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Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience – classics which will endure for generations to come.
In 1950s London, novelist Anna Wulf struggles with writer’s block. Divorced with a young child, and fearful of going mad, Anna records her experiences in four coloured notebooks: black for her writing life, red for political views, yellow for emotions, blue for everyday events. But it is a fifth notebook – the golden notebook – that finally pulls these wayward strands of her life together.
Widely regarded as Doris Lessing’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, ‘The Golden Notebook’ is wry and perceptive, bold and indispensable.
‘This ambitious novel has no equal.’ Guardian
‘At the beginning of the Sixties, this vast, frank, complicated novel helped to sustain our reputation for courageous, ambitious, experimental writing. Soon a worldwide bestseller, it is still Lessing’s finest work. “The Golden Notebook” captured the heady mix of the early Sixties, when not just novels but political certainties were dissolving. The rising feminist movement seized it as a Bible.’ Mail on Sunday
‘Her greatest work…Shows the power of the female imagination at full throttle. It doesn't bear a simple political message but it does rip off the masks that women were accustomed to wearing, and it shows up the dangers and difficulties that women encounter if they try to live a free life in a man's world…A landmark novel, a book that both changed and explained a generation…One of the finest writers of the century.’ Independent
‘Doris Lessing is a pioneer of feminist self-consciousness in its raw state…The truths contained in “The Golden Notebook” are indeed harsh. It can also be said that these particular truths have not been examined in so rigorous and exemplary a fashion since the first appearance of this extraordinary book. A seminal work.’ Anita Brookner, LRB
‘“The Golden Notebook” is the diary of a writer in shock, a young woman determined to forge a life as a “free woman”, as an “intellectual”. Doris Lessing is a writer of considerable power, someone who can close her eyes and “give” a situation by the sheer force of her emotional energy.’ Joan Didion, New York Times
Doris Lessing was one of the most important writers of the second half of the 20th-century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Her novels include The Grass is Singing, The Golden Notebook and The Good Terrorist. In 2001, Lessing was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in British literature. In 2008, The Times ranked her fifth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". She died in 2013.