The Summer Before the Dark

The Summer Before the Dark

Doris Lessing

The story of a middle-aged woman’s search for freedom, from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Her four children have flown, her husband is otherwise occupied, and after twenty years of being a good wife and mother, Kate Brown is free for a summer of adventure. She plunges into an affair with a younger man, travelling abroad with him, and, on her return to England, meets an extraordinary young woman whose charm and freedom of spirit encourages Kate in her own liberation. Kate’s new life has brought her a strange unhappiness, but as the summer months unfold, a darker, disquieting journey begins, devastating in its consequences.

A novel of self-discovery that bears the hallmarks of Lessing’s brilliance, honesty and power to move the reader, ‘The Summer Before the Dark’ has been hailed by some as Lessing’s best book.

Reviews of The Summer Before the Dark

    • ‘This is probably the best book Doris Lessing has ever written. It would be a deprivation not to read it at once.’ Economist
    • ‘An honest, perceptive, serious book.’ Irish Times
    • ‘Painfully, poignantly authentic.’ David Lodge, New Statesman
    • ‘A summer journey of self-discovery which ends amazingly, in an act of self-definition so searching, so acute and total, one puts down the book shaken, enlarged, in awe. It is an ostensibly simple story, simply told, developing all the way and deepening: the particular universalised in a narrative of compelling power. No wonder Mrs Lessing has been spoken of in the same breath as Nabokov and Solzhenitsyn.’ Sunday Times

More from Doris Lessing