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It is the storyteller, the dream maker, the myth maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative Maybe 50 or 100 pages into the novel, I knew and felt it as a physical sensation, a shiver going down my spine that Doris Lessing had written the perfect description of the compartmentalised psyche of the modern world The myth of my times I don t share each political view she demonstrated in the red notebook, but I can certainly see myself writing a political diary that is forcibly separated from other notebooks, depicting my emotional or intellectual or casual everyday worries My approach to emotional matters and to education and literature may also be of a different kind, and my everyday life is clearly different from the 1950s London that serves as a backdrop for The Golden Notebook But it doesn t matter, I still recognise the golden thread leading through all those different, confusing strands of life that are carefully cut off from each other by the writer s abstract intellectual power.My golden notebook would probably look like a rainbow, mixing up various notes that belong to two or three books at the same time, making a big mess of emotions, intellectual and political challenges It would show my helpless attempts at writing down the chaos that invades my life each day I would need notebooks for teaching, for parenting, for art, for Modern life is rich, complicated, and full of confusing information.But it doesn t really matter that the details of my imaginary notebooks would be different from the major story lines in Lessing s masterpiece When I read this novel, I felt for the first time that someone had been brave enough to dare to open up the compartments of complicated, contradictory thoughts and feelings, that someone dared to ask the questions that others ignored because the answers were either too painful and depressing or simply too nonsensical Pandora s box ripped wide open, and one question mark after the other pouring out, leaving hope for an answer lonely at the bottom The question of race The question of entitlement The question of gender The question of sexuality The question of power The question of indoctrination The question of dissidence The question of love The question of submission The question of community.The question of solitude The question of responsibility The question of freedom The question of slavery The question of humankind divided into different compartments that consistently meet, fight, attract, and eat each other Ten years ago, Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the argument was that she was that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny That sentence, including the female experience , made me angry What is wrong with a world that needs to define her writing as that of female experience , when men writing about their personal perspective speak for humanity Why not award to use a random example Coetzee s presumably male experience , as shown in his outrageously misogynistic meditations on male Youth Men, apparently, still have universal experience while women have female experience In my perception, Lessing wrote as much about male as about female experience, and she spoke of the challenges women and men face in the world Just like Coetzee She is a writer of human experience , I hope, for I wouldn t want to believe only one half of humanity is capable of conducting four diaries simultaneously and of combining them to the golden notebook of their existence Weaving by day, unweaving by night, thus we carry on until the end, whether our shroud is finished or not Men and women, with their individual and collective experience.Lessing is a must read for men and women who are interested in finding the various facets of their emotional and intellectual patterns The Golden Notebook is her masterpiece, a classic, an odyssey told by a modern woman instead of an ancient man And just like the ancient epic, it speaks to all of us who love and cherish storytelling as a means to combine the different threads of our lives to a meaningful rainbow pattern.
(((Read Epub))) ⇮ The Golden Notebook ☝ Anna Is A Writer, Author Of One Very Successful Novel, Who Now Keeps Four Notebooks In One, With A Black Cover, She Reviews The African Experience Of Her Earlier Year In A Red One She Records Her Political Life, Her Disillusionment With Communism In A Yellow One She Writes A Novel In Which The Heroine Relives Part Of Her Own Experience And In The Blue One She Keeps A Personal Diary Finally, In Love With An American Writer And Threatened With Insanity, Anna Tries To Bring The Threads Of All Four Books Together In A Golden Notebook Given up because although it was well written and the characters developed well early on, I just have no interest at all in the upper middle class who have angst and money instead of housework and jobs They pontificated about sex and politics and other people s affairs when the rest of the country were out working and thinking of who was cooking dinner that night and whether or not tuppence on the tax each week was going to make school trips a bit difficult Just not what I want to read about right now.Two stars because generally I really like Lessing and I love her writing. I am full of a deep, manic relief at being released from the reading of this book I feel the need to skip, to jump joyfully into the air, to cry out to the worldI did it I did it And I never have to do it again A few years ago I read Doris Lessing s debut novel The Grass is Singing, which I adored It doesn t necessarily mean that I