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Extended Audio Sample The Good Terrorist Audiobook, by Doris Lessing Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,186 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Doris Lessing Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2009 ISBN: 9781455175116
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In contemporary London, a loose-knit group of political vagabonds drifts from one cause to the next, picketing and strategizing for hypothetical situations. But within this world, one particular small commune is moving inexorably toward active terrorism.

At its center is Alice Mellings, a brilliant organizer who knows how to cope with almost anything, except the vacuum of her own life. Always reliable, she makes herself indispensable to the commune, earning a precious sense of belonging by denying her own sense of self.

But now, suddenly, the stakes are rising. Some in the group appear to have ties to insurgents in Northern Ireland and even to Soviets who are “recruiting.” A small bomb set off on a deserted street leads to ideas that are dangerously ambitious, and there is a “professional” who is eager to meet with Alice and discuss her future with his organization.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A compulsively readable story…vividly displays the full array of Lessing’s superb gifts as a traditional writer.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Vividly displays the full array of Lessing's superb gifts as a traditional writer.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[Narrator Wanda McCaddon] leads the pack, bringing subtleties and shadings to her interpretations that few can equal.” 

    Whitney Scott

  • “A chilling, strangely compelling story—one that will haunt listeners for quite some time…essential for all literature collections; highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • A 1985 Man Booker Prize Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori Bamber | 2/4/2014

    " Not my favourite of Lessing's books by far, The Good Terrorist is still eminently worth reading. Her descriptions of lost souls finding their way into 'revolutionary' squats and making a life there opened a completely new door for me -- I don't know what I thought the lives of terrorists were like, but every page was a surprise. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dusty | 1/30/2014

    " This I found at a discarded books sale sponsored by the McAllen library. Surprising, considering Lessing had been awarded the Nobel Prize less than a month previous. Librarians sometimes don't know what they have, I guess. Anyway, the book grabbed me instantly. And though the characters made horrible and embarrassing choices throughout, I can't say I ever stopped loving them. The only part I really did not love was the final sentence, which I don't want to reveal (in case you're interested in the novel) but which seems to me too openly judgmental on Lessing's part. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/28/2014

    " Dark and weird, with characters it was often hard to feel sympathetic to, but still compelling. The characters felt believable, and I was fascinated with Alice's ability to read and manipulate people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Irvine | 1/10/2014

    " I found this book utterly compelling and I finished it knowing it would come back to haunt me for a long time. The book is told largely through Alice's eyes and the reader is inevitably drawn to some extent into her deeply flawed view of the world whilst realizing its blinkered and distorted aspects. Parallels between Alice Mellings and Alice in Wonderland are irresistable. However, despite her centrality Alice is only one person in a house full of damaged people, each living in their own fantasy world whilst coping or trying to cope with the harsh world around them. As individuals each character appears as a failed attempt to come to terms with their own demons whilst trying to remake the world into one they can control and understand. However, the group dynamics between the characters - each re-enforcing the others' fantasies - makes a complex and complicated book. The revolutionary pretensions of the characters debunk the far left but the capitalist society in which they operate is also unattractive and harsh. Police brutality, uncaring bureaucracy and bourgeois arrogance are all depicted and the disfunctional residents in the house are all products of this society. Finally, the house in which they live is itself, in one sense, a 'character' in the book. Neglected and uncared for, with sinister dry rot threatening from the loft the house becomes the focus for Alice's attempts to make a comfortable, supportive environment with bowls of nourishing soup dispensed from the large table in the newly renovated kitchen. It is an attractive idyll and as Alice herself states more than once she knows she 'forgets things' as she creates her 'wonderland'. This book will keep giving long after it has been finished. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 1/1/2014

    " Enjoyable. It is what it says it is: a detailed and engrossing window into the mind of a women who ends up being at the center of a house attempting to become an IRA terrorist cell. The value is that there should be more books that de-mystify the mindset and motivations of someone who would want to engineer a public explosion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 12/29/2013

