Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To Room Nineteen” as Want to Read:
To Room Nineteen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To Room Nineteen

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  500 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
For more than four decades, Doris Lessing's work has wittily and wryly observed the muddle and passion of human relations, unflinchingly dissected its truths and shown us the unique quality of her understanding.

From the magnificent 'To Room Nineteen', a study of a dry, controlled middle class marriage 'grounded in intelligence', to the shocking and sharp 'A Woman on a Roo

Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 10th 1994 by Flamingo (first published 1958)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about To Room Nineteen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about To Room Nineteen

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 04, 2013 Zanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are my thoughts on the title story only.

Susan Rawlings is married to a man she has loved, has four beloved children, is financially comfortable, and seeks a centre and purpose for her life. (view spoiler)
Dec 17, 2015 Carolina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story had me at “The Rawlings’ marriage was grounded in intelligence”, because that’s the kind of statement that is a) a recipe for disaster; b) such a sardonic remark that sets the ironic tone right away – just the way I like it.

It turns out that I really like Doris Lessing. This is quite different from the book I’ve read of hers (The Cleft) and kind of reminds me of Atwood (for me, that’s a great compliment). They have the same dry sarcastic sort of writing. It also reminds me of Gilman
Laura Rittenhouse
Nov 23, 2011 Laura Rittenhouse rated it it was amazing
I actually only read Room 19 (my version wasn't a collection) and LOVED it. It's obvious why Lessing won the Nobel prize - she can write!

Room 19 is a simple story about a frustrated housewife. Her life goes exactly according to plan which leaves her at a loss when she can't manage happiness. This story is a fantastic character piece that really gets you into the head of someone you might know, might even be, but would rather not deal with. You could easily summarise this as a book about an ungra
Kally Sheng
Feb 03, 2014 Kally Sheng rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They had everything they had wanted and had planned for.
And yet...

That's the problem!
Too much of something is in itself a sickness that can drive you to madness. When you have everything you have ever wished for, have ever wanted and planned for, what is there more to have and look forward to then?
Lady Jane
Jul 22, 2015 Lady Jane rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Estoy impresionada. ¡Qué manera de acabar el libro con el cuento To Room Nineteen! Me ha dejado un poco en una especie de shock.

Los cuentos han sido representaciones de una europa posguerra. Los personajes se encuentran llevando una vida lo más "normal" posible. Tenemos protagonistas mujeres, hombres, incluso niños que son muy bien representados en historias con las que puedes relacionarte. Algunas historias son de valentía, otras de fuertes deseos sin realizar, otras de amor, otras de desamor.
Apr 14, 2014 Miriam rated it really liked it

This small novel was very helpful to understand and discuss the "trapped housewife syndrome" in class for gender studies. At first place I thought it would only be another story about a depressed housewife who is not able to find fulfillment in her daily routine and family life, but it had some very nice metaphors and descriptions of feelings in it. Some parts were really exciting and catching for me (dialogues with her husband, hotel feelings).The ending left me with a dull and sad feeling and
Dawn Lamm
Feb 02, 2014 Dawn Lamm rated it it was amazing
Wonderful discussion on identity.....
Sep 26, 2016 Adi rated it liked it
I'm sure I'll be thinking about the title story for some time.

“Susan prowled over wild country with the telephone wire holding her to her duty like a leash. The next time she must telephone, or wait to be telephoned, nailed her to her cross. The mountains themselves seemed trammelled by her unfreedom. Everywhere on the mountains, where she met no one at all, from breakfast time to dusk, excepting sheep, or a shepherd, she came face to face with her own craziness, which might attack her in the b
Kirsty Hanson
This is my review of the short story: To Room Nineteen only.

Studying English and Media at my university has opened my eyes to a whole different section of literature that I never thought I would enjoy: short stories. Not just any old short story though, short stories that have a deeper meaning and a through close reading, you can take a lot away from it.

That's the exact experience I had when reading To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessig. It's classed as a short story, but it's longer than you would t
Marina Dubois
An interesting shortstory worth reading by all people, mainly because of the femanistic point of view. It is not the best thing I ever read, and even if it is not hard to read it has a deeper meaning to it.

