Walking in the Shade: Volume Two of My Autobiography, 1949–1962: Volume Two of My Autobiography, 1949-62 Paperback – 5 May 1998
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More casually written and organized than Under My Skin, the second volume of Doris Lessing's autobiography boasts the same acute, brutally frank insights. She begins with her 1949 arrival in London as a 30-year-old single mother from Rhodesia who is searching for a place and the means to write freely; Lessing closes in 1962 with the publication of her most famous novel, The Golden Notebook. In between, she covers love affairs, years of psychotherapy, and her increasingly disenchanted involvement with the Communist Party. Walking in the Shade is essential reading for anyone interested in mid-century British culture.
‘Funny and heartbreaking… every word rings true.’
Claire Tomalin, Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year
‘It is exhilarating to read. Not many lives are worth more than two long volumes, but Doris Lessing’s most certainly is.’
‘She is a true heroine. The passionate courage spoken by each page of her writing has been easily matched by her rollercoaster life. Through her memoirs she allows us to get a little closer to her, to a woman who has not only written, but has lived, at full throttle’ Guardian
‘A wise and major figure, a subtle voice, a writer for whom the past is a test of the present, as well as a place of memory and self-questioning.’ Malcolm Bradbury, Observer
‘Doris Lessing has changed the way we think about the world. Walking in the Shade records another crucial stage of her education, and ours.’ Blake Morrison, Independent on Sunday
‘Fiercely self-confident and fiercely self-critical, simultaneously warm and formidable; this is a highly idiosyncratic and utterly compelling mix.’ Sunday TelegraphSee all Product description
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This is a wonderful and engrossing book, a brilliant evocation of an era, and of ten years or so in the life of one of the 20th century's greatest writers. I just wish Lessing had written further volumes of autobiography - but at least we got her amazing family saga 'The Sweetest Dream' to compensate.
Doris Lessing has had a very exciting life, even if, for the most part it has been a struggle for the predominantly single mother and author. Helpfully some of the events that ex-communist Lessing has taken part in (such as the Aldermaston marches in the 50/60's) she explains what happens, who was there and why it was happening.
Much of the people that Doris Lessing has met through her varied and vivid career includes everyone from her landlady up to famous people who we can perhaps only imagine meeting. With references to her writing she gives examples of where people she has met have been included in her work which makes them more real than simply words on a page.