Doris Lessing , the ex-Zimbabwean writer, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature at the age of 88.
Like many others I began with The Golden Notebook. The angry women in a London flat talking, scribbling, dreaming of a better life. Women and men crashing into one another, sexual craziness. Mindfucking.
Keeping different notebooks for the unintegrated selves and wondering about madness and creativity.
Then discovering Martha Quest and the Children of Violence, the restless, sexually hungry and discontented young woman of Landlocked. The empty blue skies, the brutal politics, the unchanging face of a heartless society. Lessing, banned in the colonial Rhodesia of my childhood, was writing my mother’s life; the bitter futile days, the hedonism, the light and random affairs, the lurking violence and alcoholism. As in time I would understand that Lessing was scripting something too of my life, the determination to live differently while making the same mistakes.
It began with The Golden Notebook. Everything she wrote was for me about Africa, especially the fantasy set on other galaxies, utopias and dystopias of the anti-colonial imagination. Exploring the unfamiliar in the ordinary, the anger hidden deep, buried, in a woman sitting at a kitchen table, unaware her anger could remake the world, or destroy herself.