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Collected African Stories, vol. 1: This Was…

Collected African Stories, vol. 1: This Was the Old Chief's Country (1973)

by Doris Lessing

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All Doris Lessing's short novels and stories are now collected into two volumes, This Was The Old Chef's Country and The Sun Between Their Feet. This volume contains all the stories from the original book entitled This Was The Old Chief's Country and three of the short novels from Five, the book which won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1954.
'I believe,' writes Doris Lessing, "that the chief gift from Africa to writers, white and black, is the continent itself, its presence which for some people is like a old fever, latent always in their blood; or it like an old wounded throbbing in the bones as the air changes. That is not a place to visit unless one chooses to be an exile ever afterwards from an inexplicable majestic silence lying just over the border of memory or of thought. Africa gives you the knowledge that man is a small creature, among other creatures, in a large landscape.'
  JESGalway | Feb 4, 2019 |
Should absence of boredom and restlessness be a blessing or a worry?

I ask because in Doris Lessing’s story “Winter in July” she writes, “They used to say to her sometimes: ‘What do you do with yourself all day? Aren’t you bored?’ She could not explain how it was she could never become bored. All restlessness had died in her.”

Most people I’ve told this to haven’t recognized it as a blessing. Neither do the other characters in “Winter in July.” That says something about how we view being at rest, or even at ease. The idea that boredom can’t ever be is one that suggests not ever being able to imagine something better.

Lessing’s stories in This Was the Old Chief’s Country are like that—there will be something in the story that leaves a question, and this is one good reason to make Ms. Lessing’s acquaintance. The tales in her book take place where she grew up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Her description of culture in the veldt gives the African settings of her stories an emotional coloring that makes its mark in different ways upon her characters. It might do the same for you. ( )
  dypaloh | Sep 13, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 058604602X, Paperback)

An African story collection

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In this superb volume of African stories, Doris Lessing paints a magnificent portrait of the country in which she grew up. The cruelties of the white man towards the native, 'the amorphous black mass, like tadpoles, faceless, who existed merely to serve', the English settlers, ill at ease, the gamblers and moneymakers; searching for diamonds and gold, and the presence, 'latent always in the blood', of Africa itself, its majestic beauty and timeless landscape: Doris Lessing draws them all together into a powerful, memorable vision.… (more)

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