The Sweetest Dream

ISBN: 0006552307
ISBN 13: 9780006552307
By: Doris Lessing

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About this book

Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing tackles the 1960s and their legacy head-on in one of her most involving, personal, political novels.

Reader's Thoughts

Lithium

Awful book. Narrative all over the place, characters are a haze of blurry, one-dimensional, half-hearted caricatures, who seldom ever feel like real characters. The story is also outrageously lacking in terms of real plot development. I can understand that, especially when it comes to 'literary fiction'; however, as much as it pains me to say this, I found nothing literary about this book. Horribly over-rated.

Grant

A vast, sweeping, panoramic novel of the 60's and the aftermath of the 60's. In the huge cast of characters and the dense intricacy of the narrative, it resembles some of the great 19th century novels, like "War and Peace", Middlemarch" or "Bleak House". Indeed, although the literary style employed here is quite accessible, keeping track of the many threads of the narrative can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Very powerful in certain parts of the book. Some of the later sequences in Africa, showing the desperate hunger for education in an obscure village, and the torments of disease and starvation that bedevil this village, are really heartbreaking. The one real problem I had with this book, and it is a significant one, is that it is shot through with a kind of scolding moralizing, a pervasive self righteousness. This kind of attitude has long been present in Lessing's work, but it seems more pronounced here. However, this novel remains a very absorbing one and I did enjoy it.

Fernanda

Luego de haberme enterado de que esta fabulosa autora a quién le he tomado cariño en los últimos meses falleció, sentí un gran deseo de hacer una reseña de este libro. Ya no lo tengo fresco, pero causó una gran impresión en mí.Este libro, como lo menciona la autora, fue una manera de reflejar los 60's sin tener que hacer la segunda parte de su biografía, esto con el fin de evitar lastimar susceptibilidades. Es por esto, que Lessing en lugar de hablar de ella, habla de una gran cantidad de personajes.Es uno de los primeros libros que leo con tantos , sin mencionar que todos tienen su protagonismo y un desarrollo impecable.La historia se centra en Frances, una ex revolucionaria que es abandonada por su comunista ex esposo (Johnny). Ella tiene que mantener a sus dos hijos y hacerse cargo de ellos por su cuenta, hasta que su suegra, Julia, logra convencerla de que viva con ella en su enorme casa. Frances tuvo que abandonar su sueño de seguir haciendo Teatro debido a la inestabilidad del trabajo, por lo tanto, tiene que apegarse a un aburrido puesto en un periódico dando consejos a mujeres desesperadas. Esta es la base de la historia, podemos determinar que Frances es la protagonista, pero no, en realidad la protagonista es la casa de Julia, una casa que alberga no sólo a la familia de Frances, si no a un grupo de jóvenes con pensamientos "revolucionarios" que han salido de sus casas en busca de alejarse de aquellos padres que no entienden sus deseos de rebelión contra el sistema. Durante todo el libro vemos el desarrollo de todos los personajes, desde Frances, Julia, Johnny, hasta el último de los jóvenes rebeldes. Todos van creciendo, todos desarrollan su personalidad y los vemos convertirse en adultos llenos de responsabilidades y muchos problemas emocionales. Vemos un perfecto reflejo de la juventud en los años 60, y en qué logran convertirse.El libro me fascinó, envuelve muy bien en la historia y logras conocer los motivos detrás de la acción de cada uno. Te conviertes en testigo de una reflexión y un seguimiento de ideas muy particular para cada personaje, así que a pesar de que son muchos, no perderás el hilo. Es una historia para disfrutar.

