This is the last in the five-volume series of autobiographical novels called "The Children of Violence," which trace the life story of Martha Quest. The first four books portray Martha's youth and young womanhood among the English settlers in colonial, racially divided British Rhodesia. In this book, Martha leaves Africa and is living in postwar London, a bombed-out city where the walls of buildings are not the only boundaries that have come down. The line between good and evil was much clearer under the African sun; here Martha enters a world where such distinctions are lost at a dizzying pace. Her friend Lynda undergoes a personal breakdown, prefiguring Martha's own dissolution. Lessing's genius is to see that this time of social fragmentation and personal disorder can be welcomed as the prelude to a spiritual rebirth. This book moves from politics toward spirituality and reflects Lessing's honesty and concern.

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