Doris Lessing, one of England’s finest living novelists, invites us to imagine a mythical society free from sexual intrigue, free from jealousy, free from petty. Sep 2, The premise of Doris Lessing’s new novel-as-creation-myth is that a towering cloven rock used for primitive religious rites: “The Cleft is us. The Cleft, by Doris Lessing. Sex and schism at the dawn of time. By Michael Arditti; Friday 12 January 0 comments.

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They used tall caves with sandy floors but they might as easily sleep out on the rocks as under the cave roofs. I think of my two poor sons, lying somewhere in those northern forests. Her father goes stomping through the African brush, his wooden leg a burden, trying to make a go of farming so that he can return to England and retire on a county farm. Tim Adams, The Observer. Lessing has said that if she wants to write about a subject or situation, she does just that.

Well that was certainly unique. This fictional portion of the book lacks all the beautiful specificity of the memoir part of the volume, which shimmers with precisely remembered details about the African countryside, Ms. This portrait of her parents is familiar in outline from Ms. Doris Lessing’s The Cleft may actuall I did not finish this book.

The Cleft – Wikipedia

Debra Adelaide, reviewer December 29, lessibg Lessing’s depiction of the first intercourse between Cleft and Monster is brutal and direct. At nineteen, she married Frank Wisdom, and later had two children. I thought I had made a bad choice when I read some of them but I loved clrft book, well, I loved the clever, witty gender politics that ran all the way through it just underneath the story. Writing with the incandescent clarity of her 88 years, Ms.

This was my first foray into the writings of Doris Lessing, who I lessjng see has a brilliant skill worthy of all the recognition she’s received, so I don’t know if this is a typical Lessing book or something completely different.


Crackpot theories can make for great fiction, but in this case they have produced a novel as static and circular as the placid, bovine society that Lessing assigns to the Clefts.

In the first half of this book Ddoris. That growing knowledge never stopped her from tearing up her mother’s letters unopened or from dorks her own life of bad decision and regret. So, here is my question, not for Doriis, rather for her readers, for myself. Lessing, in effect, writes herself out of their lives.

Rather than enhancing the idea of this history, it actually takes away its power and confuses the reader. The descriptions of urges and squirting and poking soon become repetitious, although I did enjoy a description of young boys showing off their ‘cocky tricks’. Jan 03, Tweedledum rated it really liked it Shelves: What is it about all these terrible ratings?

The woman thinks the man does not take care with the children, the man can’t see what all the fuss is about. Pages about Doris Lessing on this site: Dec 01, Arf rated it did not like it.

Topics Books The Observer. One of the main themes of The Cleft is that history is by nature subjective. In the first half of the book, Lessing delivers what is in effect lessinf long and lively speculative fiction about her parents’ lives in a place where World War I did not occur. This mythical history is told to us by an elderly Roman, who interrupts his scholarly account with personal observation and memoirs which echo his themes. Or am I missing the joke?

Yeah, Doris, we get it. They lived by the sea and were partially aquatic.

Aug 12, Kate rated it did not like it. Her father, Alfred, had lost a leg in the war and remained haunted by the horror of the trenches, where so many of his comrades cldft died. And yet, at the end, I was left with an acute sense lessiny human ambition and vulnerability.

Dec 08, Ouise rated it liked it. Suppose our ancestors were females, Clefts, born in the sea, inseminated and nurtured by it. Clefts look after babies. If you said once, you said a gazillion times that when the clefts and the squirts started copulating the babies dodis different. The most interesting moment in the text is precisely the doriz, gruesome and intriguing, indicating both genders as criminals against one another.


The description of this fundamental human dkris to always want to change the status quo yet the desire to come back to what one knows and comfort us.

It is also a shame more flesh isn’t put on the scholar’s old bones, as the myth within can feel a lengthy way to illustrate something we already know. Unbeknownst to the Clefts, however, these baby males survive, aided by the very eagles sent to kill them, and thrive on their own on the other side of the mountain.

She was on the shortlist for the first Man Booker International Prize in I’m within 80 pages of being done with this book and I just can’t bring myself to finish it.

But one day a “Monster”, a male, is born and the onset of sexual intrigue brings untold problems as restlessness, curiosity and jealousy upturn this sleepy community. Doris Lessing’s The Cleft may actually be the worst book I’d ever read.

Lessing’s ‘The Cleft’ Ponders Origins of Life

Life has to beat it into us, beat us softer and more malleable than our early pride allows. In removing the regrets of her parents’ lives, she quickly furnishes them with others; character is always fate.

Why would two little boys named Big Bear and Runner have a friend called Brian? Pieced together by a Roman historian from ancient records that are themselves the compilation of different strands of oral testimony, The Cleft is the story of our earliest ancestors, a slow-moving, semi-aquatic race of females. Lessing’s novel proposes a new creation myth, one of a first race of females, the “Clefts”, that give birth to males, “Monsters” later, “Squirts”.