should therefore adore this, her much lauded, much revered, feminist but don t let her hear you call it that 1962 masterpiece But I did hope The thing is, they are both two radically different animals The Grass is Singing is a novel a great one The Golden Notebook is something completely different altogether I might say it s a test of one s endurance It definitely tested mine.I didn t get off to a good start The first part which lasts 230 small typed pages was SO dry So dry I started to feel panicky, the way I feel when I ve been very thirsty for far too long and I start to doubt I will ever see water again And then someone hands me a glass of CINNAMON to gulp down That s how dry I thought, I just might die reading these pages But I chastised myself and told myself to give it a fair chance Robin, this is Doris Lessing, for goodness sake, she s so ridiculously smart she s terrifying, and you could learn a thing or two from her Plus you ve got two male friends here on Goodreads who seem to have gotten her Glenn s review and Alex s review , so why the hell can t you So I started part two with renewed vigour, and damn, I was hooked, I was IN, my little grey cells were tingling, the book moved with me through my day I was interested in the notebooks, in the search for self, in the struggle men and women have with each other I loved the character of Anna who lives freely has sex with whomever she pleases, always striving to be truthful to her convictions I was in awe of the unique, demanding structure too I was not, however, so interested in her communist ramblings, the psychoanalytic ramblings, her very strange attitude towards homosexuality, or anything that she had to say that was in a paragraph that lasted 5 pages Then, as I was rounding the bend into the final section, I was again engulfed in dryness In repetition, in a didactic Sahara, in an overly intellectual, self absorbed voice that I wanted so badly to stop And now that I m finished, I m left wishing that I could really understand what was the point of it all In her introduction to the novel, Doris Lessing is very grumpy with what critics have said about the book She says it s not feminist It s not about finding the perfect man or woman, either It s , she says, about breakdowns as a path to healing I see that in Anna s gradual descent towards madness, in Tommy s journey too Mainly though, what I took away from this novel is that we are all just lost kids, searching for a way to make sense of ourselves and the world, all in the absurd constructs of society It gets messy, really messy And we can t fix it all But we can pick up our feet and take the next step, pick up the phone and call our best friend, pick up our pen and write the next word, roll that boulder a quarter inch up the hill That s all we can do And it takes a hell of a lot of courage, some days It s a small painful courage which is at the root of every life, because injustice and cruelty is at the root of life. Huh, that s pretty deep I don t disagree, Doris I just wish you could have said it in a lot less pages. WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE I was filled with such a dangerous delicious intoxication that I could have walked straight off the steps into the air, climbing on the strength of my own drunkenness into the stars And the intoxication, as I knew even then, was the recklessness of infinite possibility I would say that Miss Lessing was very fetching when she was younger, but I don t want to be accused of objectifying her Anna keeps four notebooks, each representing different versions of herself, all with the intent of discovering the truth about herself The red, the yellow, the black, and the blue covers, if all goes well, will merge into one golden notebook An evolution of understanding that will set her free Free of what you might ask If she can ever discover her true self, she can escape the traitorous self she has always been It is proving nearly impossibleI read this over today, for the first time since I wrote it It s full of nostalgia, every word loaded with it, although at the time I wrote it I thought I was being objective Nostalgia for what I don t know Because I d rather die than have to live through any of that again And the Anna of that time is like an enemy, or like an old friend one has known too well and doesn t want to see The only way to escape our past is to understand it We must be at peace with it, but the past seeps into the present and the future, despite our best efforts to control itAt that time in my life, for reasons I didn t understand until later, I didn t let myself be chosen by men who really wanted meShe isn t that person now, not that it has made her any happier By believing this, it says a lot about how she felt about herself Any man who found her attractive or interesting became less desirable to her Now she does let men choose her, and that has led to a series of temporary, unfulfilling relationships with married men Did she learn from her past or is this just another form of avoiding commitment Their marriages are of no interest to her nor is she interested in the prospect of a marriage for herself How can she discover who she is if she has to live in the shadow of a man as Mrs Marriage allows him to define her, and that elusive free self she is looking for will be forever buried under the avalanche of lost time given to achieving his desires, satisfying his whims, and helping him be successfulI am always amazed, in myself and in other women, at the strength of our need to bolster men up This is ironical, living as we do in a time of men s criticising