The Golden Notebook

From her obituaries, and the serious critical assessments of her work, I hardly recognize the Doris Lessing I knew. I don’t fault the obit writers (I used to be one) or critics and admirers for attempting the tricky job of collating into a coherent narrative the Bunyanesque episodes and human contradictions in Lessing’s life and work. Indeed, it was not the later “Great Author” who I knew, but a young, romantic, passionate, fiercely ambitious single mother pounding away at a portable typewriter trying—as we all did—to keep it together.

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