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

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.

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.

Sasha

It is not for nothing that Doris Lessing won the Noble Prize.I place this book into an imaginary genre called "British Gothic." It's a book that covers the life of a family over 30-40 years from the early 19060s until the 90s or so. It deals with politics, class, parents and children and the separate worlds that they inhabit. It does not have a classic arc but is rather about the family as a whole and the individuals as members of it.It's brilliant. The characters are incredibly engaging. I finally decided that the story is really about idealism and how one can betray one's self and others by by remaining true to it.Since it is very difficult to write of a synopsis of the book, I give you Amazon's:"Frances Lennox and her two adolescent sons and their motley friends have taken over the bottom floors of a rambling house in Hampstead, London. Over the roiling years that begin with news of President Kennedy's assassination, a mutable assortment of young habitues gather around Frances's kitchen table, and [Frances' ex-husband:] Comrade Johnny makes cameo appearances, ever espousing Marxist propaganda. Lessing clearly relishes the recalcitrant '60s, yet she follows her characters through the women's movement of the '70s and a lengthy final digression in '90s Africa."

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.

Ahmed

دوريس ليسينج من أجمل الأقلام الإنجليزيه التى قرأت لها فى حياتى,أنثى جميله بقلم أنثوى أكثر من رائع,أول ما قرأت لها كانت روايه بعنوان (الطفل الخامس) وأيقنت أننى وقعت فى غرام قلمها وأسلوبها السحر,وفى هذا العمل (الضخم) الساحر تقدم لنا واقع المجتمع فى فترة منتصف القرن العشرين, بأحداث اجتماعيه قمة الإبداع عبر عين شخصيتها الرئيسيه الجميله (فرانسيس)تلك المرأة المكافحه الى تضغطها ظروف الحياة لدرجة الأنفجار, كم يخذلها الرجال وكم تكافح هى لتربيه ولديها وكم تهتم بحماتها العجوزورغم أن العمل مترجم إلا أن اللغه جيده تنم عن حِرفيه شديدهالأحداث دقيقه بتفاصيل مهمه تعرف من خلالها واقع المجتمع فى تلك الفترة البعيدهالشخصيات عميقه تجد فيها العمق النفسى الذى يجعلك تتعرف على كافة أبعاد شخصياته.فى المجمل عمل روائى كامل ينم عن احترافيته وأكاديميته كسائر روايات حائزى نوبل , ورغم ضخامة العمل إلا أنى انتهيت منه فى وقت ممتاز.

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.

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

Queirosiana

"Em O Sonho Mais Doce, o leitor é conduzido por uma saga familiar que atravessa três gerações, centrando-se o enredo, sobretudo, na década de 60, altura em que a casa de Júlia Lennox alberga uma grande quantidade de jovens, personificando o espírito de liberdade prevalecente na Inglaterra de então."Um livro marcante, inesquecível... é o meu terceiro livro da escritora e começa a tornar-se óbvio que o meu apreço pela escritora, mesmo antes de ler qualquer obra sua, é verdadeiro.Este livro fala-nos dos "dourados" anos 60. Acompanhamos três gerações distintas, os seus sucessos, os seus fracassos, as suas fraquezas, as suas glórias, e acima de tudo, os seus sonhos.Nunca vivi os anos 60, estou muito longe deles até, mas este livro revive o espírito, a mudança latente, a ruptura emergente, a rebeldia incessante, o pensamente de esquerda, as relações "liberalíssimas" e o Sonho constante de querer Mudar o Mundo...Julia é a personagem mais velha, sogra de Frances e avó de Andrew e Colin e, mais tarde, Sylvia. Representa a geração que ainda viveu, na juventude, a 2ª Guerra e que guarda ainda dentre de si uma educação rígida e conservadora.Frances, mãe de Andrew e Colin é a mãe liberal que torna a sua casa num albergue para jovens (amigos dos filhos, amigos dos amigos dos filhos...) que fogem de casa das suas famílias porque se sentem "incompreendidos", divorciada de Johnny um eterno comunista que defende a todo o custo da doutrina da Revolução e incentiva todos os actos contra o regime e que negligencia a educação e sustento dos filhos.Sylvia, filha da segunda mulher de Johnny, sofre na infância os tormentos de uma mãe louca que a culpa por não ter sucesso na vida. Acaba por ir para casa de Julia, que a acolhe como uma segunda mãe e lhe dá a educação que acaba por a tornar Médica. Decide fazer voluntariado numa zona de África - Zimlia - onde se inicia o confronto com a doença, que nessa altura começava a surgir, a SIDA. Esta parte do livro é a mais inquetante e a mais crua e isso torna-a, sem dúvida, na parte fulcral e culminante de todo o enredo.Existem depois uma série de personagens secundárias, cuja vida também acompanhamos de próximo e que demonstram, muitas delas, a sua hipocrisia, que mais não é do que a perda do Sonho, que está constantemente presente nesta obra - esse Sonho de mundar o mundo. Que resiste e persiste mesmo depois do Muro cair, mesmo depois de se conhecer o tamanho das atrocidades cometidas pelo Regime Soviético, e com uma citação do livro ... "mas onde está a surpresa, se, (apesar de tudo) é sempre O Sonho que conta?"."E por isso, como todos nós fazemnos com a pior e mais profunda dor, começaram a esquecer"

