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Fiction featuring Care Experience

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The Memoirs of a Survivor

Doris Lessing


The Memoirs of a Survivor is a dystopian novel. A future modern city is falling apart and there are gangs of people trying to survive in the face of food shortages and swarms of rats.

An unnamed narrator—middle-aged, well-educated—is watching this from inside her flat. One day a 12 year old girl, Emily Cartright, is left with her. Where the narrator is considering migrating too, now she feels compelled to stay. As she takes the task of caring for Emily seriously, Emily also provides the opportunity for the narrator to reflect on her own childhood and adolescence. In effect, the narrator comes to mother herself. Aside from Emily, there’s a home for other children in the story, a home where Emily spends considerable time caring for children whose parents have died or abandoned them. Gerald—likely modelled on Roger Diski, Jenny’s one time husband—a young man in his early 20s, has set this up

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