Then, a couple of weeks later, my parents gave me "The Summer Before the Dark" for my seventeenth birthday. I didn't finish it as quickly, but it struck me just as much as her first novel did. Again, it is bleak and wildly compelling, striking you with this fear of what is real. It is raw and candid and emptying.
While these, I am ashamed to say, are the only two Lessing novels I've read, I've been amazed at how clearly she understands the human condition... how she can write about something that you, at seventeen, don't know much about but can still relate to and understand and feel for her pained and depressed characters. I remember sitting at my desk in the early January morning and devouring page after page of the uncertainty and doubt and clawing aloneness that Kate feels so keenly in "The Summer Before the Dark" before doing my biology homework and having her intricate phrases, the emotion that pours out of the book, stay with me for the entire day. It's a feeling that I only want in small doses, but one that is somewhat exhilarating - I kept having to stop and say to myself "this is from a book. This is not you."
Have you read any Doris Lessing novels? What did you think? Did you find them to be emotional and exhilarating and raw the way I did?