us for being castrating for the truth is, women have this deep instinctive need to build a man up as a man I suppose this is because real men become fewer and fewer, and we are frightened, trying to create men As women are trying to find themselves, define themselves, men are losing themselves Men used to have clearly delineated roles hunt, kill, protect that evolved into sports academics, careers, providing They were the head of household, but now that is less likely as women are becoming successful in the work force Men are being diminished as the balance of power in a household has shifted to something equal This is not a bad thing, but it is creating necessary adjustments for men who used to have a simple defined goal as to how they would be considered successful This role is evolving into a blending of responsibilities where much of what they do is not weighed and measured.Of course, it feels like a step back as men are not needed to be men in the same way they were sixty years ago or a thousand and sixty years ago Giving up this power has been a long time coming, but women who are dismissive of men who still hold on too tightly to old traditional roles must understand that it is scary to think of who we are without them You re such a perfectionist You re an absolutist You measure everything against some kind of ideal that exists in your head, and if it doesn t come up to your beautiful notions then you condemn it out of hand Or you pretend to yourself that it s beautiful even when it isn t I ve always believe in the old adage that has been attributed to Albert EinsteinMen marry women with the hope they will never change Women marry men with the hope they will change Invariably they are both disappointedI don t know which is unrealistic I was flipping around the channels one day and landed on Oprah, not sure why because I never watch daytime talk shows, but there was a crowd of mostly women complaining about men As I was listening to them speak, I realized that these women didn t want sympathy or consideration from men, but actually wanted men to be like them They wanted men to have similar emotional responses to circumstances as women do Narcissistic to say the least Why would anyone want to hold up a mirror to their spouse and see themselves I think it is important that we react somewhat differently to situations My son leaving for college was very emotional for my wife who thought she was losing something For me, his leaving was a matter of pride because I could see him as a man instead of a boy.So when women talk about changing a man, are they truly talking about changing him into being like themselves Are they molding him to fulfill their vision of a progressive, successful future If this is the case, I would say that the shifting power is having a detrimental effect and could be contributing to an increasing divorce rate Couples, in my opinion, should be working towards common goals, but also in some cases towards separate goals as well As women free themselves, they need to make sure they aren t incarcerating their spouses unless that turns him on in the processHis green eyes were fixed, not seeing his mouth, like a spoon or a spade or a machine gun, shot out, spewed out, hot aggressive language, words like bullets I m not going to be destroyed by you By anyone I m not going to be shut up, caged, tamed, told be quiet keep your place do as you re told I m notI m saying what I think, I don t buy your world It disappoints Anna that when she falls in love with the American, who has been kicked out of the communist party for being anti Stalinist too soon It never pays to be right first , that she falls into a traditional role of wanting exclusivity and finding herself consumed by jealousy Her whole life s work has come undone The golden notebook proves elusive than the golden snitch This book has carried a heavy load as one of the major pieces of feminist literature Doris Lessing in 1962 was exploring concepts of what women should be striving for just as a growing number of women were starting to reject the idea that they had to fulfill the male version of what it means to be female They may have lost their way in the 1980s with the big shoulder pads I was so glad when women quit dressing like offensive linemen The last thing women should do is try to be like men Though there were aspects that I disagreed with in this book, I thought overall it was fairly balanced Lessing also points out some fallacies in thinking by women even as she celebrates Anna s attempt to achieve true freedom Although freedom can sometimes be a very lonely existence Understanding yourself so that you can express your true needs is important Don t expect others to intuitively know what you want A revolution without a platform leads to blaming others instead of asking for change People can make you unhappy or happy for a short time, but ultimately we all have to find ways to make ourselves happy We have to understand and accept that we will never truly completely know ourselves Don t become so wrapped up in a personal philosophy that you forget to live Equality doesn t scare me as long as women are raised up instead of men being brought down If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at You re afraid it ll be like if you organized your recipes by emotion All color coding and modernism You re intimidated It sounds hard But people never mention how horny Doris Lessing is There s something about a man with a whacking great erection, she says, that it s hard to resist Woman is horny. Have you read Adore Holy shit, it s literally the plot of