The Temptation of Jack Orkney

The Temptation of Jack Orkney

Doris Lessing

Lessing is unrivalled in her ability to capture the complexities of relationships, and the stories in this wonderful collection have lost none of their original power. Two marriages, both middle class, liberal and ‘rather literary’, share a shocking flaw, a secret ‘cancer’. A young, beautiful woman from a working-class family is courted by a very eligible, very upmarket man. An ageing actress falls in love for the first time but can only express her feelings through her stage performances because her happily married lover is unobtainable. A dedicated, lifelong rationalist is tempted, after the death of his father, by the comforts of religious belief. In this magnificent collection of stories, which spans four decades, Lessing’s unique gift for observation, her wit, her compassion and remarkable ability to illuminate human life are all remarkably displayed.

Reviews of The Temptation of Jack Orkney

    • ‘What do you say about Doris Lessing? She has shaped the attitudes of a whole generation of women; she has defined and punctured masculine pretensions and has torn strips off liberal double-think. This collection is, it goes without saying, a classic.’ Mary Hope, Spectator
    • ‘Intense and tender, valuable and drily humorous stories with streaks of gold. Dazzling.’ The Times
    • ‘Doris Lessing is the great novelist of the unspoken thing, of the part a husband and wife cannot tell each other, of the little things that people are reluctant to talk about. She seems to know everything and to forgive it, or, in the overview, to see nothing to forgive. Her work is suffused with a calm charity that reassures, heals and encourages.’ Diane Johnson, New York Times

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