The Golden Notebook
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date:
- 18 June 2007
- Modern & Contemporary
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Lessing addresses women's lives as they were engaged in the larger world, with one another and with the process of writing. She does not claim it as a feminist treatise, but I understand why it was hailed so at first publication. It was fresh. One couldn't put her hands on many political novels that honored the lives and relations of women. Lessing was pioneering and relevant and remains so. I secretly thanked her for writing this book when I saw her in 2004 and got the distinct impression that she wondered what all the fuss was still about.
An incredible book -- a book that should have earned her the Nobel Prize in Literature long before now when she was finally awarded the prize.
My wife was unsure about this because 'the author is too obviously a communist'. My reading of this brilliant novel is quite different. Yes of course only someone with direct experience could write from such an insider perspective, but the perspective of the novel is deeply sceptical about communism as indeed about many other things. Don't read if you don't like women (or wimmin); but otherwise don't miss it!
A breath-taking, overwhelming, everlastingly signficant and important portrait of 'free and independent' women's struggles - however, it would be against Lessing's wish to simplify it as a feminist pioneering book so we want to be careful about it. It is a book written by an author who couldn't help with her front-line left-wing, intellectual, and cold-war upbringing who indulged all of this into this too clever, thorough, highly analytical and intellectual book. I found myself wanting to highlight almost every sentence Lessing produced - reading it is also a most self-indulgent experience!
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