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Walking in the Shade: Growing Point, The

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  266 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The second volume of Doris Lessing's extraordinary autobiography covers the years 1949-62, from her arrival in war-weary London with her son, Peter, and the manuscript for her first novel, The Grass is Singing, under her arm to the publication of her most famous work of fiction, The Golden Notebook. She describes how communism dominated the intellectual life of the 1950s a ...more
ebook, 432 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1997)
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Oct 31, 2016 Deea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel
What a wonderful sharp mind Doring Lessing had!
Oct 11, 2015 Eleanor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally absorbing. What a fascinating, intelligent and honest person she was. I feel envious of her friends.

I can see a lot of reading of other books by Doris Lessing in the not too distant future.
Dec 31, 2007 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating background to 'The Golden Notebook', as it covers the same period. If anything, I probably preferred the autobiography to the novel.
Oct 12, 2009 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Reading this second volume assuredly requires your stamina, familiarity and sense of humor since its scope/plot is a bit different from its predecessor in which it's divided into normal numerical chapters while this one divided into four main road/street themes, each with its seemingly never-ending length of narrations, dialogs, episodes, etc. it's a pity there's no contents section in this book so the following tentative contents may help you see what I mean:

Denbigh Road W11 (pp. 1-16)
Church St
Jan 06, 2015 Sera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting more details of her writing process than her political memoirs. It is good to see the political background and social atmosphere of those years and Lessing has a great eye to depict them; however, this second volume lacks of an emotional integrity. Instead, we see too much details of her political life and never-ending series of people involved in her life than herself as an author.
James F
The second volume of her autobiography, from her move to London in 1949 to 1962. Definitely very interesting, if you can ignore the rhetorical passages. While from the first volume, I learned that the first four volumes of the Children of Violence were fairly autobiographical, here I learned (as I partly suspected, since the one thing I know about Lessing is that she is an author, and Martha isn't) that the last volume is much less so -- in fact, I wasn't prepared for how totally non-autobiograp ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Callie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, a lot about her political life. I love Doris Lessing because she is trying to give you an idea of what Britain was like in the 1950s (mostly that decade). Some portions of this book are absolutely riveting, for me, the description of her search for meaning through Eastern religions. She is very coy, I think, about her relationships, not going into much detail but offering tantalizing tidbits. I have a whole bunch of quotes I will add later.

"I was again in an atmosphere that made every en
Cynthia Davidson
Feb 16, 2014 Cynthia Davidson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Nothing is easier than malice,' Doris Lessing writes. 'Once, to be malicious was considered a fault; now it's applauded... dishing the dirt says more about us than we ought to like: it is diagnostic of our nasty time .'
Fending off the malice of her biographers, you could say, Lessing wrote her autobiography because she understood so well how the tendency towards malice would distort her life & work, if she didn't explain it herself.

