Boekverslag : Doris Lessing - The Grass Is Singing
De taal ervan is Engels en het aantal woorden bedraagt 829 woorden.


Author : Doris Lessing. She was born in Persia in 1919 but grew up in Rhodesia. In 1949 she moved to England.

She belongs to The Angry Young Men.

Published : In 1950

Title : The sounds Mary hears everywhere in her

surroundings frighten her and drive her into insanity.

Place of action : South of Africa between the Great War and World

War II.

Kind if novel : Psychological novel.

Omniscient narrator.

Little dialogue.

Occasionally flash backs

Novel starts with epilogue.

Themes : Loneliness, egoism, segregation

Characters : Mary Turner; a socially handicapped, selfish woman

Dick Tuner ; her husband, who loves his farm and nature but is very unsuccessful in making good advantages in business.

Moses ; a Negro-servant, who has great influence on Mary.


Mary’s parents are poor; her mother is an always complaining woman and her father’s best friend is the booze. As soon as possibly she takes care for a better life. She moves into town and gets a good job, a lot of friends but an impersonal life in a large social environment.

When she is 30, she wants to be married and she finds a victim in Dick Turner, an unsuccessful farmer who lives under bad circumstances in poor cramped quarters.

Mary, who has never lived close to natives, isn’t able to see them as human beings and doesn’t want to except their different customs and behaviour. As a result they run away and she has to do the housework by herself. Due to misconceptions she can’t find a way to contact with her neighbours and the relation with her husband is full of difficulties.

Dick is unable to make a good profit, his plans with bees, with pigs, turkeys and later with a kaffir-store fail. His inability to complete things he started, costs a lot of money.

Then Dick falls ill and Mary has to do his work in the fields with the natives. She can’t and even won’t treat the labours in the right way and the natives refuse to be commanded by a woman.

The troubles reach a summit when Mary hits a native, who does not want to obey her silly commands, with the whip across his face.

As soon as Dick has recovered she tells him how he mismanages the farm and they make plans to make a better profit by sowing tobacco plants. It’s a failure again.

Then she realizes that the situation won’t ever change, she slowly starts thinking that there will be no future. There’s nothing, nil, only emptiness. Even dreams fail. She falls numbed and tired, without any interest. Then she suggests to have a baby, a girl of her own. Dick refuses saying they are too poor to give a child a good future. She falls in terrible apathy again.

Then one day Dick sends her a new house-boy, Moses. Mary is frightened when she recognizes the man, she once hit. There’s a strange tension, she hates the man but at the same time he obsesses her. Little by little a forbidden relationship growns between them. At last she is completely depended on Moses but doesn’t know to handle the situation. One day their neighbour Charlie Shatter visits them and when he discovers the strange situation he forces them to sell the farm and a young man from England comes to take over the business.

Moses, who feels humiliated by this man and thinks Mary has another man in her life, kills her. By the time Moses kills her, Mary is completely lunatic and isn’t capable to tackle the problems in her life. The singing grass has destroyed her……

Opinion (Dutch)

De actie in de roman wordt gekenmerkt door de neerwaartse spiraal, waarin de hoofdpersonen verwikkeld raken, om van een moeilijk bestaan een zinvol bestaan te maken. Vooral geestelijk komen de figuren op een snel hellend vlak te verkeren en is een catastrofe onafwendbaar. Het einde van de roman is dan ook bitter. Hieruit blijkt de betrokkenheid van de schrijfster tot de Angry Young Men. (ontevreden met de samenleving, er over klagend maar geen enkel alternatief biedend!)

Er wordt begonnen met een epiloog, waarna het verhaal zich in logische volgorde ontwikkelt.

Het is een gesloten einde. Mary is dood, Dick wordt verstoken van zijn geliefde farm en Moses zal worden berecht. Alle figuren hebben op het einde van de gebeurtenissen verloren.

Persoonlijk vind ik het een boeiend boek; de karakters worden begrijpelijk weergegeven, er wordt een goed beeld geschapen van de verhoudingen tussen blanken en hun onder-geschikten maar het boek is niet gemakkelijk te lezen. De hersenspinsels doen denken aan een Stream of Consciousness novel. (James Joyce)

Doris Lessing weet de gedachten en gevoelens van haar romanfiguren duidelijk neer te zetten.
Andere boeken van deze auteur:

Home - Contact - Over - ZoekBoekverslag op uw site - Onze Boekverslagen - Boekverslag toevoegen