Under My Skin, Volume 1: to 1949
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"I was born with skins too few. Or they were scrubbed off me by. . .robust and efficient hands."
The experiences absorbed through these "skins too few" are evoked in this memoir of Doris Lessing's childhood and youth as the daughter of a British colonial family in Persia and Southern Rhodesia Honestly and with overwhelming immediacy, Lessing maps the growth of her consciousness, her sexuality, and her politics, offering a rare opportunity to get under her skin and discover the forces that made her one of the most distinguished writers of our time.
dedicated, unsmiling activist simply left him, it seemed, overnight. One year you met this man who would make speeches putting you right at the slightest hint of ‘incorrectness’, but the next he was affable, charming, social and said, ‘I’m not interested in politics.’ Meanwhile the rich boy had become part of the Communist ruling class in East Germany. When I met the original of Anton Hesse, in the early 1950s, it was like some dislocated dream, hearing Gottfried’s words, seeing his reactions, in
Hans Sen, and I went walking up and down the streets and avenues. There were few street lights. There were few cars. The shallow little town shrank unto the earth under the pressure of the stars and a moon that was always in rapid movement from somewhere to somewhere. I walked along under the jacarandas and the cedrillatoonas, passing houses that spilled out light and music and voices from the radios. You could walk for an hour, or two, up and down, back and forth, and hear the same tune coming
George Gershwin ߝ © Redwood Music Ltd – All Rights Reserved – Used by Permission Every effort has been made to trace and contact copyright holders. If there are any inadvertent omissions, please contact the publisher and we will include any missing acknowledgements in later editions. Praise ‘Nearly all autobiographies founder at adolescence. I read the first 200 pages of this one with such pleasure that I forgot I was meant to be reviewing it … By reclaiming her life from fiction and
books. Mr Whitehead was either careless or dishonest, and he blamed my father. I have described this, humorously, in In Pursuit of the English, but for my parents it was the chief horror of ‘God, that was an awful time.’ There was nothing funny in the living of it. My father rode over every day to supervise the beginning of the farm, for already there was a ‘bossboy’, Old Smoke, from Nyasaland, who had brought his relatives with him, and a good part of each morning was spent in long, meditative
village hall. Suddenly there were a lot of young people, a new generation, who drove in to Banket from miles around to dance to the insidious intoxicating music of the 1930s played on a wind-up gramophone. My young man and I, unable to dance, I too awkward, he too shy, stood by the gramophone, wound it up, fed it records and watched the older young men and women steering each other about, stiff in each other’s arms. The young men, who spent every minute of their ordinary lives in old khaki shirts