Sep 5, 2008

Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing

Memoirs of a Survivor

This year I've read crappy books and I've read outstanding books, but this is the first one that bored me to sleep. Luckily, I read it on the Greyhound, so snoozing was pretty much the best thing I could have done. Thanks, Doris.

Maybe it's just different tastes. I feel like Lessing created a few flashes of a story I'd be interested in reading. Where were the gathering tribes going? What were all those people doing to scavenge the parts they sold in collected markets? What happened to folks picked up by the powers that be? What was the deal with the cat-dog? I wanted to know more about the amoral children living in the sewers and the sexual morals created in an end-times situation.

Instead I got a sort of dreamy, drifty, shoulder-shrugging, oblivious side view of the whole affair. A story about a girl's first experience with love and sex, but without any real passion applied to the tale telling. And something about an alternate reality that may or may not exist only in the narrator's mind.

final thought: Not my cup of tea, but there was enough happening around the borders that I wouldn't refuse to try another of her novels.


white rabbit said...

I've only read one Doris lessing novel (The Good Terrorist) and had a similar reaction - it was alright and good-ish in parts but less than riveting..

downtown guy said...

So that's sort of her style, I guess.

Mr Pineapples said...

Send you a book?

Why the bleedin' hell would I want to send you a book?

You some sort of free loader?

Ya cheap-skate.

And anyway

With The Krap you would never appreciate the type of highbrow literature of The Pineapples.

I might pinch a book from my 10 year old and send that one to you.

That's more you style

Send me a book?

Bloody Hell


Mr Pineapples said...

I knew it!

Blog Owner approval


I will send you


JRSM said...

This is probably the worst offender in that regard: I've read quite a lot of Lessing, and this is the only one I couldn't finish (and I like end-of-the-world stuff). If you want some GOOD, READABLE science-fiction by her, try 'The Fifth Child'.

downtown guy said...

I've already got a copy. But I appreciate the offer.

downtown guy said...

jrsm: I'll keep an eye out for it. Like I said, I'd be willing to give her another shot.

Anonymous said...

Yup, yup, yup. The whole apocalypse thing was a sidebar. Parenthetical, if you will. Seeds of a terrific story here but a very odd execution. The links between the narrator's emotional state and the "place behind the wall" were so tight that at one point I actually thought the whole thing -- Emily, Hugo, "it," the feral children -- was going to turn out be a hallucination about the narrator's abusive childhood. Glad that turned out not to be true, that's almost as bad as the "Oh, it was ooonly a dream" tack.

downtown guy said...

No kidding, that's always a slap in the face. I mean, MOAS wasn't exactly what I wanted to read, but at least it didn't stoop to that level.

Sadako said...

She also wrote one called the Cleft about a society of women who one day evolve a man...I think. Or something. It got kind of weird reviews. I've always wanted to read her but never got around to it. Maybe I'll read that one but avoid this one as it sounds very meh.

downtown guy said...

Tell me how that one goes.