- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate (17 Jan. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007498772
- ISBN-13: 978-0007498772
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Golden Notebook Paperback – 17 Jan 2013
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‘This ambitious novel has no equal.’ Guardian
‘At the beginning of the Sixties, this vast, frank, complicated novel helped to sustain our reputation for courageous, ambitious, experimental writing. Soon a worldwide bestseller, it is still Lessing’s finest work. “The Golden Notebook” captured the heady mix of the early Sixties, when not just novels but political certainties were dissolving. The rising feminist movement seized it as a Bible.’ Mail on Sunday
‘Her greatest work…Shows the power of the female imagination at full throttle. It doesn't bear a simple political message but it does rip off the masks that women were accustomed to wearing, and it shows up the dangers and difficulties that women encounter if they try to live a free life in a man's world…A landmark novel, a book that both changed and explained a generation…One of the finest writers of the century.’ Independent
‘Doris Lessing is a pioneer of feminist self-consciousness in its raw state…The truths contained in “The Golden Notebook” are indeed harsh. It can also be said that these particular truths have not been examined in so rigorous and exemplary a fashion since the first appearance of this extraordinary book. A seminal work.’ Anita Brookner, LRB
‘“The Golden Notebook” is the diary of a writer in shock, a young woman determined to forge a life as a “free woman”, as an “intellectual”. Doris Lessing is a writer of considerable power, someone who can close her eyes and “give” a situation by the sheer force of her emotional energy.’ Joan Didion, New York Times
From the Back Cover
Anna Wulf is a young novelist with writer’s block. Divorced, with a young child, and disillusioned by unsatisfactory relationships, she feels her life is falling apart. In fear of madness, she records her experiences in four coloured notebooks. The black notebook addresses her problems as a writer; the red her political life; the yellow her relationships and emotions; and the blue becomes a diary of everyday events. But it is the fifth notebook – the Golden Notebook – which is the key to her recovery and renaissance.
Bold and illuminating, fusing sex, politics, madness and motherhood, The Golden Notebook is at once a wry and perceptive portrait of the intellectual and moral climate of the 1950s – a society on the brink of feminism – and a powerful and revealing account of a woman searching for her own personal and political identity.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel also captures the political climate of the era, a state of post-war disillusionment with the available models political ideology. They recognise the need for some kind of change, but are unable to envision a model that will work.Read more ›
At the novel's opening, the life of Lessing's central character - (ex-)novelist Anna Wulf - seems hopelessly fragmented. Afflicted by writer's block, Anna pours the narrative of the various traumas of her life into four quite separate compartments: the Black Notebook relates to her "work life" as a writer; the Red Notebook her "political life" as a lapsed and disillusioned member of the British Communist party; the Yellow Notebook her (lightly fictionalised) love life; and the Blue Notebook her everyday existence. In all four areas, things grow increasingly desperate until Anna's mental health seems in serious question. However, it is only after what amounts to a "breakdown" followed by re-synthesis of her life as a whole in the eponymous Golden Notebook that Anna can really achieve mental and moral wellbeing.Read more ›
It charts the life of Anna Wulf, a writer. Although every page is very well written and the many characters are well individualized, I have found this quite a difficult read. The chapters in this massive tome are enormously long, with few natural breaks: at times there are whole pages between paragraphs.
And the structure of the book is, I think, excessively complex. Anna is a divorcee with a little daughter; her friend Molly is a divorcee with a grown-up son. Their story is told in five instalments. Both women are ex-communists; both believe themselves to be `Free Women'.
The tile `Free Women' is certainly an ironical title as far as Anna is concerned, since her `freedom' brings her the most painful turmoil of emotions. After having been aware for a long time about the darker, crueller, more dishonest side of communism, she has, with a great psychological effort, `freed' herself from membership of the Party, but the wrench has left her in an aching vacuum, as well as haunted by the terrors and threats to human existence that are conveyed in the daily newspapers from which she obsessively collects clippings.
Worse: she feels `free' to engage in new sexual relationships with a series of men, but she is tormented in each of these relationships, to which she gives herself with more commitment than is felt by the men. She becomes increasingly damaged, veering backwards and forwards from love to hate, self-lacerating, driven towards total disintegration.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tough going but satisfying in the end and I'm glad I read it, definitely a book of its time that can illuminate today.Published 2 months ago by Mr K H-B
A most deep and profound book. So full of issues it could be the material for several PhD theses!Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
It now seems quite dated. I had expected to enjoy it far more than I did.Published 10 months ago by Margaret Emmens
Could not finish this, just too dense. I feel I should and will have another go someday.... As it is highly rated.Published 11 months ago by CAROLYN