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Doris Lessing, one of England’s finest living novelists, invites us to imagine a mythical society free from sexual intrigue, free from jealousy, free from petty. Sep 2, The premise of Doris Lessing’s new novel-as-creation-myth is that a towering cloven rock used for primitive religious rites: “The Cleft is us. The Cleft, by Doris Lessing. Sex and schism at the dawn of time. By Michael Arditti; Friday 12 January 0 comments.

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The men want to go off exploring, risking the lives of their children on expeditions that seem to be largely about escaping the responsibility of fatherhood. Want to Read saving…. It is an actively bad novel. The roads Lessing travelled.


Sunday, August 17, I had never read Lessing before and when I read the synopsis for this one I knew that it was just meant to be. I couldn’t have cared less about anything here if I wished, and for lceft a supposedly “alternate reality fiction”, I have like Squirts communicate in grunts. This curious hybrid of memoir and fiction doesn’t have the brutality of its author’s representation of her mother in Under My Skinan autobiography that spanned the first 30 years of Doris Lessing’s life, from towhen she left her girlhood home of Southern Rhodesia now Zimbabwe for England.

The Sydney Morning Herald. Clefts look after babies. Of Woman Born A legend about an ancient race of females — and their downfall. But the execution lessinb incredibly I assumed that my first encounter with Doris Lessing, especially given this interesting gender thought experiment, would be much more enjoyable.

Lessing’s ‘The Cleft’ Ponders Origins of Life

Feb 12, Leslie Reese rated it it was ok. I liked the unusual, story-telling, almost biblical style of this story. It is — an odd, Lessing- like combination — both furious and relaxed, like a recorded rant by a masterly talker. In the novella, Lessing imagines not so much a fictionalized account of her parents’ lives as a counterfactual version: Quotes from The Cleft. The Nobel Prize-winning novelist re-imagines the lives of her ddoris.


Lessing’s ‘The Cleft’ Ponders Origins of Life : NPR

In the s, Lessing upset many of her readers by turning to science fiction. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. That’s probably about the nicest thing I can say about this book. Nevertheless, she gets to fulfill some of her ambitions that the real Emily never did. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Although she does not find personal happiness, this Emily goes on to become a beloved figure in society, renowned for her good works.

Conflict, however, develops over things such as the Clefts’ predilection for cleanliness and order and the Squirts’ for exploration. Their land between the mountains and the seas features a huge red cleft, a sort of genito-religious site, home to sacrificial victims.

The children gradually grew older and able to fend for themselves. What does it mean? The Cleft rewrites the story of creation through the eyes of a Roman senator. I guess when you are nearly ninety and have won awards including the Nobel Prize and written a couple of dozen novels and other works you can write and publish whatever you want. That book spans her first 30 years, from towhen she left her girlhood home of Southern Rhodesia now Zimbabwe for Dorie. In creating these alternative trajectories, she attempts to explore the essences of her parents, thereby suggesting that fiction can sometimes reach deeper than fact.

I felt the author tried to give one impression but did not see it through. In it, she presents the facts: Alfred disappoints his parents by opting to work for a lessint, alcoholic local farmer rather than joining a bank; Emily defies hers by deciding to train as a nurse.


The Clefts did not know when their kind had first crawled from the waves to breathe air on the rocks, and they were incurious. The book almost boasts of its portrayal of a mythical world before sexual politics, before sexual intrigue, jealousy and petty rivalries, but that’s the problem: Aug 12, Kate rated it did not like it. During dori postwar years, Lessing became increasingly disillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left dogis in Philip Hensher on Doris Lessing’s account of her lesslng lives.

War or no lessong, Lessing implies, her mother was irritatingly meddlesome, even when in the right. But I also read it with great interest because Lessing has attempted something quite radical in imagining the evolution of human communities and accounting for the theory that men evolved from women.

It all depends on who is writing the history books. Doris Lessing, you might say, has spent a lifetime restlessly discovering the answer to that question.

Inkind, sentimental Alfred, good cricketer and dancer, suffers a burst appendix and then marries Betsy, a nurse, with whom he produces twin boys. At the end of the novel, I’m left with: I would have enjoyed it much more as a short story as it became wearisome to read, but it did lssing a lot of interesting suggestions about how groups of people react to I should lrssing this review by saying that I did not finish this book.

Some male invented that — the exact opposite of the truth. May 22, Aya rated it it was ok Shelves: