An incoherent man is found wandering the streets of London, at the start of Doris Lessing’s brilliant and disturbing novel about madness and release.

Lessing imagines the fantastical ‘inner-space’ life of an amnesiac, Charles Watkins. A Professor of Classics at Cambridge University, he has suffered a breakdown, confined to a mental hospital as his friends and doctors attempt to bring him back to reality. But Watkins has embarked on a tremendous psychological adventure that takes him from a spinning raft in the Atlantic to a ruined stone city on a tropical island to an outer-space journey through singing planets. As he travels in his mind through memory and the farther reaches of imagination, his doctors try to subdue him with ever more powerful drugs in a competition for his soul. In this provocative novel, Lessing takes us on a harrowing voyage into the rarely glimpsed territory of the inner mind.

The Booker Prize 1971
Published by
Jonathan Cape
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Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing

About the Author

Doris Lessing is widely considered one of the most important writers of the second half of the 20th-century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007.
More about Doris Lessing

Other nominated books by Doris Lessing

The Good Terrorist
The Sirian Experiments