The Golden Notebook

First published in 1962 and now considered one of the major works of the twentieth-century literature, The Golden Notebook is the story of Anna Wulf, a divorced single mother and novelist, labouring against writer's block in 1950s London. Fearful of going mad, she records her experiences in four coloured notebooks. The black noebook records her writing life, the red her political views, the yellow notebook her emotional life and the blue everyday events. But it is the fifth notebook - the golden notebook - that brings the strands of her life together and holds the key to her recovery.

The Golden Notebook is an account of a woman searching for her personal and political identity, negotiating the trauma of emotional rejection and sexual betrayal, professional anxieties, and the tensions of friendship and family.

fiction, lust, morals, politics, relationships
Doris Lessing
Harper Perrenial

There is an idea which crosses the novel and still visits my mind occasionally, out of formal and informal conversations on different concepts about Art’s function, out of observations of people’s daily life or circumstantial attitudes within various interactions. I’m thinking of the connection Lessing highlights between “art” and “incapacity to live”, which the hero-narrator hysterically despises and points out as the subject matter of art for the 20th Century (p.76). The hero-narrator comments on the complacent look ignorant people cast on the artist’s ways of life. The reader might better not lose the sight of the fact that The Golden Notebook was first written on the early 60’s, although different discussions about what that relation between “art” and “incapacity to live” would mean could anyway lead to interesting and fruitful insights.

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