Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949 (英語) ペーパーバック – 1995/6/23
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The first volume of the autobiography of Doris Lessing, author of `The Grass is Singing' and `The Golden Notebook', and Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Winner of the James Tait Black Prize 1994. Doris Lessing's autobiography begins with her childhood in Africa and ends on her arrival in London in 1949 with the typescript of her first novel in her suitcase. It charts the evolution first of her consciousness, then of her sexuality and finally of her political awareness with an almost overwhelming immediacy, and is as distinctive and challenging as anything she has ever written. It is already recognised as one of the great autobiographies of the twentieth century.
`Passionate and compelling, a book so packed with extraordinary images that it has obliterated almost everything else I read in 1994.' Rose Tremain `In this immediate, vivid, beautifully paced memoir, Doris Lessing sets the individual against history, the personal against the general and shows, by the example of her life set down honestly, how biography and fiction mesh, how fiction transmutes the personal to the general, how the particular experience illuminates the universe. By putting her life on the page, she has created her greatest work of art.' Hilary Mantel, LRB `The book pulsates with life. The intensity of the sensory world is brilliantly evoked ... Not just the story of the first thirty years of one life, this is the biography also of an age.' Jane Dunn, Observer商品の説明をすべて表示する
I will get back to it shortly. And, then there's the second part to plow through.
acquired very little insight into the circumstances of her youth.
There is nothing special about the writing.
It begins with the story of how Doris Taylor's parents' met in the aftermath of World War I, in the hospital where her mother was a nurse and her father was recovering from the loss of a leg. With remarkable vividness she describes her earliest experiences, first in a country house in the mountains of Persia (now Iran) and then in the city of Teheran.
The Taylors then moved to a farm in Southern Africa. Except the farm wasn't actually there yet - when they got there, the land had to be cleared and the house built. Doris describes her father sitting and smoking with the native African foreman of the crew that was building the house, talking with great profundity but just a few words, while the little Doris played nearby. This scene stood out for me, because it seemed to explain why the young Doris always took it for granted that the indigenous people were human beings deserving of equal rights, when the society she was growing up in was based on the premise that they were not. Yet she never mentions her father, whom she also describes as criticizing her mother for speaking disrespectfully to the servants, as a positive influence in this area.
I loved the book's evocation of landscape; the plants, animals, earth and sky of southern Africa. The girl whose story this is seems a part of that landscape, a creature of bush and veld and vlei. She struck me as unflappable, irrepressible, sensual, and somehow larger than life. When she describes the first money she earned, by shooting some birds and selling them to the local butcher, I imagined her a bronzed Artemis, striding through the bush with a rifle over her shoulder. It seems this was her true home, which she loved passionately, yet where she could not live, because the exploitation of the indigenous people was intolerable and would have driven her insane if she'd stayed. She hasn't exactly described the loss, in so many words, but I feel it, poignantly.
This autobiography is also a remarkable piece of history, vividly documenting British colonialism in Southern Rhodesia during this period, as well as World War I and its effects on an entire generation, World War II, and the influence of colonial racism in pushing whites who couldn't stand the injustice into communism.
If you are a Doris Lessing fan, you must read this book. If you'd like a first-hand history of the first half of the 20th century, read it. If you're not a Lessing fan because you've tried to read her work and found it too wordy or intellectual, you might really enjoy this one. Loved it!