"that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"
Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize for literature this year. She has me shaking in my farmhouse over a cup of chamomile tea at 10:41 pm. An hour I haven't seen in a long time- what with waking up everyday at 3:48 am (a scant 5 hours from now). I just finished reading The Memoirs of a Survivor.
The only thing hopeful about this novel is the title. She Survived? She wrote Memoirs? Wasn't killed by the hoards of 4-year wild cannibal "kids."? Come to think of it at this late hour-- she probably was making some kind of analogy about how little kids can sure eat us up-- time, energy, emotions. Hmmmmm. I've got a few of those running lose around my house too. But in the book the hoards of subterranean wordless children actually kill people and eat them. They don't just confine them to playing Pinky Pie My Little Pony tea time with Hot Wheels action for the Little Ponies (when all I REALLY want is a nap-- because I've been up since 3:44 a.m.).
Ok-- so WHO told me to read this book? I forgot who you are but remind me why you said that this was a tale of hopeful survival in the face of collapse and apocalypse? Why did I rush into Borders to buy this book on your recommendations that it would buoy me in the face of the other apocolyptic books on my night stand? I know you are someone I respect because I bought the book immediately upon your suggestions. It helped that there was a new little "Winner of the NOBLE PRIZE in literature" sticker on the front. Please write me and let me know what you found redeeming.
The book wasn't really scary until the end-- until all of the people had left the city and the author (Doris says this is as close to an autobiography as she has written) and the young girl/woman character are left alone in the city with the cannibal children in the stories above them. It was them being alone in the city that scared me. It was even more frightening just now when I walked down my pitch black stairs looking out the living room window on acres and miles of dark, empty land. I knew-- just 10 minutes ago-- that I could not stay on this farm alone. I can't be here without Mike, Alma, Jens, and Lake. What would I do without Mike? And Happy. If Happy started to bark now I would be terrified-- not just scared. The other thing that scared me was that there was no place to escape to:
"...where would we be going? To what? There was silence from out there, the places so many people had set off to reach. No word ever came back.... And what of all those people who had left, the multitudes, what had happened to them? They might as well have walked off the edge of a flat world.... news from the east: yes, it seemed that there was life of a sort down there still. A few people even farmed, grew crops, made lives. "Down there"-- "out there"-- we did hear ofd these places; they were alive for us.... But north and west, no. Nothing but cold and silence"
Looks like I'll keep writing.... if interested you can click on Continue reading.