It's the dawn of the sixties and it's suppertime at Freedom Hall, the most convivial household in north London. Frances Lennox is at her stove, ladling out a feast to the youthful crew assembled around her hospitable table. Here are her two sons, still trying to rebel against their upbringing but beginning to absorb their mother's lessons. Around them are ranged schoolfriends, girlfriends, ex-friends and new friends fresh off the street. The feast begins. Wine and talk flow. Everything is being changed and challenged here in this kitchen.
These are the people who dreamt the Sixties into being - the same ones who after all that dreaming, woke to find they had to clear up the debris it left behind.
No novelist is in a better position than Doris Lessing to meditate on the world in that eventful decade. And perhaps no one else has better expressed the difference between the male and female experience of the sixties than she has done so brilliantly in 'The Sweetest Dream'.