Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Reading Doris Lessing:Part III

In part I what I wrote was based almost entirely on first impressions.In part II I wrote mostly about recurring themes in the book.Now that I've finished,I intend to approach part III with a certain degree of candour.It may seem trite for someone who claims to be a bibliophile to lap up what the very next Nobel laureate has to offer;in my defense(and I only say 'defense' for want of a better word),I read 'The Golden Notebook' out of curiosity.

There is something Freudian about the book.Towards the end,I started to imagine Doris Lessing herself;a woman in her thirties,writhing in some inexplicable despair,writing in her diaries to gain a fake sense of who she really is.One of the tags associated with this book is 'feminist'.As a woman,I found it both empowering and derogatory.Perhaps some schools of feminism like to perceive women as invincible creatures who scorn domestic bliss and prefer what women loosely define as 'independence'.Lessing explores the meaning of terms like 'freedom' and 'liberation' only to remain inconclusive.On the other hand Lessing must be lauded for her depiction of women as human beings with blemishes and insecurities.

Very little is said about her depiction of men.It is quite hard,impossible actually, to find a man in Lessing's book who fits the conventional bill of 'a good man'.These men are either over grown babies with a need for mothering or adult and frigid.They are mostly married men with mistresses and a violent streak.Occasionally,one gets the impression that the real victims are women in the way that they hunger for a man to make them 'whole'.

The book is otherwise tedious.The blurring of the real and the surreal,fiction and fact and the vigorous rants organized categorically have something Kafkaesque about them(read Kafka's diaries before you kill me for saying this).The smattering of politics hampers one's sense of continuity.This may have been intentional to deprive the reader of a sense of time(Lessing says that people go insane when they lose a sense of time).

P.S. I am tired and infinitely more pleased with myself for some absurd reason.

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