This Was the Old Chiefu2019s Country

This Was the Old Chiefu2019s Country

Doris Lessing

‘It can be said of all white-dominated Africa that it was – and still is – the Old Chief’s Country. So all the stories I write of a certain kind I think of as belonging under that heading; tales about white people, sometimes about black people, living in a landscape that not so very long ago was settled by black tribes, living in complex societies that the white people are only just beginning to study, let alone understand.’ Doris Lessing, from the Preface In this superb volume of African stories, Lessing paints a magnificent portrait of the country in which she grew up. The cruelties of the white man towards the native, ‘the amorphous black mass, like tadpoles, faceless, who existed merely to serve’, the English settlers, ill at ease, the gamblers and moneymakers searching for diamonds and gold, and the presence, ‘latent always in the blood’, of Africa itself, its majestic beauty and timeless landscape: Lessing draws them all together into a powerful, memorable vision.

Reviews of This Was the Old Chiefu2019s Country

    • ‘One brings away a sense of the sheer impossibility of Africa, as a place fit only for habitation by the imagination of exiles and of children. All else seems lost, betrayed and spoiled, except the glare of the sun, the dust, the boulders. An impressive collection.’ Daily Telegraph
    • ‘Doris Lessing’s sense of setting is so immediate, the touch and taste of her continent is so strong, that Africa seems to become the universe.’ Newsweek

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