The Summer Before the Dark
By Doris Lessing
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307390622, 288pp.)
Publication Date: July 14, 2009
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Nobel laureate Doris Lessing's classic novel of the pivotal summer in one woman's life is a brilliant excursion into the terrifying gulf between youth and old age.
As the summer begins, Kate Brown—attractive, intelligent, forty-five, happily married, with a house in the London suburbs and three grown children—has no reason to expect that anything will change. But by summer's end the woman she was—living behind a protective camouflage of feminine charm and caring—no longer exists. The Summer Before the Dark takes us along on Kate's journey: from London to Turkey to Spain, from husband to lover to madness, on the road to a frightening new independence and a confrontation with herself that lets her finally and truly come of age.
Doris Lessing was born of British parents in Persia, in 1919, and moved with her family to Southern Rhodesia when she was five years old. She went to England in 1949 and has lived there ever since. She is the author of more than thirty books—novels, stories, reportage, poems, and plays. In 2007, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
"A masterpiece. . . . Probably the best book she has written."
"A splendid and serious novel that reminds one once again of just how much the fictive imagination can order and enrich experience."
—The National Observer
"We are caught up in a rush of strong feeling. . . . Lessing's prose has the nervous intensity and quick, impressionistic lightness of some of D.H. Lawrence's later work."