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The Grandmothers

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  2,070 Ratings  ·  266 Reviews
With the four short novels in this collection, Doris Lessing once again proves that she is unequalled in her ability to capture the truth of the human condition.The title story, 'The Grandmothers', is an astonishing tour de force, a shockingly intimate portrait of an unconventional extended family and the lengths to which they will go to find happiness and love. Written wi ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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Jan 28, 2015 Dolors rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The beaten yet not defeated
Recommended to Dolors by: Deea
Shelves: read-in-2015
Only the mind of a genius has the capacity to write with the precision, lucidity and provocation displayed in this collection with 85 years of age. Yes, you read that right. Doris Lessing was 85 years old when she penned the four stories that compose this collection. Stories which are dissimilar in length and setting, characters and writing techniques, shifting viewpoint narrators and, believe it or not, genres. Even though the common thread that links these four pieces together appears elusive ...more
Apr 20, 2017 Vaso rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readathon-17
Δεν έτυχε να διαβάσω άλλη φορά κάποιο από τα βιβλία της Λέσινγκ και χαίρομαι που το έκανα τώρα. Αυτό το βιβλίο έχει 4 μικρες, αυτοτελής ιστορίες. Οι δύο πρώτες είναι απλές, καλογραμμενες. Η τρίτη μιλά για τη δημιουργία ενός κόσμου, μιας κοινωνίας, την άνοδο και τον ξεπεσμό της λόγω κακής διακυβέρνησης. Στην τελευταία βλέπουμε έναν νεαρό που γίνεται στρατιώτης στον πόλεμο, και κατά τη διάρκεια του ταξιδιού που τον στέλνει στην Ινδία, γνωρίζει τον έρωτα.

3,5 αστέρια
Jan 12, 2017 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The problem with female friends is that you always run the risk of your sons fucking them, Doris Lessing points out. Adore, originally published as The Grandmothers in a 2003 collection of novellas, is about one of those all-too-frequent occurrences: two lifelong friends have affairs with each other's sons.

It's good: I liked reading it and it's got things to say about female friendship and sortof the dangers of mothers in general. I read it as sortof a corrective to the old, boring story about
Jun 19, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it
The Grandmothers by Doris Lessing is not, as the dust jacket copy states, a collection of "four short novels." It's a bound volume containing three long short stories and a concluding novella, "A Love Child." And with one exception, it's very, very good.

The opening story, "The Grandmothers," is a mischievous but persuasive piece of wickedness in which two close friends end up being the lovers of each other's sons. There's a cosy quality to this pseudo-Oedipal tale that envelops the sons totally.
Maria Ivona
Oct 05, 2013 Maria Ivona rated it really liked it
Shelves: saw-the-movie
I recently watched the movie adaptation of The Grandmothers. The film is entitled Adore, starring Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, James Frecheville and Xavier Samuel. I thought that the story is really something! It's disturbing and provocative... and although I feel like it's too absurd to be true, the plot is somewhat convincing/awakening. It makes you realize that although love can be in various forms...most of the time, we can only express love in a way that is acceptable to the society. I also d ...more
May 06, 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
Apr 12, 2015 Joey rated it really liked it
Shelves: fictions
Since Goodreads, the world’s largest book club site , honed my appetite for reading books, particularly gave me the ideas of what books I should read, I have been updated with the famous and acclaimed literary writers , not only with the classic but also with the contemporary writers-I have the list of 1001 Best Novels of All Time as well as the magazine, TIME’s 100 Best Novels since 1925, and now I want to include the Most Banned Books- I tend to be getting more familiar with the authors ‘ name ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Jun 02, 2008 Laila (BigReadingLife) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kelly, Elizabeth
I can't remember what made me pick this book up, but I'm glad I did. It consists of four novellas, not linked together in any way. The first one (The Grandmothers) was my favorite. Lessing has a real knack for exploring the complexity of the human heart and I was intensely interested in these flawed and sympathetic characters. The one story that didn't work for me was the third one. I appreciated it intellectually but I couldn't emotionally connect. It was set in an ancient community where the w ...more
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
Nov 03, 2015 Irina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books-read
The Grandmothers, editado em Portugal como As Avós dá o título a um conjunto de quatro estórias (short novels) de Doris Lessing.

Das quatro estórias, curiosamente as que mais gostei foram as menos louvadas pela critica: The Grandmothers e A Love Child.

Victoria and the Staveneys aborda as relacoes interraciais e diferenças de classe na Inglaterra. The Reason Why é um conto distópico futurista que me disse muito pouco ou não percebi muito.

A Love Child é sobre James, um soldado do império britanico
We used to run book auctions and one day a man left a bid on a volume of Doris Lessing's autobiography. Before the auction started, he called to retract it. He'd found out something about her in the meantime and decided she was so awful he would never read the book.

I must say, the title story of this book does nothing to soften that impression. The characters are ghastly, the writing style matches. Somehow it does not reflect well upon the author.

This is the first Lessing I have tried and I susp
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
Le nonne – Victoria e gli Staveney – Il figlio dell’amore
Tre racconti, di cui l’ultimo, Il figlio dell’amore, risulta il più completo, il più intenso, il più articolato. I primi due non mi hanno entusiasmato: mi sembrava spesso che i pensieri rimanessero in superficie e le azioni incompiute. Come fossero degli abbozzi rimasti tali (per fretta, incuria, stanchezza, pigrizia…??).
La Lessing, scrittrice oggi ultranovantenne, si è cimentata in ogni genere letterario ed è stata molto prolifica. Questi

All the reviews on Doris Lessing’s The Grandmothers I’ve read claim that the book is oddly uneven, with two brilliant and two poor stories. All of them put A love child on top, followed by Victoria and the Staveneys and they generally agree that The Grandmothers and The Reason of It are the worst.

