She read as if this were a process discovered by herself; as if there had never been a guide to it. She read like a bird collecting twigs for a nest. She picked up each new book, using the author’s name as a sanction, as if the book were something separate and self-contained, a world in itself.
For Martha, life was more than a shelter of similar ideologies. She did not want to become a monomaniac; rather, she was interested in exploring and understanding culture and thought, similari ...more
Briefly: This is definitely NOT a novel informed by the “show, don’t tell” school of writing. Lessing tells, and tells, and tells, and tells. Like a 300+ page polysyndetonic description of a train wreck (and MQ’s life is a train wreck from slow start to slightly sped up finish) but without the coordinating conjunctions. Any favorable characters are only implied (Joss Cohen, Andrew Matthews, Joss’ uncle) and remain largely undeveloped—perhaps, the next four volumes will make more/better use of th...more
Someone called her the “reluctant heroine”, the Nobel Literature prize recipient of 2007, Doris Lessing.
At 88, she still heard voices from her childhood. She had been born in Persia. Then she lived in South Rhodesia (what’s today Zimbabwe). At that age she feared for our present civilization: “it’s going to dissolve”:” the precarious patterns of civilization we set”; “we’re living the collapse of society”
Julian Mitchell, a friend of Lessing, said about her: “Africa is her soul”. He i ...more
If so, it's certainly not in evidence here. (From reading reviews of the subsequent books, it appears the only "speculative" element comes at the very end of the last book.) Martha Quest is basically a bildungsroman about a young Englishwoman in South Africa in ...more
"Well, it's my money!" snaps the daughter.
Mom helpfully points out that she's not yet of age, and if it came down to a court case the judge would rule that she was within her rights in stopping Martha from making unwise purchases. But for some reason this doesn't improve matters.
Teenage girls! Aren't they just impossible sometimes?
Over the next few years Marth ...more
Overall, I like Doris Lessing. The Golden Notebook was lovely, The Good Terrorist was interesting, and I'd been meaning to get back into her work for a while. A multi-volume read as part of a group of Goodreaders? Sure, I'll take that on.
Martha Quest, the eponymous character of this volume, grows up on a rural African farm, chatting with the local shopkeeper's boys who she relies on for books as well. She's well-read, spunky, but definitely a produ ...more
"Martha Quest" is the first book in Doris Lessing's "Children of Violence" series. It is well written, keeps your interest, and gives you a lot of historical as well as autobiographical data. The details and descriptions of places and characters make you feel that it's all real and happening. The character of Martha Quest is many faceted, and I was very curious to see what happens in her life. She is British, growing up in Africa with all of ...more
Its a good start, to be honest with you. The characters are introduced slowly, no doubt, but the time taken is worth the trouble in my honest opinion. Told in a first person perspective and being a historical fiction-cum-autobiography of the author, you follow the story of Martha Quest living in South Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe), as she progresses to woman hoo ...more
I liked the book very much for its honesty and truth. Martha is a real and believable person, with as many faults as virtues. That in itself is refreshing. I can believe in her and I want things to get better for her ...more
There are no "big events" in this novel. A girl grows up, moves to town, makes her own steps in the new surrounding, and finally gets married. She is making new aquaintances along the way, some stable, some less stable. But it's all about the experiences along the way. Martha is well read, a headstrong ch ...more
Martha Quest the character is young and full of unexplainable expectations for her future, and gets a ...more
I also felt like she abandoned certain plot points a ...more
There's also Martha's seemingly ongoing sexual awakening throughout the book, which I particularly enjoyed; rather than one big, cinematic event signifying ...more
Perhaps what made me take against her in the opening chapters was that she had reason to. Her mother is a truly awful, suffocating presence. We learn that a lost lov ...more