meer damad

طالعت هذه الرواية في رفوف المكتبات، إلا أنّ سعرها الغالي كان محفزاً لي لتركها؛ علّـني اتحصل عليها في موقع هنا او مجلدٍ هناك. إلا اني طمعت فيها كثيراً حينما وجدتها في معرض الأيام الثقافي في المنامة، العاصمة البحرينيّة، فاقتنيتها بسعر يختلف بشكل يسير ( 60 ريال! ) في سبتمبر الماضي. والآن، أجدها قد قاربت هذا السعر في رفوف المكتبات.البارحة، كان آخر عهدي في قراءة الرواية. صفحاتها – ذات الحجم الوزيري – كانت مملوءة بالأحداث. أمــا الحوارات، فهنا وهناك تجدها مبعثرة. إلا أن الصعوبة كل الصعوبة، والسوء كله في الترجمة، التي حاكت باسهاب الترجمة الحرفية من دون تدخل من قِبل المترجم لتعديل هذا وتقوية ذاك، وذلك ما يجعلك تعيد قراءة بعض النصوص والصفحات؛ محاولاً فهمها!بداية الرواية كانت مربكة، ورغم ميلي للروايات الطويلة، إلا أنني عانيت فترة حتى استطعت التوفيق بين الأحداث في بداية الرواية، بعد مسيرة تقارب المئة صفحة منها!كانت الرواية تحاول محاكاة المجتمع البريطاني خلال حقبة الستينيات 1960s بكل ما فيها من تفاصيل، حتى ذلك التوجه الكبير للتبشير في الأحراش الأفريقـيّة. رواية نجحت في عكس تناقضات جيلـَي الشباب والكبار في تلك الفترة، لتفسّرَ عمق الشرخ داخل العلاقات الأسرية والعائليّة في تلك المجتمعات.ولعَلّ أجمل ما في الرواية من وجهة نظري، وما استهلكَ كثيراً من أجزائها، هو القسم المتعلق بأفريقيا، وبالتحديد في زيملايا – كما تقول الكاتبة – والعمل التطوعي فيها، عبر بعثات التبشير. ورغم ميل الكاتبة العنيف للرجل الأبيض، وانتقادها لتصرفات السود – رغم قضائها فترة طويلة معهم كما يقول المترجم – إلا أنها احسنت وصف الحالة المعاشة هناك في مجاهل أفريقيا، والتي لا أتصور تغيّرها رغم هذه السنين، وإن لم أ ُوَفق لزيارتها.خـَتمت الكاتبة الرواية، بثلاث نهايات، موت مفاجئ وهو في نظري نهاية رتيـبة. وتحقيق أحلام صبيين انضما حديثاً للعائلة، وذلك أكثر رتابة. إلا أنّ مشهد الطفولة الأخير، في لندن، كان مشهداً جـِد جميل.تبقى الرواية، دعوة مفتوحة لمن يرغب في معرفة بؤس تلك المجتمعات الغربية من الناحية الاجتماعيّة، وتفككِها، باعتراف أهلها وكتـّابها. واحب التأكيد على الفكرة الجيدة التي تعطيها الرواية – رغم سعرها المرتفع جداً – عن الوضع الأفريقي، وكما قلت سابقاً، لا أظن أن الوضعين قد اختفا..إلى يومنا هذا!المير دامـاد

Kathy

Well then. When I was a girl I read Doris Lessing as a guidebook for the creative and activist woman. You have to understand that that was in the 60's, and Lessing was a curious guide. I remember even seriously wondering if I ought, like the heroine in the Golden Notebook, to have different colored journals for various aspects of my life.So she holds in my life the position of a sort of mentor. The Girl Scout Guide to rad feminine life. Though she was never quite so simpatico as many others of my heroes.And then we come to The Sweetest Dream, an odd novel that is prefaced by her disclosure that she shall not write the 3rd volume of her autobiography (because it would cause harm to others still living), but that...in this novel, she hopes to reveal the truth about the 1960's. And so on.Well, okay then, I'm up for it. I lived through the 1960's, eagerly reading her novels. Of course, I was not in England, and possibly the whole grand dream was different there. I had forgotten how very lacking in a sense of humor Lessing is, how ponderously she loathes the communists (with all the fervour that a fallen away Catholic devotes to the evils of the Papacy), and how she does go on and on and on and on and on and on about the Terrible Failings of Everyone Else.I suppose a Nobel prize winning novelist is too daunting to be seriously edited? Because I would have slashed this book to ribbons. There is an interesting sub-novel, in the African section, but even that has that ponderous falsity.And the heroes and villains are set sternly in place from the start, with little cardboard traits and no real sense of...anyone. It is a shadow play, all of it (with the possible exception of the more complex character of Julia).The best part? A novel in which the house is a main character!

