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Les Grand-mères

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  519 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Sur la terrasse d'un café dominant la baie de Baxter's Teeth, deux familles, qui semblent n'en former qu'une, se prélassent au soleil. Roz et Lil, les grand-mères, restées belles, entourées de Tom et Ian, leurs fils, et de leurs petites-filles, semblent filer le parfait bonheur. Depuis toujours, Roz et Lil sont aussi inséparables que des sœurs jumelles, et l'affection qu'e ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published August 17th 2005 by Flammarion (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,033)
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May 11, 2014 Brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I imagine that if a reader's first Vonnegut was Galapagos they might wonder what all the fuss was about - so Proustitute's warning about this being a lesser Lessing, as well as many trusted GR friends' accolades of her other works, I'm fully prepared to say I just got unlucky on choosing this novella (republished as a one-off, as I learned from Prou that this is one of the four novellas from The Grandmothers) as my DL starter.

The characters, the idea for the story, the dialogue and pacing - not
It's funny how I so often end up unintentionally reading books with the same theme. I recently finished Zoë Heller's What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal], which also centres around inappropriate relationships between older women and young men. And then I picked this story up because it's been made into an Australian film, and I try to read the original before seeing the movie. Having read this and Notes, I think this is the better work.

The story (it's labelled a novella, but it's really a
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Roz and Lil have been best friends since their parents moved to the same neighborhood when they were children. They went to college together, dated together, got married in a double wedding ceremony, bought houses across the street from each other and had their sons at the same time. Now they are in their 30s, each with a teenage son and find themselves single (albeit for different reasons). The beauty of their respective sons first fi
Oct 07, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love Doris Lessing. I love Doris Lessing. I have only read two of her works (this and Fifth Child), but she is so amazingly and beautifully fucked up that I simply need more.

I have requested the movie version (because I also adore Naomi Watts) from the library and am looking forward to seeing this onscreen.

This book is revolting. 100% completely disgusting. As a mother of a 13 year old boy (and a 38 year old woman), I am completely and totally against the self serving nature of these spoiled
Courtney Hurley
I wish there were a rating somewhere between "it was ok" and "I liked it."

Having never previously read this author, I was captivated by the writing; poetic and really beautifully descriptive, without being tiresome. I don't usually read short stories, but the unique plot caught my eye, and I ended up reading the entire book in less than a couple hours, before even leaving the bookstore. The storyline progresses at a pretty rapid pace. Maybe something plot-wise (which I can't quite put my finger
Mar 17, 2016 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, bingo-2016
Grands-mères, de Doris Lessing, est un très court roman (ou une grosse nouvelle) qui se déroule en Australie. On y suit sur plusieurs décennies la relation fusionnelle entre deux femmes, devenues mères puis grand-mères, chacune prenant pour amant le fils de l'autre. Une histoire incestueuse très troublante, écrite avec beaucoup de pudeur par une écrivaine qui fut prix Nobel de littérature. Ce livre a été adapté au cinéma il y a quelques années par la française Anne Fontaine, qui a tourné, dans u ...more
Oct 02, 2013 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A- Quick read - read it in a night. This novella is the powerful story about how two women - best friends - fall in love with each other's sons. Excellent writing, and a page turner.
I bought this when I was in Berlin, and I didn't have access to an English language bookstore. I purchased it to read on my iPad for two reasons: 1) it was cheap an 2) it was by an author whom I respect greatly. The story deals with three (probably four, once it comes to the grandchildren) sets of inseparable people: Lil and Rose are best friends, their sons becomes best friends, the sons' wives become best friends, and the children probably are best friends. The relationships that seem natural ...more
Nov 18, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspired by reading her obituary and other tributes yesterday, I went to a bookstore to see if I could pick up a book of hers to read on my flight home last night. Looks like this was originally in a collection of stories, but had been republished as a stand-alone book because someone has made it into a movie (which I only realized when I got on the plane and took a closer look at the book). Any description of the story would be a spoiler, so all I will say is that it was a good read, and whets ...more
Jan 05, 2015 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: generalfiction
I don't even know what to think of this novella. At turns quite disturbing, yet somewhat emotionally intriguing, I just can't seem to decide if I liked it or not. It's so hard to really feel empathy for the characters, yet there's something so sad about each of them.

Side note: in my ebook version, Doris Lessing's Nobel speech was included at the end of the book. And I looooved it.
Maggie Hart
I need to admit that this book disappoint me. I've seen the movie and I was dying to read a book. Unfortunately this is a rare occasion where the movie is actually a lot better than the book. The movie had a lot more details that a short novella.
Dec 28, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing you should note is that although the book is 112 pages long the novella makes up only about half of that so less Lessing for your money than you were probably bargaining for. The story has been printed before along with three others as The Grandmothers and will no doubt be better value for money. I knew going into this that this wasn’t regarded as a major work but one would hope that even a minor work by a Nobel Prize winner would be worth a read and this most certainly was. I wa ...more
This novella in no way lived up to the film. I first saw the film on Netflix and then immediately went and downloaded the novella, which is only $1.99. Do i regret spending that $1.99, yes i do. I'm so bummed about how choppy and fast the story line was that i could only concentrate on the beauty of the movie. I will (normally) never say that a movie is better than the book but in this case i would say that's the case.


