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Love, Again [Paperback]

Doris Lessing
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

3 Mar 1997

A fierce, compelling account of the nature and origins of love from Doris Lessing, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century and winner of the Nobel Pize for Literature 2007.

Sarah Durham, sixty-year-old producer and founder of a leading fringe theatre company, commissions a play based on the journals of Julie Vairon, a beautiful, wayward nineteenth-century mulatto woman. It captivates all who come into contact with it, and dramatically changes the lives of all those who take part in it. For Sarah the changes are profound – she falls in love with two younger men, causing her to relive her own stages of growing up, from immature and infantile with the beautiful and androgynous Bill, to a mature love with Henry.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (3 Mar 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586092285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586092286
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007, is one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of recent decades. A Companion of Honour and a Companion of Literature, she has been awarded the David Cohen Memorial Prize for British Literature, Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize, the International Catalunya Award and the S. T. Dupont Golden PEN Award for a
Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature, as well as a host of other international awards.
Doris Lessing died on 17 November 2013.

Product Description

Review

'”Love, Again” grips, maddens, depresses and excites the reader from the first page to the last. A. S. Byatt, The Times

'A grand novel, boldly hewn … An encounter with a magnificent mind and temperament in artistic maturity, capable of turning her equal gaze on George Eliot.’ Independent on Sunday

'I have never seen love's effects and depredations described in more minute detail … a wholly compelling book, as vigorous and thought-provoking as anything she has ever written.' New Statesman

'By restoring love to the centre of the novel, Lessing has written a book that readers will love; a novel that Stendhal and Colette would have been proud to have written.' Scotsman

From the Back Cover

'Love, Again' is the story of Sarah Durham, a sixty-year-old producer and founder of a leading fringe theatre, who commissions a play based on the journals of Julie Vairon, a beautiful and wayward nineteenth-century mulatto woman. The play captivates all who come into contact with it, and dramatically changes the lives of all who take part in it. For Sarah, the change is profound – she falls in love with two younger men, one after the other, causing her to relive her own stages of growing up, from immature and infantile love (the beautiful and androgynous Bill) to the mature love, Henry.

'Love, Again' is a fierce and compelling examination of the nature and origins of love, of its remorseless ability to overwhelm and surprise us.

"This is a grand novel, boldly hewn, more literary than it declares, and yielding the occasional swooning glimpse of beauty. An encounter with a magnificent mind and temperament in artistic maturity, capable of turning her equal gaze on George Eliot"
CANDIA MACWILLIAM, 'Independent on Sunday'

"Lessing's mixture of passionate involvement and the capacity to stand back and take a long look at what was going on, or will go on, is unlike that of any novelist writing now, except perhaps Saul Bellow, and the late Anthony Burgess. 'Love, Again' grips, maddens, depresses and excites the reader from the first page to the last"
A.S.BYATT, 'The Times'

"If the nineteenth-century novel played down sex and elevated a love that could not confess its nature, and if the twentieth century has reversed this, then Lessing here achieves the great synthesis. By restoring love to the centre of the novel, Lessing has written a book that readers will love; a novel that Stendhal and Colette would have been proud to have written"
ALLAN MASSIE, 'Scotsman'

"A marvellously absorbing novel"
KATE KELLAWAY, 'Observer'


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Easy to think this was a junkroom, silent and airless in a warm dusk, but then a shadow moved, someone emerged from it to pull back curtains and throw open windows. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book about love 6 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have read most of Doris Lessings books, and they have always meant a lot to me. She writes with an honesty that I have only found in a few other authors. (Axel Sandemose is another).I read "Marta Quest" in my teens, and it helped me understand a lot of things. Now I read "Love, again" book as a middle-aged woman, and I got the same feeling of having learned something about myself, and of not being alone. It is an unusual book about love. It is not only about relationships but about the feeling of love itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking About Love.. 18 Aug 2011
By Kate Hopkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A thought-provoking novel about love, and about the theatre. Lessing's protagonist is Sarah, a widow in her 60s who for years has invested most of her energies in her small theatre company. The company have decided to put on a play about a French-Creole 19th-century musician called Julie Vairon - a free-thinker, who mysteriously died (probably committing suicide) in her thirties in southern France. In the process of getting the play to performance, Sarah experiences love in various forms. Firstly, she watches one of the play's sponsors, an unhappy middle-aged man named Stephen, fall in love with the long-dead Julie Vairon. And later, when the play is in rehearsal, Sarah herself begins to experience feelings uncomfortably like love, first for one of the dashing young actors, and later, and more deeply, for Henry, the director. Meanwhile another of the actors in the group begins to make amorous advances to Sarah...

Lessing beautifully captures the experience of being in love (or in lust) and writes very interestingly on why Sarah may have avoided these emotions for so long. Her descriptions of the world of the theatre are brilliant, and the story of Julie Vairon (invented by Lessing) is fascinating, and very believable. If I had to criticize the book, it would be for the scenes dealing with the fantasist Stephen: I never quite believed in his passion for a long-dead woman, and Lessing seemed unable to make up her mind whether Stephen's wife was really a lesbian, or had simply turned to lesbianism in frustration at her husband! Also, Sarah's feelings for the young actor in her company (who appeared a spoiled brat) were less convincing than her feelings for Henry. But I'd still give the novel five stars - such excellent writing doesn't come round that often.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult 11 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback
I must admit that I found this book hard going. I was more than half way through it before I began to wonder what might happen to the characters. The main character, Sarah, is a woman of 60 who mixes in theatrical circles, the book is full of literary quotes and references which I didn't recognise, and Sarah seems absorbed in self-analysis for too much of the time.
The book does have some telling insights into how it feels to be infatuated with someone, and how it feels to be depressed. There are also some beautiful descriptions of nature. Little bits of it will stay with me, but it doesn't make me want to read any of her other books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The most terrible sentence Time could deal her 11 Feb 2011
By Four Violets VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Listening to another's love agonies can be as boring and tiresome as listening to their dreams, and an entire book dedicated to characters dying - literally, in one case - and swooning left right and centre with unrequited love, is really too much. This is not the Doris Lessing of The Grass is Singing; but there are flashes of her, as she describes the reluctantly ageing Sarah and her luvvie theatre friends, all in the throes of a rather precious and frantic search for love. There are problems with families as well as partners, and Sarah eventually traces her own compulsive hunger for love and fulfilment back to her childhood.

The book probably deserves a far greater study than I was prepared to give it and would possibly then yield more rewards. It's readable, yes, but though I sometimes found the self indulgence and navel gazing irritating, how could I argue with passages such as: "Sarah...had been thinking, far too often, I shall never again hold a young man's body in my arms. Never. And it had seemed to her the most terrible sentence Time could deal her."
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cringingly bad 29 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
I love Doris Lessing and have read many of her books, however this one was so cringing, badly written and unbelievable. I read it to the end to see if it got better. As a love story it started out as a woman who is strong and yet as the book went on it was as if every man she met she was in love with, it was quite ludicrous and wasn't the strong character that was initially portrayed. I was actually predicting the very predictable ending to each little section and was getting more and more angry the more I read on. I've stopped reading Lessing now, I'm just very glad that this wasn't the first book of hers I'd read
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