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Fact or fiction?



Here, Susie Linfield’s essay reviewing both fiction and non-fiction on one place, Zimbabwe. I started reading this at a different site which did not show, as it does at the top of the full article in Dissent Magazine, that it was an essay review of a set of books on Zimbabwe. But because Doris Lessing was mentioned at the end of the first paragraph, I wondered if her descriptions of the country, fictional and non-fictional, might come into it, so carried on. There is already a link to Doris Lessing’s return to Zimbabwe with her brother, African Childhoods: indentity, race and autobiography. Link directly, or you can find it in a previous post by clicking the side-panel tag link African childhoods.

Before I got beyond the first few paragraphs, struck by the vivid and detailed historical, journalistic account of Zimbabwe, I was wondering about if fiction or no-fiction was better at describing a place, a time, a people. In other words, is it the nature of the method which gets at the truth or the quality of the writing? A soon as I got to the first review, on Peter Godwin’s, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, I was forming a view.

Slowly, as the books are revealed and reviewed there is an answer to this question: that no fiction could possibly do a better job than a well crafted non-fiction: except that this leads inexorably to the paradoxical notion of all writing being fiction.



October 27, 2007 Posted by | African childhoods, Doris Lessing, fiction, fiction vs. non- fiction, non-fiction, Writing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Doris Lessing – Nobel Prize for Literature 2007



Common knowledge already – news travels fast in the digital age. On British TV this evening we see Doris disembarking from a black cab outside her house in London, to be given the news by what sounded like an American TV man. A younger, large man behind her inside the cab – holding a large artichoke in one hand and what looks like a long string of onions in the other – who, it appears from other reports, was a journo on the scene doing a good turn.

‘I couldn’t care less’ about Nobel Prize: Lessing

CTV.ca from Associated Press

The Daily Express accurately reported the next bit:

As she got out of a taxi at her north London home, Lessing told reporters: “This has been going on for 30 years. I’ve won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I’m delighted to win them all. It’s a royal flush.”

Harold Bloom thinks it’s political correctness: Reason.com

….pure political correctness. Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable … fourth-rate science fiction.

There’s a longish biography in Dorislessing.org

Appreciate some advice on the best starter Lessing.

I have posted somewhere in Moleskine Modality about her and her brother re-visiting the old haunts in Zimbabwe which is retold in this 1999 academic article, similarities Between Virginia Woolf and Doris Lessing.

Also, African Childhoods: indentity, race and autobiography

by

Tony Simoes da Silva, School of English, University of Exeter.



October 12, 2007 Posted by | Doris Lessing, Fame, fiction, Literature, Novel, Novelist, Writing | , , , | Leave a comment