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The Grass Is Singing Paperback – 15 Apr 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Paperback, 15 Apr 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin; Re-issue edition (15 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586089241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586089248
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 493,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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'

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An incredible author. Excellent. Will read any of her books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A almost uncomfortably raw story of the inevitable tragic and shocking consequences when Mary is taken from small town Rhodesia in the late 1940s to live on a remote farm with a husband she despises. Alone all day listening to the screaming of the cicadas, feeling the sun baking her through the tin roof, enduring stultifying aloneness and ground down by the fight against poverty, Mary is trapped and helpless. For the first time she encounters the black work force and their close proximity has a profound effect on her sensibilities.

The house servant Moses in particular exerts a powerful influence over her as her mind begins to disintegrate in the claustrophobic atmosphere. Past a certain point their developing, unwholesome relationship is left to our imaginations; but it consists more of mutual fascinated loathing than love.

Published in 1950, this is Doris Lessing's first novel. It took until 2007 for her to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Brought up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), she witnessed at first hand the racial tensions and entrenched attitudes of the era she depicts.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Doris Lessing doesn't disappoint in this tale of the inner turmoil and eventual breakdown of a woman living out her lonely and frustrating marriage to a farmer in the wilds of the African veldt. Lessing's ability to use language and punctuation to great effect to paint dramatic pictures of her surroundings and the inner feelings of the main character bring colour and deeper meaning to this often bleak tale. Characterisation is superb, bringing each of the players vividly to life. It brought fascinating and powerful insight into the whole issue of apartheid, which makes shocking reading particularly in the age that we now live in.Lessing does not hold back in her descriptions of the treatment meted out to native slaves by their white masters. This was a book choosen to be read by my local Book Club, and it provoked long and passionate debate at our recent meeting to discuss it. It's not a 'fun read', but it is certainly a riveting one. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition
First published in 1950, this is Doris Lessing's first novel but it took until 2007 for her to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Lessing was brought up in Zimbabwe and she witnessed at first hand the racial tensions and entrenched attitudes of the era she depicts. This is clear as soon as you start reading the book.

This is an uncomfortable and depressing story of the tragic and shocking consequences when Mary is taken from small town Rhodesia in the late 1940s to live on a remote farm with Dick, a husband she despises. 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. Mary is alone all day and her pain is very well described. We hear about her listening to the screaming of the cicadas, feeling the sun baking her through the tin roof of her house, enduring her aloneness and being ground down by the fight against poverty. She feels trapped and helpless and we can fell her pain. For the first time in her life, she encounters the black work force and their close proximity has a profound effect on her. She has one house servant, Moses, who upsets her and seems to hold control over her.

This a very grim and relentlessly depressing book but I couldn't put it down. It is very well written and the descriptions of Africa feel very, very real. Just be prepared to feel the effects of the book long after you have finished it.
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