Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Doris Lessing

Must speak of Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize for Literature awarded this month. I am so thrilled for this amazing woman! Now I must confess a certain block of her work leaves me cold, chiefly the middle-class women's stuff. As with Margaret Atwood's writing, I admire the intellect and the exquisite craftsmanship, but the content has nothing to say to me. Yet Lessing's speculative fiction is something else. It began with Briefing for a Descent into Hell and reached its peak with the Canopus series. I go into raptures at the thought of The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five and also The Making of the Representative for Planet 8. The first is a mind-opening study of love and sex while the second paints images that still echo in my mind years after I have read them. Conventional critics have never understood Lessing's Sufi-inspired work (she was introduced by no lesser a light than Idries Shah!) but that's because they are blockheads who refuse to look outside the box.

No comments: