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4.1 out of 5 stars
94
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Grass is Singing
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on 25 July 2014
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 almost sub human. Hopefully things have moved on since the earlier years of the 20th century.
Dick and Mary Turner are gossiped about by the neighbours and are regarded as having "let the side down" because they struggle with their farm and their own ineptness. To the extent that Charlie Slatter a neighbour and successful farmer, will go as far as helping them to move on- not wholly altruistic, as Charlie has his eyes on Dick's land.
A very thought provoking story.
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on 17 October 2017
Hard going but must persevere I'm sure it will get better after halfway
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on 11 March 2017
An incredible author. Excellent. Will read any of her books.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 5 December 2007
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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on 25 September 2017
"The Grass" is a bleak, but brilliantly crafted novel.

I admit to having some difficulty in understanding the three main figures fully. However, this wasn't due to poor portrayal. On the contrary, their characterisation was exceptional and there was more than a hint of psychological issues, if not downright personality disorders. The depth of the characters is one thing that sets the book apart from run-of-the-mill yarns. In addition the authentic Rhodesian setting, complete with its chillingly casual racism, made for a particularly interesting backdrop.
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on 14 January 2014
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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on 25 January 2012
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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on 23 January 2014
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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on 2 April 2015
So 1950's.
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on 10 July 2014
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 literature. However it does not tell you that there are another three short novel in the Kindle download. These are much more interesting than the Grass is Singing but they do not make up for the tedium of the main novel.
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