love,again Doris Lessing


Published: 1996

Hard Cover

352 pages


love,again  by  Doris Lessing

love,again by Doris Lessing
1996 | Hard Cover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 352 pages | ISBN: | 7.21 Mb

In lots of ways, this is probably a 3 star book. Its not very exciting. Most things that are suggested may happen never happen. But as with the other Lessing book Ive read, the quality of the insight is so good that it cant be discounted.

Usually I copy my favorite passages from dog-eared pages into my Goodreads review, but this time there were 20 of those pages and they required their own Google Doc. And, like with the other book, theyre a little scary.I liked this book right away, because a lot of what I like is right in the bones of the thing. Its kind of a miraculous recipe. I heartily approved of Sarah and all of the threads in her life. Her work at the theater is tantalizingly realistic (there is such a thing).

Her quick friendship with Stephen is wonderful and touching right away. Her unusual obligation to raising her niece Joyce, though Joyces parents are perfectly viable but unwilling, felt immediately serious to me. And the exposition of Julie Vairon, the thread stitching everything here together, was extremely appealing.The characters spend the book at work on a play (with music) about Julie Vairon, an obscure 19th century (fictional) figure who became famous after death as a composer, artist and diarist, of a background like Napoleons Josephine.

She lived alone in a forest outside a small French town, had a few serious love affairs, and drowned herself while in her thirties.I am pretty sure that if this all were true, I would really like Julie Vairon the figure. She seems extremely real and I can really imagine the way she would be appreciated now. A Womens History Month kind of person. I dont think however I would like Julie Vairon the play very much, but I suspended disbelief enough to let the characters think so.

The plays evolution is one of the books major signals -- the characters all have very distinct ways of relating to Julie, and their take on the play is the way we place them in Sarahs moral spectrum. France and England are characterized by their different responses to the productions, and at the end, we are bitterly disappointed when someone wants to make a musical.The atmosphere of the book is a really strong element, first the portion during the production in Julies semi-hometown in France, and then the portion where Sarah becomes a welcome guest of Stephens English country estate where the next production happens.

That place and their relationships to it reminded me a little of Brideshead. I wished shed spent even more time there, as all the time spent absorbing Stephens life was excellent, his quiet psychosis and strange marital situation. Really good.Whats funny about this book is that in a lot of ways the plot -- older woman falls in love with younger men, twice -- makes it sound really Oprah-friendly.

But Lessing is such a brutal writer. It seems theres always some dark insanity involved. A bit of danger, as these people will never recover from this ordinary pain.Sarah goes through so much pain with these feelings its almost enough to disconnect you from the story. All this for Bill, really? Bill sucks! Henry doesnt suck. Henry is great. But much, much time is spent in the detail of her unconsummated passions, which really go nowhere. For all the self-referential comparisons to bedroom farce, not one single bed gets hopped this whole time.

(Well, one off-screen, and not Sarahs.) I suppose thats part of the point, but France was mildly oppressive to read through with all of this. (Though maybe because I really didnt care about Bill, at all.)Once those are over, though, what shes left with is moving, as is her effort at caring for Stephen on his parallel paths. Between Stephen and her brother and Julie, so much of the thematic purpose of the novel comes together in the last 50 pages, its so strong.

A little odd because it seems it wasnt present earlier, but really it was, just quietly. In the scene when Elizabeth is so angry, and says its so irresponsible, I really thought she was directing the reproach at Sarah, because it sounded exactly like the senseless blame her brother always levied about his daughter.

Her reflections on being alone at the end go really deep.So Im really glad I read this, even though nothing happened.

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