Saturday 14 November 2020

The Grass Is Singing

Finished November 13 
The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing

This novel was one I was due to read with my book club this year, but plans changed. I decided to read it anyway since I had it on my shelves. 
To me this reads as a tragedy. The main character here Mary, grew up in South Africa and Rhodesia, moving around to different stations with her parents. Theirs was not a happy marriage, and Mary escaped to the city young, and became an office worker. Her emotional growth was a bit stunted, never leaving the phase of innocent teenage flirting. She was good at her job, and it was only when she overheard gossip about herself that she became dissatisfied with her life and began to look to marriage as a solution. 
Her impetuous marriage to a veldt farmer in Rhodesia was not the solution she needed, but it is where she found herself. 
We know from the beginning of the book her end, there on the farm, through an act of violence. The book takes us through how she got to that place, the various people that had a role in that life, from her husband Dick to their closest neighbour and the black workers that were on the farm.
This is an immensely sad book, and one mourns the forces that took these characters on this journey. Mental health is definitely one of them as we see the deterioration in both Mary and Dick through their time together. 
So well written, but so so sad.
Language warning: First published in 1950, this book uses racial terms that are not acceptable now.

1 comment:

  1. I have read only one book by Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook. I read it when it first was published and then years later with my book club, with women a lot younger who did not understand it.

    This book sounds very sad indeed but maybe we need stories like that from time to time in order to understand different times and cultures. I liked The Golden Notebook, so will try to find this one.

    Thanks for your review.