-The novella was written in a choppy manner. I understand that this
The premise for this novella was interesting: two women who have been best friends since the age of five become attracted to each other's sons and end up in sexual relationships with them from the age of seventeen until their early thirties.

I liked the book. It moved along at a fast pace and certainly kept my interest. However, the characters lacked depth and I didn't feel any emotion for them. This was probably due to the fact that it was a 70-page novella, but that only makes me feel like Less
Apr 04, 2016 Astrid rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
C'est bien la première fois que je préfère une adaptation cinématographique au livre originel ( Perfect Mothers d'Anne Fontaine).
L'écriture, le vocabulaire employés dans ce roman m'ont vraiment dérangé ( peut être est ce un problème de traduction ?).

Dans le film, la question de cette relation quasi incestueuse était intéressante : cela avait beau être moralement condamnable, je ne pouvais pas m'empêcher d'y adhérer, les personnages étant très attachants.

Ici j'ai trouvé le rythme plat et le tra
Nov 18, 2013 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read something in memory of this absolutely brilliant writer - as always Lessing turns the world completely upside down as she tells the tale of social transgression as two middle women take each others teenage son's as lovers - amazing!
Dec 29, 2013 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bizarre little thing--either a novella or a short story--and dazzling in its suspension of reality. The sedate, Edenic setting was especially alluring during the noisy holidays. I hesitated in recommending it to my mother:)
Davida Chazan
Two women and their two sons end up in convoluted relationships in Doris Lessing's novella of deception and devotion. Read my review of this fascinating story here.
Jan 09, 2014 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally picked this up off of a 'books to movies' display at work and found myself intrigued with the synopsis. The plot itself is odd and a bit strange enough to capture initial attention, and the first 10 or so page solidified my interest enough to finish the book. Granted, it's only about 70 odd pages, so it was a very quick read. The writing is gorgeous and gave me a very "beach" vibe while reading it. Amazing for such detail and setting development in such a small amount of text, but w ...more
Dec 17, 2014 Maureen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yes, I admit, I saw the movie and wanted to read the book next, or the novella in this case. I had never even heard of it before and would have thought that I would read On Cats from Lessing before anything else. This isn't even the right edition, so it messes up my page count (that one had four stories and I am not interested in them at the moment). Oh, well...

So I liked the story, hardly a surprise there, considering that I already knew what was going to happen. It had weird, even a bit distur
"Two friends, two sons, two shocking and intense love affairs..."

When I saw this in the library, the first thing that grabbed my attention was "Winner of the Novel Prize for Literature." I have no previous experience with Doris Lessing's work and, in fact, had never heard of her upon seeing this book. But, winner of the Nobel Prize? Had to be good, right?

First of all, I finished this book about 18 hours ago and wanted to think about it, re-read parts of it, sleep on it, before writing my review.
Oct 25, 2013 Albert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Adore is a small novella, just at seventy pages long, that is full of potential and delivers on none. The concept for the story would have made for a powerfully emotional novel or at the least an exciting short erotic/taboo story. But it is neither of these.

Adore follows two friends, Roz and Lil, as they marry, divorce and have sons. After their divorces they begin to have affairs with each others sons. They are all aware of it. They even carry on as if they were normal couples. The sons having
Oct 13, 2013 Kasia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2016 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started and finished this one in one sitting. Although there wasn't much depth to the characters emotions or much detail around the intimacy of their relationship, I was pulled in to their lifestyle. I could feel the sun, the salt from the sea, and the lazy blissful life they all lead together. I watched the movie later that day and had so much fun comparing the two. A daring subject but something that certainly made me think.
Feb 20, 2016 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Grosse déception. Ni la plume (maladroite), ni la narration (bâclée) ne sauve cette histoire peu banale, qui aurait pu être un chef d'oeuvre du genre. Rien de sulfureux dans ce court roman, qui élude les enjeux de l'intrigue, et se complaît dans la description des corps beaux et bronzés des différents protagonistes, sans fouiller la complexité de cet entrelacs de relation au goût de souffre. Sitôt lu, sitôt oublié.
Marisa (The Daily Dosage)
I was curious about this thin little novella at my library and have always wanted to read something by Doris Lessing.

Not a happy, jovial read since it covers some heavier topics up for debate and yet I wanted to see how the movie compared.


To continue reading the review please visit:
Francene Carroll
Sep 28, 2015 Francene Carroll rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't going to write a review of this book because I didn't plan to finish it, but when I realised it was too late to get my money back I thought maybe I could save someone else from making the same mistake.

The most offensive thing about this book is the writing. It's simplistic and bland. The characters are cardboard cutouts and there's no psychological realism to be found within its pages. The decision by the two women to engage in what amounts to sexual abuse of boys they have known and n
Aug 26, 2014 Liadra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
To say that I was disappointed by this novella would be accurate. I have fond memories of reading "The Fifth Child" and confess that I was expecting something on par with that in quality of writing. Instead I found Adore rather choppy and almost abrupt. There seemed too much unsaid at times, and too much said at others. It's a very interesting premise for a book, and one I had hoped to enjoy more. Ah well, I have read worse, and expect that I will again.
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Both of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Oliv ...more
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