Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Golden Notebook (by Doris Lessing)

Hmm. This novel is structurally impressive, and from what I gather, a seminal work in feminist literature. I was happy I'd read it. HOWEVER. To me, the characters do not feel real. It reminded me of D.H. Lawrence or Ayn Rand, who often write characters that I think are clearly there to espouse a philosophy or serve as a type, and who do not react or behave in, to me, a believable way.

There is also a whole hell of a lot of stuff about communist sympathizers in Britain, which apparently interested Lessing a great deal, but does not really interest me. (I would rather read Ian's copy of Young Stalin when he's done with it.) However, her definition of the successful novel does interest me, and stuck with me, and so I've quoted it below for posterity.

Most novels, if they are successful at all, are original in the sense that they report the existence of an area of society, a type of person, not yet admitted to the general literate consciousness. (p. 61)

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