The Golden Notebook
Doris Lessing
1962

The Golden Notebook by Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing is a powerful piece of feminist writing that explores themes of Communism and the Cold War, anti-Stalinism, and the emergence of a women’s movement in Britain as well as sexual liberation and identity. Examined through the first-person narrative of Anna Wulf, a writer who keeps notebooks in which to record her life (the Golden Notebook being the one which ties the others together), the story realistically follows the lives of Molly and Anna and the people who surround them (lovers, children, ex-husbands) through the internal and external challenges they face as women of the late-fifties/early-sixties.

The Golden Notebook shows up on most of the “best-of” lists of the 20th century including the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, The Guardian 100-best list and the TIME Magazine 100-best from 1923-2005 list. Not only is this an excellent example of Lessing’s finer writing, it was profoundly influential in the feminist movement of the early sixties and continues to provide an essential insight into the lives of women during these transition points in British and women’s culture.

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