Well, I beg to differ. As usual, Doris Lessing is a master of the literary techniques and the unity of The Grandmothers is realized by subtle but strong links between themes, motives, narrative perspec
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
Feb 13, 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 27, 2013 kaire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
أحيانا ً يراودني شعور أن شراء بطيخه أفضل من شراء بعض الكتب
Sep 30, 2011 Bastet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Lo primero que me ha llamado la atención de esta recopilación de cuentos es la riqueza de registros de la que hace gala Doris Lessing, lo que demuestra que tiene cosas que contar y no se ciñe a un mismo tema del que da diferentes versiones.

Desde que terminé el relato que da título al volumen Las abuelas, no dejo de darle vueltas. Los silencios cerriles, esas miradas que son como radiografías, importan tanto o más que las palabras. Doris Lessing maneja estupendamente ese recurso. En Las abuelas,
Jan 19, 2014 Cathy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book by Doris Lessing, The Grandmothers, actually consists of four novellas. The first, The Grandmothers, is about two close friends who fall in love with each other's teenage sons. The love affairs actually last for many years until one of the women, Roz, decides it's time to put a stop to them. She believes the sons should get married, have children and move on with their lives. The women take on the role of respectable grandmothers until Tom's wife discovers letters between the lovers; s ...more
Anarchic Rain
Racconti inconclusi. Quello che dà il titolo alla raccolta lo conoscevo un po' per via del film (che non è alla sua altezza, ma va'?) e devo dire che ho preferito di gran lunga la versione scritta, sia perché è un tipo fi scrittura che a me piace (un po' fredda), sia perché l'ho trovato molto più realistico nel finale.
La storia della ragazza di colore mi è piaciuta più di tutti, Victoria mi è sembrata da ammirare per tutto quello che ha fatto nella vita. Vivere con un singolo sogno non è facile
Dec 27, 2016 Yami rated it did not like it
This was a very quick-read. A very bizarre one, too. It all starts with a peaceful and heavenly setting and you just don't feel it slipping to reveal a creepy-weird-dark-secret . It's the story of two women who are linked by the bonds of a never-seen-before friendship and their sons. They are very beautiful people and I can't think of anymore to say because I'm going to spoil. Anyway, after a few pages describing how they all hang out together by the beach with their young, cute grand-daughters ...more
Maria Beltrami
Tre lunghi racconti sull'amore. Un amore che parte normale, quasi banale, e finisce in una sorta di perversione ancora più sconvolgente proprio perché ammantata di normalità.
Dei tre racconti quello più intenso è il terzo "Il figlio dell'amore", che è quasi un romanzo a se stante nel suo sviluppo, e che termina in maniera assolutamente agghiacciante.
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 haven’t read many of Doris Lessing’s books for the simple reason that one can’t read everything. There are just far too many good books out there. I did like the “Lessing novels” I did read, though, especially The Grass Is Singing, and I’ve had The Grandmothers on my bookshelf for several years now, just waiting to be read.

Though Lessing was already well into her eighties when she wrote the four novellas (some call them short stories, but I call them novellas) that comprise The Grandmothers, t
A solid 3.5.

Interesting writing style. It was almost like a quiet pensive person having a go at retelling the events from a distant almost hazy memory. It was filled with afterthoughts and clarifications in one sentence. Everything was s l o w. Much more stylized than regular colloquial speech.


I picked this up because I saw the movie a few months ago. And I've been trying to find something to pass the time during my long bus rides, and this was still in my library after only dnf-ing it
Moises Sheinberg
Jan 22, 2013 Moises Sheinberg rated it really liked it
Las abuelas es uno de los últimos libros que ha escrito la inglesa (aunque nacida en Persia) Doris Lessing, premio Nóbel de literatura 2007.
El libro está compuesto por cuatro nouvelles o novelas cortas que representan en buena parte todos los aspectos de la literatura de Lessing.
La primera historia “Las abuelas” comienza de una forma un poco confusa cuando una mesera ve a una familia sentada en la playa: Dos mujeres mayores, dos hombres jóvenes y dos niñas aparentemente felices. De repente llega
Amedine Amedine
Dec 27, 2014 Amedine Amedine rated it liked it
Shelves: doris-lessing
The Grandmothers

Four different stories from the Nobel Prize winner!


1st/Grandmothers: 4/5

There is a movie based on this novella titled "Two mothers" starring Naomi Watts, Robin Wright and Xavier Samuel...

A tale about two best friends that grew up together and lived near each other.. became wives.. had two beautiful children.. One of them got divorced and the other lost her Husband.. the events blossom in an unusual dramatic way.. where the son of each grandmother falls for the best friend of his
Lukasz Pruski
"Two little girls arrived at the big school on the same day, at the same hour, took each other's measure, and became best friends."

Another book with symmetry in human lives as the main motif that I have read within the last five weeks. While in Martin Amis' Success (reviewed here) the life trajectories of two protagonists' move simultaneously in opposite directions on the success-failure axis, Doris Lessing's short novella Adore (2003) is built around almost complete symmetry of relationships be
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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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“She thought secretly that there is no more dangerous item in the world than a pretty young woman on the loose. Luckily, the older woman thought, when we are girls we don’t know that we are like sticks of dynamite or like fireworks in a box too close to a fire.” 3 likes
“Tempus fugit. See fugitib nii, et vähe pole.” 0 likes
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