This major collection contains all of Doris Lessing’s short fiction, other than the stories set in Africa, from the beginning of her career until now. Set in London, Paris, the south of France, the English countryside, these thirty-five stories reflect the themes that have always characterized Lessing’s work: the bedrock realities of marriage and other relationships between men and women; the crisis of the individual whose very psyche is threatened by a society unattuned to its own most dangerous qualities; the fate of women.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Stories|
|Release Date: 02-10-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Group E-Books|
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A MAN AND woman walked towards the boulevard from a little hotel in a side street.
The trees were still leafless, black, cold; but the fine twigs were swelling towards spring, so that looking upward it was with an expectation of the first glimmering greenness. Yet everything was calm, and the sky was a calm, classic blue.
The couple drifted slowly along. Effort, after days of laziness, seemed impossible; and almost at once they turned into a cafe´ and sank down, as if exhausted, in the glass-walled space that was thrust forward into the street.
The place was empty. People were seeking the midday meal in the restaurants. Not all: that morning crowds had been demonstrating, a procession had just passed, and its straggling end could still be seen. The sounds of violence, shouted slogans and singing, no longer absorbed the din of Paris traffic; but it was these sounds that had roused the couple from sleep.
A waiter leaned at the door, looking after the crowds, and he reluctantly took an order for coffee.
The man yawned; the woman caught the infection; and they laughed with an affectation of guilt and exchanged glances before their eyes, without regret, parted. When the coffee came, it remained untouched. Neither spoke. After some time the woman yawned again; and this time the man turned and looked at her critically, and she looked back. Desire asleep, they looked. This remained: that while everything which drove them slept, they accepted from each other a sad irony; they could look at each other without illusion, steady-eyed.
And then, inevitably, the sadness deepened in her till she consciously resisted it; and into him came the flicker of cruelty.