In this profoundly moving book, Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing explores the lives of her parents, each irrevocably damaged by the Great War. In the fictional first half of Alfred and Emily, she imagines the happier lives her parents might have made for themselves had there been no war. This is followed by a piercing examination of their relationship as it actually was in the shadow of the devastating global conflict.
"Here I still am," says Lessing, "trying to get out from under that monstrous legacy, trying to get free." Triumphantly, with Alfred and Emily, she has done just that.
About the Author
Doris Lessing was born of British parents in Persia, in 1919, and moved with her family to Southern Rhodesia when she was five years old. She went to England in 1949 and has lived there ever since. She is the author of more than thirty books--novels, stories, reportage, poems, and plays. In 2007, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“An intriguing work . . . [that] shimmers with precisely remembered details.”
-Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“An odd and powerful excursion into lost time. . . . a powerful reminder not only of Lessing’s past but also of how each of us can return to our own and come back with something precious.”
-San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Alfred and Emily reveals why Lessing deserved literature’s highest honor. There is a remarkable level of courage, honesty, and wisdom in Alfred and Emily. . . . Lessing, nearing 90, continues to surprise.”
“A stirring exploration . . . gently yet deeply moving”
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
“She has never displayed her potent imagination to better effect, or her gift for probing realism . . . a profoundly moving memoir and portrait of a marriage.”
-Wall Street Journal
“A clever, moving coupling of fiction and nonfiction. ALFRED & EMILY is...a testament to [Lessing’s] ongoing literary vitality.”
-Washington Post Book World
“Lessing’s taste for discomfiting truths is as evident as ever…as bracing and engaging as anything she has written.”
“Laced with the subtlest of observations and the wryest of wit...This unusual marriage of fiction and memoir (and family photographs) results in a book at once spellbinding, rueful, and tragic.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“A truly intriguing piece of work...the book is also an interesting glimpse of an empire and an era.”
-Christian Science Monitor