Sarah had lost her husband in her late thirties. She had to raise her two kids by herself, so she had always been too busy to date men.
We are then invited into the intimate territory of Sarah’s thoughts, fantasies and emotions.
While I read this novel I came across many interesting revelations about society, and I found myself saying, "Finally somebody dares to assert what I have been observing and thinking for many years".
After she falls in love, Sarah Durham is caught up in a swamp of grief. She yearns for her lost youth and falls into the prejudice of thinking that she will never be cherished and desired the way she had been when she was young. For many years she had been too occupied with life responsibilities to be bothered with the physical changes that had been happening over time. We witness the stages of her grief.
Now she also examines her life under a new light of introspection. Her quest for love leads her to ponder over her relationship with her brother, mother, father. She is also flooded with memories of past lovers.
Sarah and Stephen are fond of each other. They miss each other, but their friendship is crippled by misunderstandings, fears and doubts. The fact that Sarah is a woman and Stephen is a man plays a role in the dynamics of their communication. Yet their sincerity had brought them together. I have never come across a writer who deals with these matters so openly.
It is clear to me that Doris Lessing had more faith in the arts than in the act of falling in love.
Doris Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 2008 The Times ranked her fifth on a list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In 2001 she was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in British literature.