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.

Author: Tojagore Meztirr
Country: Reunion
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Career
Published (Last): 22 July 2011
Pages: 273
PDF File Size: 19.13 Mb
ePub File Size: 4.12 Mb
ISBN: 923-6-75461-484-6
Downloads: 2195
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Mizuru

There is a thematic and mystical cleft along lesslng mountain pass, a volcanic vent of sorts, which seems intended to represent the female mysteries, the male attraction to and fear of them, and their eventual shattering as a result of random masculine violence.

This book could have been titled ‘Be careful what you wish for’.

Women and children first

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. In the first half of this book Ms. Novels are nothing if not a testament to the significance of individual experience; it’s as if Lessing is trying to make things as difficult for herself as possible.

Open Preview See a Problem? In having her parents meet but not marry, Lessing suggests that their connection was solely based on adversity. When a stray Cleft wanders over the ridge from the ocean caves, they quickly learn why they are pessing the way they are. After predictable phases of denial, anger, mutilation, murder and reconciliation, the human race as we know it is born.

The women keep and mutilate some of the babies, but more are rescued. But it was bitter, that moment when he handed her the money in its separate envelopes. It was slow and dull.

If the first half is speculative and disconcertingly dreamlike, the second is like a bomb going off. Published 15 January The second half is worth the price of admission, though the first, speculative half shows some flagging of energy.

Mar 06, Betsy rated it really liked it. And so they go on, in this version of events, meeting but never marrying – she lessign wed unhappily the man she always cleeft might have been the love of her life, a doctor who dies suddenly at 50; he settled on a smallholding, embroiled in the life of the village.


It took a while before I found out, that it was a Roman historian that tells the story, I could have used that from the beginning. In her lesssing, her parents went there for no better reason than, on leave from Persia in London, they visited the Empire Exhibition at Wembley. Feb 10, Kimi rated it really liked it. As she goes on, she interrogates what she imagines for them, unpicks her alternative stitching of things and finds it arises from those moments of wistfulness her parents allowed themselves, those troubling hints to Lessing and her brother that life could have been better.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Almost all narratives commence with a change; in this case, that inciting incident is the birth of a male baby into a species of parthenogenic, semi-aquatic women.

In the end I don’t know really what to say about this book. What an amazing book, bringing together as it lssing Lessing’s radicalism, her feminism and her propensity for speculative fiction in a marvelous near-birthday gift from one of the great mothers of the contemporary novel.

She does this vis-a-vis an elderly Roman historian who is writing his account of the history of the Clefts. Debra Adelaide is a writer and editor, whose last book is Acts of Dog Vintage. lesaing

The Cleft – Wikipedia

Actually, I was embarrassed to read this as I revere DL and have enjoyed watching her evolve as a writer. Lessing has said that if she wants to write about a subject or situation, she does just that. Doris Lessing’s The Cleft may actuall I did not finish this book.

The gap is the one in which the writer has always lived. Even the kindest summary of this story makes it sound risible, but cpeft my mind the novel is problematic because Lessing lrssing so many of lessnig fundamentals of fiction: The might-have-beens remove at a stroke the first obstacle to all of the last century’s unhappiness.

There is, though, a problem, in that the novel has barely any people, so there can’t be any characters. But after he married Emily, who met him in the hospital where she was nursing wounded British soldiers, they immigrated with great hopes for their future, first to Persia, where Taylor worked in a bank, and then to Rhodesia, where the couple bought a farm.


The matriarchs of the Clefts, however, feared the “monsters” and decided to try to kill them off. Lessing’s The Cleft offers the reader an almost non-fiction account of an alternative creation story. And if there are those who criticize us, then I have only one reply. Jan 03, Tweedledum rated it really liked it Shelves: Debra Adelaide, reviewer December 29, But, clett reality, this is a novel that doeis to have no political allegiance, beyond a statement that women came first.

Real and imagined parents.

They seem to lack the solidity of women, who seem to be endowed with a natural harmony with the ways of the world Extracted from the pamphlet: Elizabeth Bear is the author of “Carnival” and other novels. The fictional Emily, a nurse like her biographical counterpart, marries a doctor and remains childless; Alfred, a mild and playful family man, farms in rural England.

Alfred lost a leg in the trenches and developed diabetes, towards the end of his life begging to be put down like a sick horse. Intriguingly, it is also a world in which their only daughter is never born. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Doirs has a brief affair with a Scottish poet, who dies suddenly.

Lessing’s ‘The Cleft’ Ponders Origins of Life

I guess this was just not for me. I thought I had made a bad choice when I read some of them but I loved this book, well, I loved the clever, witty gender politics that ran all the way through it just underneath the story. Lessing wrote about her family more directly and expansively in the first volume of her autobiography, “Under My Skin”