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Paperback The Grass Is Singing Book

ISBN: 0060953462

ISBN13: 9780060953461

The Grass Is Singing

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

There is passion here, a piercing accuracy, a rare sensitivity and power. . . . One can only marvel. --New York Times Set in Southern Rhodesia under white rule, Doris Lessing's first novel is at once... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A Conventional, But A Good Novel

As I post this review, I have read three of Lessing's novels from three time periods in her career. This is her first novel. It lacks the strong feminine perspectives, dialogues, analysis, and commentary of her later works. It is an interesting novel set in southern Africa on a small farm. Doris Lessing (1919 - ) is the 2007 Nobel prize winner in literature. She has a score of novels and many other works. Her complex novel The Golden Notebook (1957), the conventional novel The Grass is Singing(1950), and The Summer Before The Dark (1973) are considered to be her representative works. I have read those three. The Golden Notebopok is a long and difficult read, not as bad as Ulysses, but not a simple read. The other two are more ceonventional and much shorter novels, The book jacket on my copy had this note: "Mary Turner, a frustrated white woman, and Dick, he ineffectual farmer-husband, confront Moses, the virile and enigmatic black servant." Having read The Grass is Singing (1950), her very first novel, I found that it is not as described on the book jacket, nothing at all. Actually It is not a romance novel that involves a black man and a white woman. I liked the book. It is a straight-forward novel and she uses a structure similar to a detective novel. In chapter one the crime is revealed to the reader as we might have in a detective novel, and then the author takes us back in time about 10 years and tells the story of the characters up to the time of the crime. Lessing describes the personality of the female protagonist, a farmer's wife, in great detail, but it is a far simpler personality than we see in some of Lessing's other characters - in her works that come later. There is no self discovery by the woman, other than she does not like her husband and her situation. She is mostly just depressed. Without revealing too much about the plot, the story is about a young woman living on an isolated farm in Africa, trapped in a marriage in which she has little control over. What makes the present book a worthwhile read is the setting in Africa. This is a good read and a mostly conventional novel.

Original and striking

Doris Lessing's "The Grass is Singing" opens with the death of Mary Turner. How could Mary's life have ended with such a tragic fate? As the reader progresses through the novel, he discovers Mary's insufferable existence, her life destroyed by a disastrous marriage to a farmer, Dick Turner. Mary is forced to live in a rural environment in South Africa for which she is ill-suited. Furthermore, Mary's relationship with her husband rapidly deteriorates as she realises that Dick is unable to manage the farm successfully and they are constantly on the verge of bankruptcy. A truly superb novel, tragic and moving to the very last line. Mrs Lessing's wonderfully captures Africa's majestic beauty, the difficult relationship between the whites and the Natives. The psychological portrait of her heroine is exceptionally intense.

The Grass Is Singing

I believe the intent of Doris Lessing is not to incite sympathy in readers, but to bring across a poignant tale of human conflicts. Doris Lessing tries to convey the complexity of human emotions, that in reality it is hard to draw the line between right or wrong. I personally feel that The Grass Is Singing is by far the most human novel I have ever read.

Marriage can't get worse than this

When a colonial woman with a not unconventional upbringing who is not the luckiest person, decides to go for broke and marries as she is getting on, what could happen?The anatomy of the master servant bond is one of the main themes of this book. Before welfare systems, all cultures had master servant relationships as the rich employed servants. The master servant relationship was stark in colonial Africa. The masters had to know the natives so that they could get work out of them and a certain amount of loyalty but the masters in Africa also had to keep the natives down, almost like animals, so that they could remain the masters and the servants could remain servants.The natives of course as servants, could also benefit as underdogs as all servants do, being loyal, friendly and pleasing but not above their masters. Mary in the book, starts with preconceptions about her relationship to the Africans, and as things get from bad to worse, she if faced with a mistress servant relationship going horribly wrong.Her husband is a fool, tied to the land and unable to organise his ambitions or get anything out of his farm. She knows better, but luck is never on their side. One actually has a respect for Mary and her penetrative intelligence, but the book describes how this very human intelligence with its stiff attitudes (she marries when she understands people are sniggering about her behind her back, in any case, women at the time did not have much choice in this), breaks down, collapses utterly.Harrowing, hot hot weather with the dry beauty of Africa described by a veteran. This is a book that unravels in your hand and is a literary masterpiece for a first novel.Lessing describes herself as a colonist and is known to be unconventional and vaguely feminist. She displays a keen erudition of the issues, language and sights of her once native Africa - and brings it home.
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