Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing spent her formative years in the former Rhodesia.  Her first novel Grass is Singing, is part of the fruit of that experience.  This is hard story to read; Lessing paints a picture of characters that are so far removed from fulfilling their dreams that the very terms of their lives are distorted and twisted.  There is no love, friendship, or joy.

Added to this is the inevitable problem of race, and the novel takes an even darker turn.  The ending, not revealed here, is a bit of a disappointment; that Moses, the house servant, would commit such an act is a form of reverse racism; the setting of the trap where whites both explore and reject their racism.

But this was Lessing’s first novel, and she needed, it seems, a conventional ending.  From here, she would go on to explore the marvelously plastic form of the novel. 

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