    " Alice, lead character, was well developed by the author. It was hard to put this book down as I was always interested in what would happen next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cicely | 12/28/2013

    " really good, couldn't put it down. Alice is someone you develop a love/hate for; what will happen to this crafy, self-deceptive "revolutionary"? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 vsesorry | 12/18/2013

    " Alice e un personaj interesant. Dar, din pacate, cam atat. E fain cand o carte te face sa-ti pui intrebari. La final m-am intrebat : Ok, what's the point? Ce-ai vrut matale sa zici, de fapt? De asta 3. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam | 12/11/2013

    " I had to read this book in high school english, and remember really loving it, but not really specifics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shira | 12/8/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book, much more than the Golden Notebook. More readable. I found the character simple but interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia | 7/29/2013

    " Doris Lessing is just good. Good at distilling human nature down to an essence that is identifiable and explanatory. Her protagonist, Alice, is so messed up, so mean, and yet lovable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 carina | 4/19/2013

    " At the time I read this book, it was one of my favorites. Not so much for Lessing's impeccable writing, but for the story of the squatters. Very timely in the 1980's. I could relate to it much better than The Golden Notebook, which was getting rave reviews back then. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew Klem | 2/20/2013

    " I felt like I was reading about people I know. Ultimately, I felt like the book ended at the wrong time, and the main climaxes were anti-climactic, but the first 200 pages of this book were excellent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 2/9/2012

    " Read this book through to the end as I generally enjoy books by Doris Lessing, however, Alice drove me to distraction with her obsession with Jasper and her total disregard for her parents. All in all though, well worth reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice | 12/12/2011

    " ...confesso...me lo aveva consigliato l'analista anni fa. Per leggere di questa ragazza che vuole fare tutto per benino, anche essere una terrorista... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 10/19/2011

    " Terrorist activities from another point of view... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Keery | 8/16/2011

    " I hated the protagonist, but was hooked due to that! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 ainsley | 3/20/2011

    " a 400-page character study about a somewhat delusional woman, thought not delusional enough to be all that interesting... If you like character studies, go for it. If you like a book to have a substantial plot, steer clear. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 12/6/2010

    " I picked this off the shelf on a whim, and am glad I read it.

    You know how it is going to end badly, but you cannot help but be caught up in the journey. I liked the well described characters, and got a taste of a world I would never otherwise know. -That is what fiction is for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 11/18/2010

    " I had a bit of a hard time getting into it and felt it was very wordy but by the end, I understood why it was written in that manner and I really enjoyed the multi-layered feel of the book. Additionally, the character study of the main protagonist was fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice | 11/14/2010

    " ...confesso...me lo aveva consigliato l'analista anni fa. Per leggere di questa ragazza che vuole fare tutto per benino, anche essere una terrorista... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 9/28/2010

    " A story of how alienation leads to revolutionaries' contempt for the Establishment. How the need for comfort and control is common to both sides. Most of all, a study of a naive character who sows the seeds of her own destruction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elena | 6/6/2010

    " Astonishing book about a group of revolutionaries squatting in 80's London. Evocative and complex with a fascinating central character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mailin | 6/7/2009

    " Solide Leistung von Frau Lessing, aber es zieht sich ein bisschen bis sie zur Sache kommt. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 6/4/2009

    " Excellent book. It follows, and is told from the POV of, a woman who becomes involved with Communist terrorists in 70s London. It is a very intimate view and the narration offers a number of really good surprises. I highly recommend this book.
    "

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About the Author
Author Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing was born of British parents in Persia in 1919, and moved with her family to Southern Rhodesia when she was five years old. At fifteen she left school and worked in Salisbury. After the break-up of her first marriage she became involved in radical politics. She remarried in 1945, but in 1949 she left for England with her youngest child and from then on supported herself and her son by her writing. She is the author of more than twenty books, including novels, stories, reportage, poems, and plays. Recurring themes in her writing are her concerns with politics, the changing destiny of women, and a fear of technological disaster.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.