"You are young, and then you are middle-aged, but it is hard to tell the moment of passage from one state to the next. Then you are old, but you hardly know when it happened." Thus Lessing opens her novel, announcing that her character, Kate Brown will be the exception. Lessing has created a character who bridges the midlife transition in a single summer, from typical upper-middle-class British housewifery to corporate executive to older-woman-younger-man romance to denouncing the hair color that masks her age. By the end of Kate's summer, she is not entirely certain who she is, but quite clear who she is not. Lessing is recognized as one of the important writers in the English language, and the body of literature on midlife women is enriched by her genius and wisdom.