Read The Diaries of Jane Somers: The Diary of a Good Neighbor and If The Old Could by Doris Lessing Free Online
Book Title: The Diaries of Jane Somers: The Diary of a Good Neighbor and If The Old Could|
The author of the book: Doris Lessing
ISBN 13: 9780394729558
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 26.25 MB
Date of issue: October 12th 1984
Read full description of the books The Diaries of Jane Somers: The Diary of a Good Neighbor and If The Old Could:The Diaries of Jane Somers is actually 2 short novels, written by famous author Doris Lessing under the pen name of Jane Somers as part of an experiment to see if her writing could get published without her famous name. The stories are written in a diary format by Jane, a widowed editor of a glossy London fashion magazine. Jane is in her mid-50's and exudes competence, not only in her job, but in her impeccable appearance, home and relationships. In the first story, The Diary of a Good Neighbor, Jane helps out Maudie Fowler, an elderly woman who she runs into at a pharmacy. She gradually gets drawn into Maudie's life, initially in a superficial way, bringing her treats and drinking tea at her dingy flat. But as Jane gets to know this bitter and fierce old lady, Jane's picture perfect life changes and she becomes emotionally tied to Maudie.
I loved the descriptions of Maudie and her life. Poor and feeble, the daily chores of finding food and keeping clean, while trying to maintain a bit of dignity seem almost insurmountable to this old woman. Although the descriptions go on for pages and pages with minimum action, I was swept away by this story. Initially, I felt sorry for Maudie and hoped that I would never be like her. But by the end of the story I had admiration and respect for this old warrior - what a character.
The second novel was not as enjoyable for me. Jane meets a strange man and falls instantly in love, only the man is married and does not want to leave his wife. Their relationship continues in a strange way as they meet regularly while being stalked by his daughter and her dysfunctional niece. The writing continued to captivate me, but the plot seemed bizarre and unsettling.
Read information about the authorBoth of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Olive Schreiner and Nadine Gordimer), Lessing made herself into a self-educated intellectual.
In 1937 she moved to Salisbury, where she worked as a telephone operator for a year. At nineteen, she married Frank Wisdom, and had two children. A few years later, feeling trapped in a persona that she feared would destroy her, she left her family, remaining in Salisbury. Soon she was drawn to the like-minded members of the Left Book Club, a group of Communists "who read everything, and who did not think it remarkable to read." Gottfried Lessing was a central member of the group; shortly after she joined, they married and had a son.
During the postwar years, Lessing became increasingly disillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left altogether in 1954. By 1949, Lessing had moved to London with her young son. That year, she also published her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, and began her career as a professional writer.
In June 1995 she received an Honorary Degree from Harvard University. Also in 1995, she visited South Africa to see her daughter and grandchildren, and to promote her autobiography. It was her first visit since being forcibly removed in 1956 for her political views. Ironically, she is welcomed now as a writer acclaimed for the very topics for which she was banished 40 years ago.
In 2001 she was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, one of Spain's most important distinctions, for her brilliant literary works in defense of freedom and Third World causes. She also received the David Cohen British Literature Prize.
She was on the shortlist for the first Man Booker International Prize in 2005. In 2007 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
(Extracted from the pamphlet: A Reader's Guide to The Golden Notebook & Under My Skin, HarperPerennial, 1995. Full text available on www.dorislessing.org).
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