Someone mentioned Doris Lessing in passing the other day. A wonderful writer who was a fierce warrior and champion of women. So I went looking for my copy of “Memoirs of a Survivor”
Reading it gave me chills…..this what the New York times wrote about the book in 1975. It was made into a film staring Julie Christie and Nigel Hawthorne.
Now, from a later perspective and with self-scrutinizing insight Doris Lessing herself stands back to look not only at the world but at her own earlier imaginations of it: her words have a special precision and eloquence. The distended urgency of her earlier heroines is discarded, and the narrator of this book is a woman who turns a cool, faceless attention to the crumbling society around her. From her window she records the landscape of apocalypse with total control, and with a rhetoric that measures (and weights) her experience, that seeks out the phrases that will correctly answer the events of that time, “the protacted period of unease and tension before the end. . .” The city is besieged. Wandering packs of youths devastate an area and then move on. Hordes of people have already left for the country and relative safety. “While everything. . .broke up, we lived on, adjusting our lives as if nothing fundamental was happening.”
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