Motherlover by Lonely Island.I mean it s Anna Wulf says that about the erections, not Lessing Same thing, but we ll get to that Anna also says that every encounter with a person seems like crossing a mined field, and one of the many things that make Doris Lessing special is her ability to map each mine She has the best social IQ since Tolstoy She has this way of breaking down interactions between people, what they re saying and why they re saying it and the way a little tilt of the head can change their meaning entirely She often caps it off by saying, simply, that two characters are liking or not liking each other, and I love how she points that out all these subtle maneuvers, and at the end we either like each other or we don t.Anna Wulf is a novelist, and since we were all intimidated by the plot and the notebooks and what have you, here s the spoiler free plot structure In the present day, a framing story called Free Women, Anna s having an affair with a married man Michael , raising her daughter, dealing with her best friend Molly s ex husband Richard, their daughter Tommy, and Richard s new wife Marion Anna can t come up with another novel, but she keeps a diary split into four facets, and in her own words A black notebook, which is to do with Anna Wolf the writer and is largely set in the past in Africa, and is my favorite a red notebook, concerned with politics and a little boring a yellow notebook, in which I make stories out of my experience and a blue notebook which tries to be a diary The secret of this book is that you don t have to remember any of this It doesn t matter That yellow notebook is the beginnings of a novel starring Ella, who s a semiautobiographical stand in for Anna, who s a stand in for Lessing, and you know what, you ll get the idea Lessing is doing the fragmented chronology of modernism the color coding is just for you, in case it helps you keep it all straight She does it because she s nice Why the four notebooks she is asked What would happen if you had one big book without all those divisions and brackets and special writing And Anna replies, I ve told you, chaos lol, suck it Joyce probably about to color code something We could wish some of those other modernists had given us some color coding, right You know who could have used a decoder ring is James Joyce What the fuck was he ever banging on about Lessing casually responds to him at times She parodies a few different styles for a while, pastiche like, Joyce like, at one point dog walking Henry Miller so hard I m surprised she doesn t clicker train him It s not just funny, it s silly. Why doesn t anyone mention that Doris Lessing is horny and funny But there s that that earthiness, too, that concern with the reality of the body James Joyce named defecation, Margaret Drabble says, and Lessing names menstruation There are pages and pages about menstruation Doris Lessing is Judy Blume s fairy godmother This is of course controversial, because men are still in charge of some things and we absolutely cannot handle menstruation in any way, and The Golden Notebook was plenty controversial when it came out in 1963 As if periods aren t gross enough, Lessing would like to talk about female orgasms, enthusiastically and at length She has ideas about them, vaginal vs clitoral orgasms, and it s all a bit Freudian and I don t mean to tell anyone how to cum but I have the impression that some of these ideas are almost as outdated as her ideas about gay people, which are frankly offensive.But look, I m trying to position Doris Lessing as horny and funny like she s some sort of modernist Sarah Silverman and I don t mean to say that s all she is Lessing has a lot of ideas She used to get irritated when people were obsessed with The Golden Notebook s structure Pay attention to the themes, she would say It s about communism Stalin has proven to be a nightmare and worldwide communists are descending into a morass of cliches and meetings One can t seriously talk about Stalin without betraying the party, nor can one seriously not talk about Stalin without betraying the ideal, and so communism is trapped and dying The dream of communism has met the reality of Stalin and it can t survive This was all maybe a bit overdone for the non communists of the time, who d realized what a monster Stalin was years ago It s about men and women, and there s this whole segment of discussion of the book as castrating The men are often worthless, affair starved, predatory, terrible in bed I can only speak for myself, but I didn t read it as misandrous What Anna is so frank about is that she wants men very badly, and can t find any Real men become fewer and fewer, and we are frightened, trying to create men Which, I gather, is still a problem But she likes them She likes men, Lessing s characters like being friends with them and having sex with them He knew nothing about her, says Ella of a man she s just met, liking him he did not know, for instance, that her nipples were stinging And here we are, horny and funny again It s about how people live with each other, and in the end that s still my favorite thing about Lessing, that navigation of the mined field She notices so much, and she describes it so clearly Whenever I meet an American man, she says, I wait for the moment when his face really lights up it s when he s talking about the group of buddies Or, there s this little passage where she describes a horny teenage girl who s totally incidental to the plot, in that state so many young girls go through a state of sexual obsession that can be like a sort of trance She is plain The men don