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The Grass is Singing [Kindle Edition]

Doris Lessing
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing’s first novel is a taut and tragic portrayal of a crumbling marriage, set in South Africa during the years of Arpartheid.

Doris Lessing brought the manuscript of ‘The Grass is Singing’ with her when she left Southern Rhodesia and came to England in 1950. When it was first published it created an impact whose reverberations we are still feeling, and immediately established itself as a landmark in twentieth-century literature.

Set in Rhodesia, it tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush. Trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny brick and iron house, Mary, lonely and frightened, turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding.

A masterpiece of realism, ‘The Grass is Singing’ is a superb evocation of Africa’s majestic beauty, an intense psychological portrait of lives in confusion and, most of all, a passionate exploration of the ideology of white supremacy.



Product Description

Review

‘Original and striking…full of those terrifying touches of truth, seldom mentioned but instantly recognised.’ New Statesman

‘Doris Lessing responds more passionately than most writers to people or situations: often she responds with hate or rancour, but always with passion. In “The Grass is Singing”, you can feel the dynamo-like throb of a formidable talent; by its side, most novels of 1950 look like crochet-work.’ The Times

‘“The Grass is Singing” focuses on the blighted life of a woman whose spirit is destroyed by a disastrous marriage and by an environment to which she couldn’t respond. More than any other white African writer of her generation, Doris Lessing is aware of the seductive cruelty of colonialism, and is one of our strongest, fiercest voices against injustice, racism and sexual hypocrisy.’ Independent on Sunday

From the Back Cover

Doris Lessing brought the manuscript of 'The Grass is Singing', her classic first novel, with her when she left Southern Rhodesia and came to England in 1950. When it was first published it created an impact whose reverberations we are still feeling, and immediately established itself as a landmark in twentieth-century literature.

Set in Rhodesia, it tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush. Trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny brick and iron house, Mary, lonely and frightened, turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding.

A masterpiece of realism, 'The Grass is Singing' is a superb evocation of Africa's majestic beauty, an intense psychological portrait of lives in confusion and, most of all, a passionate explanation of the ideology of white supremacy.

"Original and striking… full of those terrifying touches of truth, seldom mentioned but instantly recognised."
NEW STATESMAN

"Doris Lessing responds more passionately than most writers to people or situations: often she responds with hate or rancour, but always with passion. In 'The Grass is Singing', you can feel the dynamo-like throb of a formidable talent: by its side, most novels of 1950 looked like crochet-work."
THE TIMES

"' The Grass is Singing' focuses on the blighted life of a woman whose spirit is destroyed by a disastrous marriage and by an environment to which she couldn't respond. More than any other white African writer of her generation, Doris Lessing is aware of the seductive cruelty of colonialism and is one of our strongest, fiercest voices against injustice, racism and sexual hypocrisy."
FIAMMETTA ROCCO, ' Independent on Sunday'


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 583 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007498802
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (30 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006Y0R2P6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,189 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007, is one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of recent decades. A Companion of Honour and a Companion of Literature, she has been awarded the David Cohen Memorial Prize for British Literature, Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize, the International Catalunya Award and the S. T. Dupont Golden PEN Award for a
Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature, as well as a host of other international awards.
Doris Lessing died on 17 November 2013.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and striking 27 Jan. 2004
By HORAK
Format:Paperback
Doris Lessing's "The Grass is Singing" opens with the death of Mary Turner. How could Mary's life have ended with such a tragic fate? As the reader progresses through the novel, he discovers Mary's insufferable existence, her life destroyed by a disastrous marriage to a farmer, Dick Turner. Mary is forced to live in a rural environment in South Africa for which she is ill-suited. Furthermore, Mary's relationship with her husband rapidly deteriorates as she realises that Dick is unable to manage the farm successfully and they are constantly on the verge of bankruptcy. A truly superb novel, tragic and moving to the very last line. Mrs Lessing's wonderfully captures Africa's majestic beauty, the difficult relationship between the whites and the Natives. The psychological portrait of her heroine is exceptionally intense.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The Grass Is Singing was my first Doris Lessing novel, and I loved it!
As you could have already read the synospsis, in this book Lessing tells the story of a farmer husband, Dick Turner, and his wife Mary, their life and struggles on their farm in South Africa, while portraying the fragile and unstable state of the balance of forces between the whites and the blacks.

