This is the high-tension story of a woman whose life was changed by a few careless words. Even though Mary Turner had led a somewhat limited life in her sleepy South African town, she was happy until she overheard some friends say that she would never marry. At those words, her delicately balanced little world overturned, and she suddenly realized that it was desirable to have a husband, to be like the rest of her circle. Unconsciously she began to look for a man to marry, and she found one. He was a farmer - a hard-working sensitive man with an intense love of his land, a stubborn pride - but with a fatal weakness. When Dick took her to his farm in the veldt, Mary stepped into a life completely different from anything she had ever imagined. She hated the stuffy little house; she hated the natives; she hated Dick at times and most of all she hated the burning heat and the loneliness. After one attempt to return to her life in town, she stayed on the farm, listening to the strident din of the cicadas and fighting against the realization that the security and happiness which she and Dick needed so desperately might never come. Little by little the years worked their slow poison. And then finally one heat-laden afternoon, without even realizing what she had done, Mary Turner lit the fuse that led to a shattering explosion of violence and tragedy. Doris Lessing's novel is a remarkable piece of work. At times as violent and harsh as the brown earth and arching blue sky of the veldt, The Grass Is Singing is mercilessly penetrating and casts a spell all its won. At times, too, it is angry at the festering question of black against white which broods over the land like thunder. But above all, it is the story of Mary Turner who was a victim of conflicting forces within herself set up by a few casual, overheard words.
Although born in Persia, Doris Lessing spent most of her childhood on her father's 3000-acre maize farm in Southern Rhodesia. Following her education at the Dominican Convent in Salisbury, she held a variety of jobs - nursemaid, telephone operator, chauffeur, and stenographer. Determined on a writing career, Mrs. Lessing, armed with £20 and the manuscript ofThe Grass Is Singing, arrived in England in the spring of 1949. Her novel was accepted immediately by Michael Joseph of London. Published there earlier this year, The Grass Is Singing was the March Daily GraphicBook Find of the Month. Mrs. Lessing has been writing short stories and poems, many of them published in South African magazines, since she was seventeen. The Grass Is Singing is her first published novel
The Grass Is Singing is the first novel, published in 1950, by British Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing. It takes place in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), in southern Africa, during the late 1940s and deals with the racial politics between whites and blacks in that country (which was then a British Colony). The novel created a sensation when it was first published and became an instant success in Europe and the United States. Plot
Mary has a happy and satisfied life as a single white Rhodesian (we assume, though the novel refers to both Rhodesia and the Union of South Africa simply as South Africa, while making clear the farm is in Southern Rhodesia) woman. She has a nice job, numerous friends, and values her independence. Nevertheless, after overhearing an insulting remark at a party about her spinsterhood, she resolves to marry. The man she marries, after a brief courtship, Dick Turner, is a white farmer struggling to make his farm profitable. She moves with him to his farm and supports the house, while Dick manages the labor of the farm. Dick and Mary are somewhat cold and distant from each other, but are committed to their marriage. Dick and Mary live together an apolitical life mired in poverty. When Dick gets sick Mary takes over the management of the farm and rages at the incompetence of her husband's farm practice. To Mary, the farm...
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