t even notice that she s in heat All the women do, and quietly endeavor to protect her Has anyone ever told that girl s story before Lessing just throws it out there casually, and moves on She s so perceptive and she s so good at communicating what she sees and all this while being so very horny and so very funny It s awe inspiring, and it s compelling, and you can t help liking her. If before this book you wanted to be a writer, if after you finished it you still wanted to be a writer, then all the power to you.What concerns us here is an English white heterosexual female, mother, author, communist Upper class, unmarried, unconsciously feminist Neurotic, classist, homophobic, probably racist, there aren t enough interactions with people of color to tell, but it seems likely considering the upbringing, the upbringing of the English society attuned to her personal attributes, her physical features, her financial stability, her sexuality mentality and race.Do you have the story Do you feel the pigeonholing begin Do you sense your survival tactics classifying this contextual chorus as quickly as characterization consoles the contributors of compositions of caliber, of classics Do you ease your way in expectations, do you settle your mind in the proper slots of when to be amused, when to be terrified, when to be aroused, when to be offended Because that s what she does She, Mrs Anna Wulf, ne Anna Freeman in actuality a free woman, but let us save the carpings over lazy linguistics for another time , sees her world and feels the effects of that streamlined ideological training you knew those words were coming, I love analyzing via this manner too much for a review to escape without them , and through some combination of fate and fortune can put them into words The jargon of socialists versus the uninitiated working class look at that discourse analysis class being put to work , the conflict between the expectations of men and those of women look, I put men first, what does say about me , the pandering contempt of public society for the word artist oh you re supposed to be tortured, however else would you come up with such delightful things for us, we couldn t bear it if you wasted your talents, disappointed the rest of us who haven t been blessed with such insight into the human condition.She sees homosexuals as less than real men , she who cannot fathom the mixing of male and female , cannot think outside the dichotomy of the gender lines of the English, no Kinsey scale formatting, confusing sexuality and mismatches between mind and body, just two words and the fearful gap She talks of Africa as if it were something to be saved by white people, we must let the Africans, those poor things , come to their true civilized calling but god forbid we accredit their myriad cultures or trust them as equals or look to them as experienced and authorized experts for a second, it is much better if we stick to our learning and reasoning and fall in circling patterns of thought that only work on paper Children are a mystery, a mainframe of serialized progressions that cannot possibly successfully analyze the world and people around them, cannot possibly be capable of resignation with life, not when their parents need them to cope with their own That would be monstrous She separates Here is this book, this book composed without thought of composition, received with open arms by the popular opinion, full of lies and stereotypes and standards spiced with the slightest hint of chaos, the smallest fracture of fighting the system , that thrill, that excitement, feeding the average conformer their daily dose of moralizing self righteousness, their carefully controlled observance of the real world And now she is the artist , that tortured soul like so many others, who is not only unhappy but is supposed to be unhappy and learn how to be from those others Joyce and Woolf and Kafka and Fitzgerald and Koestler and so many others who were truly unhappy , unhappy for the rest of us poor souls who cannot comprehend that talent, that quirk, and must rely on others who can, give us that side of madness that you have been blessed with that we who can cope so well with reality and its broken ideologies cannot ever have And now she cannot write, because there are parts of her that fit within the system and parts of her that don t, there are parts that she successfully absorbed in her progression of existence and parts that never quite deadened the natural rejection, parts that give her pleasure and parts that give her pain, pain of guilt that increases with every observation, every analysis, every laying out of personal problems alongside the horrors of the world and finding the former severely lacking, a diagnosis of it could be worse it shouldn t hurt , a conjectured solution of wishing to be a man so as to be able to fuck, so as to be able to ignore the shamed agony and bleeding of the vagina and all its myriad biological woes, so as to be able to ignore all that masculine patronizing and pigeonholing, that oedipal complex compensation, so as to be able to not think with feelings and feel with thought as so many men appear to be capable of.Nothing is certain but death and taxes, and so those with life and those with money have the recipe for happiness That is what everyone strives for, that is the goal the world round, and those who are threatened in both categories don t want to believe that eventual stabilization will not bring them peace They don t want to believe that after the attainment of both there exists the realm of the small ills, the tiny hurts, the