Doris Lessing died at 94 years old on 17th November 2013. Upon being given the Nobel prize for literature in 2007 when Doris was 88 years old this tough old bird unimpressed had said, “Ah Christ!” I liked her instantaneously and immediately set about researching all about her and her work and picked up a copy of her first book published in 1950. Apparently she carried the manuscript of The Grass is Singing with her from Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to England. She was desperate to escape the life of white Rhodesia she found suffocating and insufferable which filled the pages of her first novel.
“She felt as if she were in a dark tunnel, nearing something final, something she could not visualize, but which waited for her inexorably, inescapably .”
– Doris Lessing, The Grass is Singing
Doris Lessing as a writer speaks to me on a personal level as well as being able to teach me something new. So far I have only read one book of Doris Lessing’s but I will be reading as much as I can by Lessing in 2014 and I can already see that her work is going to have a profound influence on my writing.
I wish I had come across her work when she was still alive, but I think that Doris Lessing would give a little smile to know her books will continue to influence generations of women after her..or maybe she would just comment, “Oh for god’s sake!”