I believe the story is a metaphor for the contemporary society. The fact that a woman should get married and have children, and live in a beautiful house is what is expected of a woman. But this might not be right for all women. The protagonist is just a product of society. She does everything
Heather Sellers
Jul 15, 2016 Heather Sellers rated it it was amazing
Wow! I read only the title story, however I felt the anxiety that Susan describes, and I felt the utter sadness, or even touching on despondency, when you reach the end of the story that I imagine Susan felt as well. There was a certain slide into contentment at the end at making a decision that was solely her own, not needing to answer to anyone else for it, and I also felt the frustration of not getting the help or support that she so desperately needed, and the fear of reprisal if she should ...more
I can't believe this woman won the Nobel Prize and I can't find an image for this collection of her stories! What's up with that???

I prefer Lessing's novels to her stories but I picked this up from the library in order to read To Room 19. I recently read Michael Cunningham's The Hours and someone on this board recommended I read this Lessing story. While The Hours is obviously an ode to Mrs. Dalloway, it gives an equal bow to Ms. Lessing's story To Room 19. I think what gives Lessing's story su
Ms Piot
Apr 26, 2009 Ms Piot rated it really liked it
Wracking my brain to recall all those great college reads!!

Lessing was one I remember as having a strong impact and I think it was the story of this books's title - "Room 19" that resonated with me so much.

I am also a fan because of the provocative statement she made she received the Nobel Prize for literature in 2007 A Hunger for Books It gave me fuel for my project to try to help build libraries and computer centers in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa...Children of the Diaspora, United!
Lauren Putt
Jul 14, 2016 Lauren Putt rated it really liked it
A very interesting contribution to feminist literature, To Room Nineteen explores the darker side of the lives of stay-at-home mothers. It is very similar to Woolf's A Room of One's Own, so if you like that, then you would probably enjoy this short story. I found it was very well-written, had very interesting themes and highlighted the complex feelings felt by women in the late twentieth century. Anyone who is an aspiring feminist should read this short story - but make sure you have a box of ti ...more
May 01, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
I don't usually read short stories. For Doris Lessing I'll make an exception. She is a skilled short story writer. On a car journey I was reading them out to my husband and two teenage daughters. Each one was excellent. The one I still remember is about the young boy who wants to swim through a tunnel. Brilliant. You could dip into it, but I suspect you will be tempted to read all of them.
Zerin Tasnim
A feminist story that undoubtedly speaks of the 'intelligent'and 'civilized' ways that a woman has to lead her life and how in doing so she gives up her essence and forgets who she really is. as Susan Rawlings goes in search of a room where she can find her peace of mind and her old self back i am constantly reminded of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and Mrs. Dalloway.
Serena Janes
May 30, 2013 Serena Janes rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy Lessing's stories of sexual politics and the dissatisfaction to be found in traditional arrangements.
To Room 19 is a great example of the consequences of not being able to separate the self from the family.
Ali Francis
Jan 08, 2008 Ali Francis added it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has ever felt isolated in their lives.
Doris Lessing is one of my favorite authors! If you haven't read the short story "To Room 19," you need to do so in order to understand the fragile human condition! It is heart-wrenching and will make you realize what you have in front of you....
Zixuan, Wang
Nov 04, 2015 Zixuan, Wang rated it liked it
Allyson (Belle)
I only read "To Room Nineteen", my book was not a collection. I read this for my British Literature class and I really liked it.
Lesley Botez
Feb 25, 2014 Lesley Botez rated it it was amazing
Just reread this short story for an MA lecture on the short story. Couldn't help reading it as a psychologist, look forward to how it will be presented for the creative writer.
Christina M.
Jan 25, 2012 Christina M. rated it really liked it
Painfully observant, but wry. If I had to go back and read it again, I would have read a more cheerful book in parallel.
C-La rated it it was ok
Nov 11, 2015
Shasta rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2011
Sam rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2013
Gail rated it it was amazing
Oct 23, 2009
Kel Thamer
Kel Thamer rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2015
Oct 13, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: novella
I only read To Room Nineteen, which I have as a stand-alone edition, and found it pretty boring.
Jessica rated it really liked it
Nov 22, 2008
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 3 12 Oct 06, 2014 04:01AM  
  • Six Feet of the Country
  • What Becomes
  • The New Granta Book of the American Short Story
  • Selected Stories
  • The Stories of Paul Bowles
  • The Portable Chekhov
  • Household Words
  • The Stories of Mary Gordon
  • Ricordi di un vicolo cieco
  • Collected Children's Stories
  • Black Glass
  • The Complete Stories
  • Polynia
  • La buena letra
  • The Stories of Richard Bausch
  • Graveyard Sparrow
  • La Plaza del Diamante & La Calle de las Camelias
  • The Pura Principle
Both of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Oliv ...more
More about Doris Lessing...

Share This Book