Ahmad

The Sweetest Dream,Doris Lessingعنوان: شیرینترین رویاها، اثر: دوریس لسینگ؛ برگردان: اسماعیل قهرمانی پور؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، روزگار، 1389، در 758 ص، شابک: 9789643741655؛ فروست: شاهکارهای ادبیات جهان از مجموعه رمان روزگار 424، موضوع داستانهای انگلیسیفرانسیس زنی که از شوهرش جدا شده، و همراه با مادرشوهر و دو پسرش در خانه بزرگی زندگی میکند. دوستان فرزندانش و افراد دیگری نیز ساکن این خانه میشوند. بنابر همین دوریس لسینگ از ماجراهای خانوادگی سخن می‌گوید و روابط جدا نشدنی این افراد را در کنار هم روایت می‌کند. رمانی که بسیاری از منتقدان آن را آینه‌ای تمام نما از تاریخ زندگی انسان‌های امروزی می‌دانند، و معتقدند شخصیت‌های آن به سختی از ذهن مخاطب خارج می‌شوند. شخصیت‌هایی خوب یا بد، که زندگی‌شان به شدت تحت تاثیر جنگ و فضای آن قرار گرفته است. دوریس لسینگ در رمان «شیرین‌ترین رویاها»، به تجربیات گذشته خود باز می‌گردد و زندگی مردم را در شهر لندن و یک کشور فرضی آفریقایی مرور می‌کند؛ کشوری به نام «زیملیا» که برخی از منتقدان بر این باورند لسینگ با انتخاب چنین مکانی در داستانش، به کشور زیمبابوه و وقایع داخلی آن اشاره می‌کند. «شیرین‌ترین رویاها» داستانی طولانی است که بی وقفه روایت می‌شود و نویسنده، کتاب را به فصل‌های گوناگون تقسیم نکرده، رمانی که شاید بتوان آن را فاقد موضوعی خاص دانست، اما لسینگ در این اثر با تمرکز بر نیازهای اعضای خانواده و با بهره‌گیری از دیالوگ‌های زیاد در طول داستان، و تکیه به نثر خود، کاری کرده که «شیرین‌ترین رویاها» جذاب و خواندنی باشد

Vasco Ribeiro

Fiquei com curiosidade de perceber se o livro era uma auto-biografia ou não, e por isso despertou-me a curiosidade de ver a biografia da autora na wikipédia e não cheguei a nenhuma conclusão. Achei engraçada a análise divertida e objetiva da intelectualidade de esquerda, pretensamente jovem e vanguardista, dos anos 60. A escritora também parece muito divertida a escrever e a dissecar os caracteres e as personagens. De qualquer maneira o livro tem duas partes muito diferentes embora que se entrecruzam ligeiramente: a parte inicial em Londres, e a parte final algures em África. Podiam ser dois livros, até porque as personagens principais mudam. Mas não são. Por isso fica-se a perguntar porque é que a Autora fez assim. Por mim não alcancei uma resposta.

Nikki Klein

I couldn't get into this book. Too many words to make it's points. I found myself skimming the pages. Gave up and shelved it.

Kristin

Post-World War II Britain, as described in this novel, is a politically interesting place. The generation of children born and raised by war couples seems irrevocably damaged. The main character, Frances, however provides these children with a home and "family" as they break free from their own parents and struggle with their political beliefs. These intelligent and critical children become adults working in the world and political climate they have despised, some trying to do go (despite the bureaucracy) and some still making trouble. An interesting novel that made me think about the long-lasting effects of war.

Christine

I really have no idea what I ended up reading here. It was way more interesting to discuss with book group than it was to actually read it, though at one point I felt the story became very compelling. For a good bit through, I just felt extremely disoriented by the the characters and setting. The discussion pulled some themes from the book mostly about women, work, gender equality, the role of women in the family (60's vs. today) and distinguishing what was "English" about this novel. Ultimately this was just not my kind of book but I'm very curious about the accolades that Doris Lessing has gotten for all her work. I just don't connect.

