The Golden Notebook: Perennial Classics edition

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Feb 3, 1999 - Fiction - 672 pages
498 Reviews

Anna is a writer, author of one very successful novel, who now keeps four notebooks. In one, with a black cover, she reviews the African experience of her earlier year. In a red one she records her political life, her disillusionment with communism. In a yellow one she writes a novel in which the heroine reviles part of her own experience. And in the blue one she keeps a personal diary. Finally, in love with an American writer and threatened with insanity, Anna tries to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook.


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This writer sure likes her whiskey. - Goodreads
I found this very hard to read, and engage with. - Goodreads
Enjoyed the insights into 1950's communism. - Goodreads
It was really hard to read, m - Goodreads
I also liked the premise. - Goodreads
Also the writing is way too verbose for me. - Goodreads

Review: The Golden Notebook

User Review  - Alejandra - Goodreads

This has been an experience I can only compare to those that cause shock in real life. One of the best books I've ever read, incredibly well written, and with a masterful manage of style and form. A portrait of the mind of a woman with time and intelligence. Read full review

Review: The Golden Notebook

User Review  - faria - Goodreads

i read this in 8th grade when i didn't understand 99% of it. if i read it now i'd still not understand it. good book though. Read full review

All 201 reviews »


Anna meets her friend Molly in the summer
of 1957after a separation
Two visits some telephone calls and a tragedy
Tommy adjusts himself to being blind while
4 433
Molly gets married and Anna has an affair
About Doris Lessing

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Popular passages

Page xix - But my major aim was to shape a book which would make its own comment, a wordless statement : to talk through the way it was shaped.
Page 59 - If there is one thing we can be sure of, it is that competent and informative novels will continue to pour from the publishing houses.
Page 205 - A vaginal orgasm is emotion and nothing else, felt as emotion and expressed in sensations that are indistinguishable from emotion. The vaginal orgasm is a dissolving in a vague, dark generalised sensation like being swirled in a warm whirlpool. There are several different sorts of clitoral orgasms, and they are more powerful (that is a male word) than the vaginal orgasm. There can be a thousand thrills, sensations, etc., but there is only one real female orgasm and that is when a man, from the whole...
Page xviii - How little I have managed to say of the truth, how little I have caught of all that complexity; how can this small neat thing be true when what I experienced was so rough and apparently formless and unshaped.
Page 203 - Sex is best when not thought about, not analysed. Women deliberately choose not to think about technical sex. They get irritable when men talk technically, it's out of selfpreservation: they want to preserve the spontaneous emotion that is essential for their satisfaction.
Page 609 - I can't write that short story or any other, because at that moment I sit down to write, someone comes into the room, looks over my shoulder, and stops me'. 'Who? Do you know?'.
Page 440 - Ella, walking slowly about a big empty room, thinking, waiting. I, Anna, see Ella. Who is, of course, Anna. But that is the point, for she is not. The moment I, Anna, write: Ella rings up Julia to announce, etc., then Ella floats away from me and becomes someone else. I don't understand what happens at the moment Ella separates herself from me and becomes Ella.
Page 455 - I didn't recognise myself. Matching what I had written with what I remembered it all seemed false. And this — the untruthfulness of what I had written was because of something I had not thought of before — my sterility. The deepening note of criticism, of defensiveness, of dislike. It was then I decided to use the blue notebook, this one, as nothing but a record of facts. Every evening I sat on the music-stool and wrote down my day, and it was as if I, Anna, were nailing Anna to the page. Every...
Page 204 - There are several differ215 ent sorts of clitoral orgasms, and they are more powerful (that is a male word) than the vaginal orgasm. There can be a thousand thrills, sensations, etc., but there is only one real female orgasm and that is when a man, from the whole of his need and desire, takes a woman and wants all...
Page 3 - The point is," said Anna, as her friend came back from the telephone on the landing, "the point is, that as far as I can see, everything's cracking up.

References to this book

R. W. Connell
No preview available - 2002
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About the author (1999)

Doris Lessing, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature, is one of the most celebrated and distinguished writers of our time. She lives in north London.

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