The Golden Notebook

by Doris Lessing | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingDeepswampwing of Oskarshamn, Småland Sweden on 5/1/2006
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingDeepswampwing from Oskarshamn, Småland Sweden on Monday, May 01, 2006
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 years. 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 a 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.


The Golden Notebook is the longest and the most ambitious work Doris Lessing has ever attempted to write. It is a masterpiece in portraiture of the manners, aspirations, anxieties and the particular problems of the times in which we live.

Mrs. Lessing says: 'About five years ago I found myself thinking about that novel which most writers now are tempted to write at some time or another - about the problems of a writer, about the artistic sensibility. I saw no point in writing this again: it has been done too often; it has been one of the major themes of the novel in our time. Yet, having decided not to write it, I continued to think about it, and about the reasons why artists now have to combat various kinds of narcissism. I found that, if it were to be written at all, the subject should be, not a practising artist, but an artist with some kind of a block which prevented him or her from creating. In describing the reasons for the block, I would also be making the criticisms I wanted to make about our society. I would be describing a disgust and self-division which afflicts people now, and not only artists.

'Simultaneously I was working out another book, a book of literary criticism, which I would write not as critic, but as practising writer, using various literary styles in such a way that the shape of the book and the juxtaposition of the styles would provide the criticism. Since I hold that criticism of literature is a criticism and judgement of life, this book would say what I wanted of life; it would make implicitly, a statement about what Marxists call alienation.

'Thinking about these two books I understood suddenly they were not two books but one; they were fusing together in my mind. I understood that the shape of this book should be enclosed and claustrophobic - so narcissistic that the subject matter must break through the form.

'This novel, then, is an attempt to break a form; to break certain forms of consciousness and go beyond them. While writing it, I found I did not believe some of the things I thought I believed: or rather, that I hold in my mind at the same time beliefs and ideas that are apparently contradictory. Why not? We are, after all, living in the middle of a whirlwind.'


Comments:

This book received the 1976 French Prix Medicis for Foreigners

Journal Entry 2 by wingDeepswampwing at by post in Another BookCrosser, RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, May 17, 2008

Released 10 yrs ago (5/17/2008 UTC) at by post in Another BookCrosser, RABCK -- Controlled Releases

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On a wishlist, this old copie of a favorite writer wants to travel!

2008 BookCrossing RABCK Release Challenge
The Ultimate Challenge 2008

Journal Entry 3 by Gnoe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Friday, May 23, 2008
Such a nice gesture, sending me this book as rabck for my personal 2008 challenge!
TNX so much Deepswamp! And with no less than *two* bookmarks :))

I'm really curious about this 'golden oldie'...

Journal Entry 4 by Gnoe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Sunday, November 02, 2008
I plan to read The Golden Notebook along with some female writers from November 10th 2008!

I hope I'll finish my current book in time (something completely different: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami).

Update November 12
I haven't started reading yet (I'll have to finish Murakami first), but I did write a blogpost about it ;)

Journal Entry 5 by Gnoe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The Golden Notebook has been lying next to my computer for ages -- never got round to writing a journal entry. Maybe if I keep it short I'll manage to do it now!

I read The Golden Notebook in November & December 2008. Unfortunately the Readalong project that I spoke about in my earlier post didn't work for me. But I did finish TGN all by myself anyway ;) I can't say I found it a particularly great book. I understand it might have been special so many years ago, but for a girl born in 1970 it isn't anymore.

I haven't made any notes (quite unusual for me) and it seems exemplary that I don't remember much about the TGN except that I got very tired of Anna sometimes.

Well, I am glad I read the book anyway. It's always good to read classics ;)

If any more memories come to mind I'll edit this JE :)

Journal Entry 6 by Gnoe at RABCK, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (4/15/2009 UTC) at RABCK, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Off to cally-c, together with The Cement Garden.

I hope she'll like it!

Journal Entry 7 by wingcally-cwing from Alfreton, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Monday, April 20, 2009
Arrived this morning.
Thank-you very much Gnoe.

Journal Entry 8 by wingcally-cwing from Alfreton, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Sunday, March 28, 2010
I'm afraid to say I really struggled with this book, couldn't get on with the characters or plots at all. I'm glad I've read it though, I realise it's a classic of its time & another of the 1001 books.

Journal Entry 9 by wingcally-cwing at controlled release, a controlled release -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, March 28, 2010

Released 8 yrs ago (3/29/2010 UTC) at controlled release, a controlled release -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Off to ekranda.....

Journal Entry 10 by Paws4Books from Deal, Kent United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Thank you very much for sending me this Cally-C, i will try and read it sometime soon .

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