We start with Anna. In the beginning we don't care too much about her. Communist, expatriate, disillusioned novelist. The facts of her life dip and bob like bath toys. We all float on the surface. But Doris Lessing is such a generous writer. Soon we have Anna's life, really all of it, every aching nuance in our hands like a screaming clump of soil. And we're screaming too, and we're eating the dirt, and we're crying because it's us.— Carly
If, like me, you finished Ferrante then flung yourself at every next book in desperation, disappointed when each failed to match that Italian's intellectual splendor then lo, here is your salve. It's a fiction as rich and tangled as real life. Were I mad I might literally consume this book one perfect page at a time in hope of gaining a mite of its wisdom and verve. Until then, a portion of my person is set aside for The Golden Notebook: for its main character, Anna Wulf, the writer who cannot write; for its ambitious, relevant structure (novels within novels within notebooks within notebooks); for the words it gave to feelings I've never dared give words. Save this for when nothing less than magnificence will do.— Landon
Landon is right. If you thirst always for the heady thrills of a Ferrante novel, read The Golden Notebook, which brings the sweep of history into the bedroom and the bedroom into the sweep of history. Gender, art-making, depression, empire, the frustrated utopianism of the left—its concerns are very much today's.— Sam
"The Golden Notebook is Doris Lessing's most important work and has left its mark upon the ideas and feelings of a whole generation of women." — New York Times Book Review
Anna is a writer, author of one very successful novel, who now keeps four notebooks. In one, with a black cover, she reviews the African experience of her earlier years. In a red one she records her political life, her disillusionment with communism. In a yellow one she writes a novel in which the heroine relives part of her own experience. And in a blue one she keeps a personal diary. Finally, in love with an American writer and threatened with insanity, Anna resolves to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook.
Lessing's best-known and most influential novel, The Golden Notebook retains its extraordinary power and relevance decades after its initial publication.
Winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature, Doris Lessing was one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of our time, the recipient of a host of international awards. She wrote more than thirty books—among them the novels Martha Quest, The Golden Notebook, and The Fifth Child. She died in 2013.
“A work of high seriousness....Absorbing and exciting.” — Irving Howe, New Republic
“The Golden Notebook is Doris Lessing’s most important work and has left its mark upon the ideas and feelings of a whole generation of women.” — Elizabeth Hardwick, New York Times Book Review
“A rewarding book, and an unusually perceptive one.” — Milwaukee Journal
“This exciting writer has tried much, aimed high, and has paraded a galaxy of gifts.” — Baltimore Sun
“No ordinary work of fiction…The technique, in a word, is brilliant.” — Saturday Review