Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949

Doris Lessing

The first volume of the autobiography of Doris Lessing, author of ‘The Grass is Singing’ and ‘The Golden Notebook’, and Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007.

Winner of the James Tait Black Prize 1994.

Doris Lessing’s autobiography begins with her childhood in Africa and ends on her arrival in London in 1949 with the typescript of her first novel in her suitcase.

It charts the evolution first of her consciousness, then of her sexuality and finally of her political awareness with an almost overwhelming immediacy, and is as distinctive and challenging as anything she has ever written.

It is already recognised as one of the great autobiographies of the twentieth century.

Reviews of Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949

    • ‘Passionate and compelling, a book so packed with extraordinary images that it has obliterated almost everything else I read in 1994.’ Rose Tremain
    • ‘In this immediate, vivid, beautifully paced memoir, Doris Lessing sets the individual against history, the personal against the general and shows, by the example of her life set down honestly, how biography and fiction mesh, how fiction transmutes the personal to the general, how the particular experience illuminates the universe. By putting her life on the page, she has created her greatest work of art.’ Hilary Mantel, LRB
    • ‘The book pulsates with life. The intensity of the sensory world is brilliantly evoked … Not just the story of the first thirty years of one life, this is the biography also of an age.’ Jane Dunn, Observer

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