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The Real Thing
Stories & Sketches

Year First Published: 1992
First Published by:HarperCollins
Category:Short Stories
This Edition:American first edition

From the book jacket:

The Real Thing is the first new work of fiction from Doris Lessing since her highly acclaimed novel, The Fifth Child. The stories and sketches in this collection penetrate to the hear of human experience with the passion and intelligence readers have come to expect of Doris Lessing. Most of the pieces are set in contemporary London, a city the author loves for its variety, its populations from everywhere in the world, its transitoriness, the way it connects the life of animals and birds in the parks to streets so old they have forgotten they ever had anything to do with nature.

In "Among the Roses," a near chance meeting in Regent's Park allows a difficult reconciliation of mother and daughter, while in "Sparrows," and older couple argues over their daughter's independence at a cafe table in Hampstead Heath, inspired by a fledgling making its first forays for crumbs. Another sketch takes us into a tower block of flats where a social worker observes a miracle when he confronts a loving Indian mother determined to protect her youngest daughter.

Lessing's fiction often explores the darker corners of relationships between women and men, illuminating the courage and resilience of women in particular. in "The Pit," an independent-minded older woman is surprised by a visit from her former husband that sets off a flow of memory and fantasy, disturbs her hard-won equilibrium, and finally causes her to flee to Scandinavia on holiday. "Debbie and Julie" is a brilliant and compassionate depiction of a pregnant girl alone. And "The Real Thing," the rich and emotionally complex title story of the collection, uncovers a more parlous reality behind the facade of the most conventional relationships between the sexes.

Some of these stories first appeared in the following publications: The Observer Magazine,The Independent Magazine, Fiction Magazine, London Magazine, Hampstead & Highgate Express, Irish Times, Mississippi Valley Review, Icarus, Antaeus, and The New Yorker.

Included in this Edition:

    Debbie and Julie
    The Mother of the Child in Question
    Pleasure of the Park
    Womb Ward
    In Defence of the Underground
    The New Cafe
    Romance 1988
    What Price the Truth?
    Among the Roses
    The Pit
    Two Old Women and a Young One
    The Real Thing

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