malformations of identit y ies in coping with ideas and the machines that drive it, the emptiness that sinks in after the distracting thoughts of fleeing a massacre and keeping a job and the adrenaline of panic fade away The possibility that whatever brain chemistry has been equipped cannot deal with what reality demands of its conscripts, demands that do not include the slightest hint of empathy for illnesses of the neurons Plenty of paranoia and fear and conscious ignorance, yes Kindness or understanding, no.Selfish Self ish Angry ish, sad ish, complicated ish Not quite there Not quite the sublime self, the inherent rights, the pure drive for living, that brave entity that copes with so much in the effort to exist Selfish Working for money is selfish who are you to only put forth efforts that you are paid for, selling yourself in whatever form for a small pittance Fighting for your rights is selfish who are you to say that what you have is not good enough, who are you to judge that it is not equal to everyone else, you and your inherent bias and will subsumed by this oppressed self Running for your life is selfish who are you to say that you do not want to die, when so many others have gone before you, in agonized desperation that you cannot even begin to imagine And my god now you want to write about it Go ahead Go ahead with your need for income, your need for validation, your need for life, your selfish whims, your unconscious prejudices, your broken self that you think is oh so painful but really, you re hardly that special snowflake that you coddle so, that overly analytical stereotypical mess that cries about one thing but is secretly bigoted about everything else it doesn t have to deal with that can t even exist like the rest of us normal people, who may not have your talents but can cope just fine with a 9 to 5 job two kids and a spouse yes sirree we do just fine with our drinking our abuse our categorical separations our unconscious hypocrisies our identities set on the straight and narrow that we cannot feel straining and breaking at the seams We deal just fine with the emptiness of words created by a species for communication and nothing , we don t see an object and think of the history that led to its creation and all its ill fitting complexities and contradictions, we don t regard a person and register their ancestral lines of being oppressive and being oppressed We don t look at ourselves and clinically observe the prejudice that led from this day of education here, this dangerous misconception that was born from this experience there, that disillusionment with what we are complicit with by existing So much of it that is violence and blood So many cannibal identities trapping behind with the punctured equilibrium of our past So many coping mechanism selves trotting forth in our unrealistic idealistic opportunistic future.We can hide from those feelings We can be cold We can be in control and funnel ourselves through the necessary fault lines, the civilized dichotomies, the socioeconomic machine.Tell us, why should we care if you write about what causes you pain, if it does not cause us pain Tell us, why should we care if you write about what you cannot cope with and hate that you cannot cope, if we can cope Tell us, why should we care if you write about how we hurt you, if we do not know why it should Tell us, why should we care when you question the rules, if those are the rules that we play by Tell us, why should we care when you want to break the rules, if the rules are what we cannot imagine living without Tell us, writer with money and intellect and security grown in comfort subsisting on a small effort grown profitable by chance because of your birth and your ancestry that so many of us would happily trade you for, why should we care about your problems when they are not all the problems Tell us, writer, you egotistical masochist, you lazy worm, you overly sensitive prat that cannot bear for your works to be commercialized and conformed and can afford to do so without sacrificing your standard of living, you sycophantic preacher who only wishes for social justice in the areas you are hurt by, you witless freak who cannot live a normal life , you coward pandering at indecision, pandering at mental illness, pandering at suicide, pandering at life.Tell us, writer, why should we care when you strip away the world and show us how good and evil and every word known and unknown are winding labyrinths of infinite complexity mating in an obscene frenzy within every thing, every person, every concept.Tell us, writer, why should we care if you cannot deal with it like the rest of us.Tell us. Art is the mirror of our betrayed idealspage 385 Still under the effects of the inebriating The Brothers K, I thought the best way to overcome a book hungover was to get drunk again Reckless and foolish, I know.My head still spinning around and my heart wrenched into a tight ball as I write these lines The Golden notebook is not a kind book.It has challenged my patience and tolerance with its apparent non direction I have even despised Anna, the narrator of the story, thinking her naive, selfish and snobbish.But being a woman who dwells in constant contradiction, I have irrevocably fallen under the spell of Lessing Anna s radical voice A woman, writer and mother who says the unsayable, thinks the unthinkable and puts it all down in her notebooks in all its raw emotional and intellectual chaos.Four Notebooks pouring with self contempt, full of disillusionment, tolls for searching clues in her past in order to reconcile her unbearably miserable