I thoroughly enjoyed this second volume of her autobiograp
Sally Flint
May 29, 2016 Sally Flint rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
This book was about to be withdrawn from our school library collection and I rescued it. it was a text I read a long time ago and I couldn't resist re-visiting it as I, amongst, a million other women am such a fan of Lessing's novels, especially, of course, The Golden Notebook. To be honest, though, the autobiography isn't particularly an easy or, for much of it, a fascinating read, Much of it is based on examing the party in the 50s and it explores some of the big names at the time and her wilt ...more
Sel Tuncer
Jul 20, 2015 Sel Tuncer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bir kitabı ya da daha da özelleştirecek olursak bir oto/biyografiyi bu kadar iyi, bu kadar okunası yapan şey nedir? Biyografiyi yarın karanlıkta düz ve çoğu zaman yorucu bir yolda yürümeye benzeten Lessing, gerçekten güzel yazılmış bir biyografiden daha iyi ne olabilir ki diye sorar kitabın başlarında. Açıkçası ben otobiyografisini okurken bu sorunun hakkını fazlasıyla verdiğini düşündüm. Kitapta beni etkileyen, yazarın olağanüstü derecede sıra dışı bir hayat hikayesi olmasının yanında bunu güçl ...more
Dec 10, 2013 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
So good. Wittier than Volume One, and my only criticism is it's a bit bogged down with characters and encounters. Some favorite moments: The first time she meets Betrand Russell, he says for absolutely no reason, "Now I hope you are going home and to bed with your lover." On people trying to canonize her: "I myself have had to fight off attempts to turn me into a wise old woman." Is that we she became such a curmudgeon? Speaking of women being cruel to men on a political basis: "Could we have fo ...more
Apr 17, 2010 Steffi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man merkt dem zweiten Teil von Lessings Autobiografie leider an, dass hier in einem ebenso dicken Band wie dem ersten statt 30 nur 13 Jahre beschrieben werde. Die politischen Zwistigkeiten unter den Kommunisten, ihre eigene Unentschlossenheit in Bezug darauf werden extrem breitgewalzt. Auch ihre Gedanken zu Frauen und Feminismus sind oft etwas platt, scheinbar nur auf der Tatsache beruhend, dass sie nie Angst hatte Opfer von Vergewaltigung zu werden oder sie sich nie sexuell bedroht fühlte.
Das I
Feb 14, 2009 Pete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Very interesting for its own sake, and also as something to read after having read Golden Notebook (especially if you want to understand what she meant by naming in that book). Really enjoyed her strictures about publishers, book signing, camden council etc., the accounts of discussions with africans in exile such as Joshua Nkomo, and her reflections on writing, and how her opinions about various pieces of hers and others have changed over the decades.
Great reading about a woman who was an active member of the Communist party. This is a very exciting read.

I remember Jane Addams visiting communist Russian, and Tolstoy saying that two shelters could be made for people in Russian from the material used for Jane Addams' dress. Ouch! No such slouch represented here in Lessing's communist street cred.

Do not read this book if you feel that you don't need to be inspired by other women.
This is the second volume of Lessing's autobiography, covering 1949 to 1962' during the time Lessing moved to London, became heavily involved in the communist cause and then, shocked and disillusioned by the revelations of Stalin's atrocities, moved on. This was also the period during which she wrote The Golden Notebook. Lessing is candid, witty and intriguing.
Sybil Nolan
Jan 18, 2016 Sybil Nolan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot in here about all sorts of things, including not only the sort of topics you'd expect, like Soviet Communism, but also about London in the early fifties, and London's publishing scene then, and how it changed in the space of a decade. The writing is occasionally desultory, but that didn't stop me reading to the end.
Jan 12, 2014 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic concluding volume to DL's autobiography. Sadly, the last pages on Idries Shah and sex seem hurried, but the wonderful passages on her response to the responses to "The Golden Notebook" are a consolation. I envy her.
Not worth it! Unless you have an intense interest in Doris Lessing as a person. Ai caramba. Far too much dithering!
Jun 22, 2012 Susan is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I only read a bit at a time but it's very interesting. Brings back a lot of my memories of my younger self even though I don't have a lot in common with Lessing.
Nov 22, 2016 Philippa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
I bought this purely for research and ended up absolutely loving it. It was like having a chat with a wise writer friend who had been there done that
Feb 24, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not a quick read, an interesting book, and definitely a different perspective on life, government, morals..., than I usually see, but an eye opener just the same.
Endless discussions of her political activities most of which can be skipped. Otherwise interesting.
Vikrant Dadawala
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Sep 30, 2015
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Nov 17, 2008
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Mar 26, 2009
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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
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“The media are the equivalent of yesterday's scientists, for today's scientists have seen that when they conduct an experiment they are part of it and influence results by their very being; the media can create a story, a scandal, an event, but behave as if they have nothing to do with it, as if the event or the reputation were a spontaneous happening and they haven't influenced the result, or invented it all in the first place. 'The general interest in ... continues and is growing.' Of course it is, since the journalists are fanning the flames, permitting themselves fits of moral indignation, excitement, concern. Meanwhile the public marvel at them.” 1 likes
“The thought [behind the Golden Notebook] was that to divide off and compartmentalize living was dangerous and led to nothing but trouble. Old, young, black, white, men, women, capitalism, socialism: these great dichotomies undo us, force us into unreal categorization, make us look for what separates us rather than what we have in common.” 1 likes
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