Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949
This first part of Doris Lessing's autobiography covers her African childhood and youth, her involvement in communist politics, and her departure for ... Show synopsis This first part of Doris Lessing's autobiography covers her African childhood and youth, her involvement in communist politics, and her departure for England and a new life. It is a self-portrait of a woman who lived through "an extraordinary time, the end of the British Empire in Africa". Being lifted high up onto her father's horse, watching ostriches high-stepping over the empty distances of the Cape, travelling in ox carts to the new African farm with trunks full of Liberty material and English silver - so begins Doris Lessing's childhood. Born in 1919, into the aftermath of World War I, Doris Lessing was the daughter of middle-class English parents lured by the false promises of the Empire Exhibition to seek their fortune in African farming. For her parents, life in dry, dusty Africa never fulfilled its expectations, but for Doris Lessing, her early life in Southern Rhodesia, with its contradictions and complexities, proved to be fundamental to her evolution as a writer. Readers are taken through her childhood and early youth on the farm, first marriage, the rapturous births of her children, the abandonment of her family to gain independence and a political life, and her second marriage to Gottfried Lessing, an authoritarian, rigorous communist. The book ends as she loses hope of ever changing Africa, and prepares to leave for England with the manuscript of her first novel, "The Grass is Springing" - the key to a new life.