- 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)
The Grass Is Singing Paperback – 15 Apr 2002
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‘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."
"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 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'
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Provides great insight into the South African situation during apartheid, concentrating on the lives of poor & under-educated whites in both the townships and farming communities. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mal Smith
Came out to Rhodesia, and her experiences and resultant views. I can't agree with the views most of the time, as I also went to that wonderful country for 40 years, and unlike... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lady Anne Shaw
A wonderful read. Very evocative of Southern Africa and the prevailing mindsets. Beautifully written.Published 10 months ago by Michael
I really enjoyed this thought provoking novel. The sense of place, and isolation is beautifully evoked. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Michelle Thompson