions of motherhood, wartime society, and political activities frustrated this ambition for a long time. Refreshingly, not a self-indulgent mea culpa, but a brutally frank examination of how Lessing became what she is--a distinguished writer, a woman who has lived life to the full, and a constant critic of cant. (Book-of-the-Month Club selection) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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