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.

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.

Sarah Newton

Absolutely superb. This is a classic "great novel" - it reminded me very much of Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks". It's a tale of a family spanning generations, tracing British society's relationship with communism, and in particular the "Leninist / Stalinist communism" of the Soviet Union and China, from the 1960s to 1990s. It's very much more than that, though - a study of hypocrisy, lip-service, real active humanity vs cynicism, exploitation, and ingratitude.I found myself arguing with Lessing's politics somewhat, while agreeing with her depiction of human nature. Especially in the early parts of the novel, she appears to be entirely critical of attempts to agitate for social justice and in favour of a more conservative, libertarian "common sense". Happily, as the novel progresses, it's clear she's being a lot more subtle than this, and using "communism" (or the 20th century statist-totalitarian nightmare which called itself "communism") as a hook for hanging her social critique on, in the same way that a 19th century writer would use the church or political protest. There are lots of echoes - Mrs Jellaby from Bleak House, the three generations of Buddenbrooks, Rousseau, Candide, and a whole lot of Dostoevsky, from Verkhovensky / Stavrogin in The Devils and some very explicit appeals to Sonia from Crime & Punishment. In the end, though, it's a hugely powerful, original, and modern work; its conclusion could be seen as somewhat nihilist, but I prefer to read it as very human: good is its own reward, and is punished accordingly.

Francesca Ponassi

Doris Lessing ci offre interessanti punti di vista sulla società inglese degli anni '60 e non solo.http://libri-letti.blogspot.it/2014/0...

Thomas Ullman

It's well written and has some nice touches....but I confess that I've given up with 'The Sweetest Dream.' It is 250 pages too long and the characters are not engaging enough for me to plough on with another 200 pages.Sorry Doris. Sure your nobel prize will be compensation!

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.

Laurel-Rain

In this testament to a time long ago, "The Sweetest Dream: A Novel" reminds us of a colorful era when the boundaries were blurred, the issues were paramount, and many young people (and some older ones) were celebrating the revolution.Frances Lennox is trying to make it on her own, raise her two sons, and manage to maintain a household for the seemingly ever-growing group of hangers-on that shows up regularly at the house owned by her former mother-in-law Julia, whose generosity she depends upon. Neither of them are very happy when ex-husband Johnny (and black sheep son) shows up frequently, expecting the king's treatment.During one of these moments, Frances gives in to the feelings she often hides. Her ex has just savagely put down his son Colin, whose first novel is being published; in his rant, Johnny reams his son out for his bourgeois beliefs and attitudes. Frances calls him to task for his behavior, which goes against the grain for her and wrings her out emotionally.Following this dramatic scene, Frances gives in to her feelings, showing them freely, for the first time ever: "And then, a surprise to herself, Frances laid her head down on her arms, on the table, among all the dishes. She sobbed. Andrew waited, noting the freshets of tears that renewed themselves every time he thought she had recovered. He was white too now, shaken. He had never seen his mother cry, never heard her criticize his father in this way."But despite the emotional moments Frances suffers, from time to time, she continues the task of cleaning up other people's messes.Throughout this tale, I wanted to shake this woman; but I also knew that she was, in a way, a victim of her times.The book was long, with relentless moments such as these, which I found tedious, despite being able to relate to the story. Nevertheless, the most I can offer is four stars at this time.

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