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To Room Nineteen

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  922 ratings  ·  69 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

Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 10th 1994 by Flamingo (first published 1958)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Chen Wen
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Started reading because of the Korean drama Because This is My First Life. It is said that married men like to sit in their cars in the garage before going back home. Marriage is a chasm and we are all trying to enjoy the fall.
Aug 04, 2013 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 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 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
Kally Sheng
Feb 03, 2014 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?
Eman Ismael
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
It's the first English story that I found interesting, even it doesn't have many events.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: masters
3.5 rather

On "To Room Nineteen":
Halfway between Chopin's The Awakening and Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and updated to the 20th century. However, while Edna Pontellier's end is depicted as victorious and Gilman's "madwoman" also reaches a freedom of sorts, Susan seems to succumb under her entrapment after a short-lived freedom (always of sorts). The insight into the protagonist's thoughts, however, makes the story refreshing and original if not as hopeful as the two above.
Alison Moore
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To Room Nineteen is a short story about marriage and the hidden truths in conformity. Lessing’s use of realism shows what it’s like to be an intellectual and married with a family in the 1960’s.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
And once in a while you read a story that stirs you up so badly, you rampage through the reviews anywhere you can find, for someone to talk to, for some of the unanswered questions, for at least a bit of closure. And although I knew about the story for almost a year now, being able to read it in the whole is an experience that has overthrown my calm all over again. Not only am I impressed by the matter-of-fact, oh-so-obvious logical way of thinking and writing that is the mind of the ...more
Moneeza Rafiq
This story is about the problem that has no name, as Friedan put it, and the need to have a room of one's own, as Woolf noted. Lessing paints a picture of every mother and wife who loses the sight of who she is as a person, outside of these roles, and is desperate to reclaim that sense of being just herself.
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's hard to rate anthologies, but i really enjoyed how different this is compared to what I usually read and D.Lessing shows her genius often in this, however, it was sometimes hard to grasp the idea of the story and some were quite meh compared to others sooo, 3.75? I think?
Lady Jane
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Sellers
Jul 15, 2016 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
Apr 14, 2014 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 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful discussion on identity.....
Loraine Laurie
I borrowed this book after I re-read Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child. The way she wrote the book was quite wonderful and I wanted to read more of her writings. The short story collection was a fantastic read. I enjoyed 최종 후보 명단에서 하나 빼기, 영국 대 영국, 남자와 남자 사이, and 19호실로 가다. They all deal with the internal struggle that results from a socio-economic difference. The feelings manifested in all the stories are nothing but too common and pertinent to modern-day Korea and the US. Probably the title story ...more
F. Hanim
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To cut a long story short, a good kdrama recommended this book, so I went for a quick check on web only to find out that the book is actually a collection of short stories - and I picked only the main title.

To Room 19 is about a marriage woman longing for freedom she had during her maiden days - to disconnect with her husband and kids' commitment and to enjoy her own company; that she rent a room by herself just to escape to be alone once in a while.

Ending was unexpected.
Sarah Chen
This stories in this book have a very introspective and somewhat melancholic tone. Stylistically, it reminds me a bit of Alain de Botton’s The Course Of Love, but from a female-centric perspective. Doris Lessing is a very skilled writer with the ability to weave story, philosophy, and a keen observation on the unspoken things in life.

One thing I dislike is the amount of extramarital affairs. Why are all contemporary books like this??
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have only read To Room Nineteen.

A very interesting read about a woman lost in her marriage and unable to find her own identity among being a wife, a mother and a homemaker.

Everybody needs some me-time being away from all their defining roles. It is sad to see that her privacy was invaded and she had to make such sad decision at the end of the story.
Jeff Hobbs
Dec 18, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quick-read
Read so far:

The habit of loving --
The woman --
Through the tunnel --
Pleasure --
The day Stalin died --
Wine --
He --
The other woman --
The eye of God in paradise --
One off the short list --
A woman on a roof --
How I finally lost my heart --
A man and two women --
A room --
England versus England --
Two potters --
Between men --
To room nineteen--
Khonsa Izzah
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, if you're expecting a lovey dovey story of marriage this is definitely not for you. It's quite depressing. Made me think about marriage a little bit more. I thought there will be people who can relate to Susan and how she feels.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, classics
Such a chilling book, makes you really question the purpose of marriage and everything related to it
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nobel-prize
Splendid! "To room nineteen"! She got everything a woman may want to have and could not bear that. This story is of real current interest for a contemporary woman.
I could somewhat relate to the main character in a certain way, feeling limits sometimes. The end was foreseeable and fitting.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
note to self: Only read the short story "To Room Nineteen"
Pedro Trujillo
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
An incredible story, deep and moving.
Diane Fry-Price
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Doris Lessing read. Yes, it's rather dark, but that's Doris Lessing. To Room Nineteen is substantiative. Wonderfully complicated in a contemplative way.
Suad Ahmed
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written and really intense.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
(Only read the title short story, namely "To Room Nineteen".)
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