"Doris Lessing is one of the most influential women writers of our time. Both in her personal life and her literature, Lessing broke the rules. Born in Persia to a critical mother and a father who was shell-shocked during the First World War, she was brought up in Rhodesia. Marrying and divorcing two husbands, she moved to Britain with little more than an unpublished novel in her suitcase and one of her children. An ardent Communist before and during the Second World War - when she was married to a German - she distanced herself long before Communism's attraction faded for others. Always prolific, Lessing has continued to explore uncharted territory with her series of science fiction novels, further unsettling the literary world when her work was famously submitted under a pseudonym." "Much of Lessing's work is autobiographical, but the facts are scattered or at times disguised. Eight years in the making, this biography provides both a critical analysis of the work and reveals for the first time the woman behind the writer's formidable persona."--BOOK JACKET.