The fifth and final book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner’s ‘Children of Violence’ series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain.
‘The Four-Gated City’ finds Martha Quest in 1950s London and very much part of the social history of the time: the Cold War, the anti-nuclear Aldermaston Marches, Swinging London, the deepening of poverty and social anarchy. Daring to go a step further – as Lessing so often has in her career – the novel ends with the century in the throes of World War Three.
In the four previous novels of the ‘Children of Violence’ series, Lessing explored the end of an epoch. Here she trains her gaze on the present – and the future. The disquieting power of her vision revealed across this series finds its culmination in this brave and visionary work.
‘I read the “Children of Violence” novels and began to understand how a person could write about the problems of the world in a compelling and beautiful way. And it seemed to me that was the most important thing I could ever do.’ Barbara Kingsolver
‘The “Children of Violence” series gives an astounding compression of a total, coherent vision, as if Doris Lessing knew all along where it would end.’ The Times