Doris Lessing was born in 1919 in Persia (later became Iran) and died on the 17th November 2013, her writing will be missed but from my reading of her life I suspect some of her family won’t miss her. She was married twice, the second marriage was to Gottfried Lessing in 1945, a marriage that was always meant to end in divorce at a set point. She looked after her first child to her first husband, Frank Wisdom, but then left both children and husband to live elsewhere. She felt there was nothing more boring than being an intelligent woman in charge of children, instead she took up another boring job as a typist.
I studied The Grass is Singing at school and looking back at the content of the book I now feel it was totally wasted on me then. It is about racial inequality in South Africa and shows how it’s possible to change from being racist to being able to ignore the colour of another’s skin and look underneath to the person. There’s a lot more in this book than just the issue of racism and it was all wasted on the young, naive person I was. I’ll be reading it again and wondering about my underlinings a little as I still have the copy of this book from back then.
The other book I have by Lessing I will also read with great interest. From the description on the back of the book it appears to be about feminism and the stereotypes of femininity, an issue which I find fascinating. It’s The Summer Before the Dark and I’m curious to find out what she defines as ‘the Dark’.
Doris Lessing, outspoken winner of many awards will be greatly missed for her writing and her mind. Vale.