Andrés

Los personajes son bastante entrañables, normalmente tengo grandes dificultades para recordar los nombres de los personajes y distinguirlos, sin embargo en este caso no fue así a pesar de que son relativamente numerosos.La historia transcurre a lo largo de una treintena de años, a grandes rasgos le vi dos partes, la primera transcurre a principios de los sesentas y muestra un retrato de la sociedad de la época, la segunda transcurre a comienzos de los noventas y tiene algo mas de critica a gobiernos e instituciones. La primera parte me gusto un poco mas y allí fui donde me encariñe con algunos personajes.I grew fond of most of the characters, to the point that even tough I usually have a hard time remebering their names and telling them appart with this book that was not the case.The story spans several decades, and is divided in two clear parts, the 60s where we are presented with a portrait of that time's society, and the late 80s where a bigger picture of the world of that time is exposed.

Abigail

An intriguing book that could have been tailor made for me: a novel about family and friend relationships over a period of decades. I found the story - and the evocation of the 1960s - intriguing. Was the era really as depicted? According to my mother, perhaps in London but not in the rural Mendip hills! Actually, this book is an examination of "sweet dreams" that almost came to being but eventually crumbled: communism, a post-colonial Africa free of corruption and preventable diseases, and "progressive" education. While at times a bit preachy, it is well done and well-written. A thought-provoking book that has stayed with me.

Wendy Brown-Baez

The extended family made up of friends and young people alienated from their own parents, the idealism and the disillusionment, were very familiar to me as a teen of the 60's. I understood Frances although I did want to shake her out of being used by others. But I often had trouble sympathizing with the other characters; they didn't resonate with me. I was watching from a little bit of a distance a fascinating portrayal of a living situation that had the potential to be inspiring and instead, everyone seem self-centered and self-conscious. I was captivated and drawn into the family saga but it seemed like the last part about Africa was really another book. I had to force myself to read it even though it had in fact interesting details about Africa and the AIDS epidemic. It was just that I felt disconnected from the previous story. It felt like the author's need to witness the situationin Africa more than a real flow to the original story.

patmarli1

I loved this book on so many levels - dysfunctional families, a historical panorama from a period that was truly exciting for the participants and set the scene for so much emancipation, especially for women. There were times this book represented my war & peace as I read it whilst breastfeeding a new baby (and always felt the end was never near...to the book or the breastfeed). Doris has a real knack for picking up the threads of history and showing us their vital patterns, then unleashing their force on the lives of her characters. See what I mean when you read this book.....

Elham

In The Sweetest Dream devotees of communism are some overexcited, smelly youths with greasy unwashed hairs who have sweetest dreams about the future of their ideology. This is England in 1970.The historical-fiction aspect in this novel is so strong that I sometimes felt I was reading a real historical book. All the meetings, family gatherings and discussions are revolving around politics. A big family, consisting of Frances and her two sons: Colin and Andrew, Julia -grandmother, Johnny-Julia's son and Frances' ex-husband and many friends of Colin and Andrew- Rose, Sophie, Danial… They are all living in Julia's big house. Johnny is a famous communist leader. He always comes to this house for dinner with his new fellows. He stands by the window- not sits at the table and speaks about politics. He is a bad father. He never understands his sons – doesn't know anything about affection or love. He gets married three times- and each time he says I finally find my real fellow my real wife!Strong characters are female – as I expected. Frances, Julia and then Silvia. Three women with different ages and from different generations. And aren't they a representation of the writer, herself, for different parts of her life?! Considering that Doris Lessing wrote this book in 2001, when she was 82, I can imagine Silvia as young, Francis as middle aged and Julia as 82- Doris Lessing.A big part of this novel is devoted to Zimlia a fictional country in Africa, which some say it is Zimbabwe, in which Lessing lived there some years. Silvia went to work in an African mission hospital voluntarily as a doctor. This is the time of new revolutions, new miseries and new diseases like AIDS. Feminists and defenders of women's rights in this novel are some radical, self-centered women, like Rose Trimble, a journalist who divorced her nice husband because of his smiles after having been bombard by his wife's nonstop speeches about women.I think this is a novel which could be written only by an 82 female writer who witnessed a big part of history, who was herself a communist, feminist and conservative in special periods of her life.

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