The Sweetest Dream

The Sweetest Dream

Book - 2003
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While Frances Lennox, uncomplaining and unsentimental about her roles as a 1960s earth mother for a string of "screwed up" post-war children, serves up endless nurturing at the crowded kitchen table of a large North London house, her ex- husband pursues revolution on all-expenses-paid trips and conferences. Occasionally he drops by for free meals or to dump one of the children, or wives, of another failed marriage on Frances's doorstep. Lessing is able to turn a dispassionate eye on the economics of free love, in which women usually pay. From swinging-'60s London to liberated sub-Saharan Africa, the author depicts the human faces of a broad canvas of issues in this polemical piece. The novel ranges from anorexia to AIDS to casting a questioning eye at the morality of the travelers on the World Bank gravy train. Moving from London to the tragic landscape of post-independence "Zimlia" (a thinly veiled Zimbabwe), Lessing documents the social movement and lost dreams of a post-war generation, for whom "it is always The Dream that counts.
Publisher: New York : Perennial, 2003, ©2002.
Edition: 1st Perennial ed.
ISBN: 9780060937553
Characteristics: 479 pages ; 21 cm


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May 07, 2015

We meet a family in London in the 1960's and follow them through to the end of the century. This was a time of great change and as I read I wondered how can Francis Lennox be like she is? so accepting and calm when all these children, some hers and some not, come and go in her home and expect the system that they are railing against to just support them without giving anything back. We see them loll around, shoplift, party and then show up at the dinner table ready to be fed and watered. Life goes on and we are introduced to them as middle-aged adults and find that the legacy of entitlement has been visited upon Africa where the effects are staggering. I found this a compelling read even though I was angry through much of it.


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