present The black recalls Anna s youth in wartime Rhodesia, her initial involvement with the Communist Party and how her early experiences served as material for her later successful novel Also a retrospective insight in which Anna can t neither recognize herself nor her ingenuous expectations on women s independence and liberationWhat business has a novelist to cling to the memory of a smile or a look, knowing so well the complexities behind thempage 115 The red portrays her political doubts with shocking power and blistering honesty, threading radical exploration of communism together with Anna s growing need for truth seeking rather than political ideology.I found her growing estrangement with The Party especially poignant when she starts feeling dubious about ends justifying means and the cynicism of some comradesYet why do I have a home at all Because I wrote a book I am ashamed of, and it made a lot of money Luck, luck, that s all And I hate all that my home, my possessions, my rights And yet come to the point where I m uncomfortable, I fall back on it like everyone else Mine Property Possessionspage 356 The yellow notebook was the one that struck me the most but at the same time also shined out with unexpected recognition Anna s futile effort to write as a third person, naming her creation Ella, in an attempt to distance herself from the inadequacy and constant failures of her relationships with men reminded me strongly of D.H Lawrence s reflections on sexuality, morality and motherhood.Anna s reaffirmed feelings of independence reacting against the vanity, egoism and insecurities of her usually married male partners contrast with her constant displays of traditional female behavior expecting to stop being the mistress to become the wife It all sounded so real and sincere to me that I felt Anna s sufferings and sorrows as my ownI am unhappy because I have lost some kind of independence, some freedom but my being free has nothing to do with writing a novel it has to do with my attitude towards a man, and that has been proved dishonest, because I am in piecespage 283 Finally, the blue notebook appears as an accurate account of everyday life where intertwined switches of mood, rambling thoughts and semi deranged descriptions of dreams become a crude testimony of existential doubtsBut isn t there something wrong with the fact that my sleep is satisfying, exciting, enjoyable than anything that happens to me awakepage 217 Defragmented pieces of unconsciousness create the most truthful and frightening image of a woman who questions the different versions of herself to find her long lost wholeness.Doris Lessing addresses the conflicts between the maternal and erotic life, of the difficulties to conduct a career, or at least to try to, while raising a child, of the letdown that comes along with exploration of political ideologies, of the hardships of facing a mental breakdown, of the frustration of being a liberated woman but still be dependant on a masculine presence in her life And she does it all looking at the reader straight in the eye, without blinking.And don t get me wrong, I don t see Lessing as some sort of personal feminist hero, I don t think that s the point But then, as now, being in my early thirties, this novel has guided me towards which questions to ask and which answers are better left unsought.Everything Life, love, death, the myriad beings buried deep inside me Everything has become Golden clear Because there has to be a crack in everything so that the light gets in.The failures and inadequacies of my past.The bleakness of my upcoming future.The beauty and the futility of it all, so worth the effort. The golden notebook, c2007, Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook is a 1962 novel by Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook is the story of writer Anna Wulf, the four notebooks in which she records her life, and her attempt to tie them together in a fifth, gold coloured notebook The book intersperses segments of an ostensibly realistic narrative of the lives of Anna and her friend, Molly Jacobs, as well as their children, ex husbands and lovers entitled Free Women with excerpts from Anna s four notebooks, coloured black of Anna s experience in Southern Rhodesia, before and during World War II, which inspired her own best selling novel , red of her experience as a member of the Communist Party , yellow an ongoing novel that is being written based on the painful ending of Anna s own love affair , and blue Anna s personal journal where she records her memories, dreams, and emotional life Each notebook is returned to four times, interspersed with episodes from Free Women, creating non chronological, overlapping sections that interact with one another This post modern styling, with its space for play engaging the characters and readers, is among the most famous features of the book, although Lessing insisted that readers and reviewers pay attention to the serious themes in the novel 2009 1387 586 9789641740834 20 I created a new Goodreads shelf, aborted, specifically for this book any future ones that I stop reading Apparently it s an important novel has been very influential, but I found it terribly tedious 126 pages in, I found myself sinking into a foul mood the characters are minutely analyzed but still feel remote, the central conflict at that point the beginnings of the collapse of hope a sense of purpose among a group of Communist Party members , which would normally fascinate me, just annoyed me And the book is huge weighs down my commute bag.So away with you, irritating tome