The Good Terrorist

Introduction

The Good Terrorist is a 1985 political novel by Nobel Prize in Literature-winner Doris Lessing. It was first published in the United Kingdom in January 1985 by Jonathan Cape, and in the United States in September 1985 by Alfred A. Knopf. The story examines events in the life of Alice, a naïve and well-intentioned squatter, who moves in with a group of radicals in London, and is drawn into their terrorist activities.

Lessing was inspired to write the book by the 1983 Harrods bombing in London by the IRA. She had been a member of the British Communist Party in the early 1950s, but later grew disillusioned with communism. Several commentators have labelled The Good Terrorist a satire, while Lessing called it "quite a funny book".[1] Some critics have called the novel's title an oxymoron, stating that it highlights Alice's ambivalent nature, and that she is not a good person, nor a good revolutionary.

The Good Terrorist divided critics. Some reviewers were impressed by the book's insight and characterization, while others complained about the novel's style and the character's lack of depth. The Good Terrorist was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and won the Mondello Prize and the WH Smith Literary Award.


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