Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing

A while ago I read The Golden Notebook. A complex book full to the brim of women, about which I know a fair amount, and communism, about which I know nothing. I am going to read it again this year in the hope that I will understand more of the women's liberation and communism sections. The book left a large, if slightly hazy, impression on me and I recommend it highly.

I met Doris Lessing once. And when I say met, I mean I stood next to her at the sink in the toilets of SOAS feeling awful that I should be the spotty, awkward teenager that I was next to this great personage who has since won the Nobel Prize for literature. I think my father introduced me to her, though I doubt she barely focused her eyes on me, the nonentity that I was.

At that time I had only read The Fifth Child, about a couple who spawn a terrible son that wrecks their lives, although I had garnered a deep respect for Lessing due to her involvement in Sufism in the West under Idries Shah. I have since read more of Lessing's work, and I come back again and again to her short stories in particular.

Here is Lessing reacting to winning the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. She is told the news by waiting journalists and photographers as she gets home from shopping with her son, who is holding a tasty looking artichoke.

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