During the first 2 chapters I was a bit surprised and not sure if I would enjoy it (her realistic racist description shocked me), but wow, her evocative and yet simple descriptions of the African landscape, the scorching hot and the reality of the farms and sweaty hard work were very realistic and made me feel as if I was seeing it. And her storytelling! it was so painful and saddening to read the story of these 2(-3) people, who are so different and wanted so different things from life and witness as their differences and inability to understand each other (and their lack of ability to communicate) ruin their lives. Beautiful and very powerful book, it was a wonderful read, I will definitely read more by her. Someone once told me that if I read only one Lessing novel in my life, I should read The Grass Is Singing, and having read it, I can definitely second that opinion, this novel is one you definitely have to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim And Depressing 19 Nov. 2014
By M. Dowden HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This is only the second novel by Doris Lessing I have ever read, the first being ‘The Good Terrorist’ and like that book I did find this a bit strange in places. This was Lessing’s debut and is set in Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe). Taking in a number of years we do see that the Second World War takes place whilst this book progresses, although this doesn’t in any way impinge on any of the characters, except for the money to be made out of tobacco.

The way this is set out the actual end comes at the beginning of this, and then we see what events led up to the tragedy. One thing I would say is that this is a grim and depressing read, so if you are looking for something a bit light hearted, please give this a miss. With a minimum of characters Lessing tries to bring to life drudging farm work in an apartheid country, and by only every now and then mentioning Rhodesia, whilst the rest of the time South Africa, this would be just as applicable to that country as well. Definitely an anti-colonial novel we see subtle differences amongst even the white minority, with those who are Afrikaners looked down on to a degree by those who are British, and obviously blacks at the bottom of the pile. Ironically though if you are thinking due to this subject matter it is about racism exclusively then you would be wrong, as it also touches upon the inequality between men and women.

Mary, who grew up as the daughter of a railway worker breaks free when her parents are dead and moves to a more bustling life, with a proper job. Mary it has to be admitted is frigid and grows gradually older with no long term partner, which makes her friends snigger, and when she realises this it is like she must have a man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her first novel, yet such a gem! 25 Jan. 2012
By steelo
Format:Paperback
I chanced upon this books a while back and since I had heard of Doris Lessing because of her Nobel prize, I thought I would start knowing her through her first novel.

This is a wonderfully insightful book, showing how Lessing is a fine observer not only of racial problems but of human relations in general and the situation of white female colonists in an unwelcoming Southern Rhodesia in the 40s.

The main character is Mary Turner, a single woman who lives in one of Rhodesia's cities and then ends up marrying a farmer, Dick Turner, and moving with him to his farm.

She does not fit well in that scenery, she does not feel at ease in the relationship either, because she had married mostly because she had heard gossip about her being a spinster.
the book is a tragic one and the heroine's fate is one of depression, alienation and ultimately, death, but the value of this book resides not in its upbeat, easy to ingest nature (because it is none of those). The book is valuable because it allows you to expand your own horizons if feelings, empathizing with the heroine and with her husband, Dick as well.

It is a novel of colonialism, of the people who left their roots to look for fortune and who seldom managed to fulfill their dreams, it is a novel about those people's children, equally out of place.

One reviewer gave it a very low rating because she said the title had nothing to do with the book. I think that shows her lack of imagination. She said that nothing was singing in the book.

Singing, I must tell that person, is not necessarily cheerful. Also, the grass was singing, Mary's only moments of relief and of peace where when she listened to the veld of South Africa and felt a connection with nature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A book describing the hardships of living in a hostile ...
A book describing the hardships of living in a hostile environment, among hostile people and a place of racial segregation. A haunting tale.
Published 2 months ago by Suzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read
Published 3 months ago by Jacqui Matthews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Book arrived in good time and well-packaged. Not read yet. Thanks!
Published 3 months ago by AmLover
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the story which is well written and interesting but ...
I enjoyed the story which is well written and interesting but set in a brick house and doesn't move far from there..like watching a play on a stage. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sno-Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars The cover is white and black, but there is more to it.
This book shows you how a sweet happy being, added with isolation, superiority, pride and stubbornness turns into a lonely bitter person. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Paulo Laranjo
1.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a bore
Boring book. Read for bookclub, most of whom liked it more than me
Published 7 months ago by Pat foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read = have bought more of her work since reading this book
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. S. Sanders
4.0 out of 5 stars The Grass is Singing-
Wonderful writing with very succinct character development. Doris Lessing gives a clear picture of the way that the "natives" of the old Africa were viewed by the whites as... Read more
Published 8 months ago by annette bonelle
5.0 out of 5 stars a truly conversational way of writing. many years ago ...
a truly conversational way of writing. many years ago I tried ti read one of her sci-fi books and failed. an indication surely that her works need a maturity in her readers.
Published 8 months ago by charles hughes
1.0 out of 5 stars I found this book dreary and predictable. I could ...
I found this book dreary and predictable. I could not understand how it was so popular when it first came out or how such an author could go on to win the Nobel prize for... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dr. N. F. Hockings
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