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Doris Lessing’in eşsiz duyarlılığı, yazdıklarını zamanın ruhunun ötesine taşır. Bu analiz edilecek bir yetenek değildir, sadece onurlandırılabilir.” -Joyce Carol Oates- Savaşın son günleri yaklaşırken Martha Quest Afrika’daki komünist harekete olan inancını kaybetmiştir ve hareketin liderlerinden biriyle olan evliliği de çökmektedir. Uğradığı karakter erozyonundan kaçmaya ça Doris Lessing’in eşsiz duyarlılığı, yazdıklarını zamanın ruhunun ötesine taşır. Bu analiz edilecek bir yetenek değildir, sadece onurlandırılabilir.” -Joyce Carol Oates- Savaşın son günleri yaklaşırken Martha Quest Afrika’daki komünist harekete olan inancını kaybetmiştir ve hareketin liderlerinden biriyle olan evliliği de çökmektedir. Uğradığı karakter erozyonundan kaçmaya çalışan Martha, yeni bir aşka tutunacak ve boğucu mutsuzluğundan kurtulmaya çalışacaktır. Fakat her zamankinden daha cesur olmayı gerektiren bu dönem, geleceğe dair hiçbir güvencesi olmayan insanların zayıflıklıklarıyla daha da zorlaşır. Güneş her gün doğmaya devam etse, şehirler her gece ışıklarla aydınlansa da Martha ve etrafındakilerin üzerine düşen karanlık gölge her geçen gün büyümektedir. Nobel ödüllü Doris Lessing’in yarı otobiyografik roman serisi “Şiddettin Çocukları”nın dördüncü kitabı Kıyısız, II. Dünya Savaşı’nın son aylarına odaklanıyor. Lessing savaş sonrası ruh halinin derinlikli bir portresini çizerken, yenik düşen ideallerin bireylerin yaşamları üzerindeki etkisini eksiksiz bir kavrayış ve ironiyle anlatıyor. “Eğer 20. yüzyıl yazarları için bir Rushmore Dağı Anıtı olsaydı, üzerine oyulmuş yüzlerden biri kesinlikle Doris Lessing olurdu.” -Margaret Atwood-


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Doris Lessing’in eşsiz duyarlılığı, yazdıklarını zamanın ruhunun ötesine taşır. Bu analiz edilecek bir yetenek değildir, sadece onurlandırılabilir.” -Joyce Carol Oates- Savaşın son günleri yaklaşırken Martha Quest Afrika’daki komünist harekete olan inancını kaybetmiştir ve hareketin liderlerinden biriyle olan evliliği de çökmektedir. Uğradığı karakter erozyonundan kaçmaya ça Doris Lessing’in eşsiz duyarlılığı, yazdıklarını zamanın ruhunun ötesine taşır. Bu analiz edilecek bir yetenek değildir, sadece onurlandırılabilir.” -Joyce Carol Oates- Savaşın son günleri yaklaşırken Martha Quest Afrika’daki komünist harekete olan inancını kaybetmiştir ve hareketin liderlerinden biriyle olan evliliği de çökmektedir. Uğradığı karakter erozyonundan kaçmaya çalışan Martha, yeni bir aşka tutunacak ve boğucu mutsuzluğundan kurtulmaya çalışacaktır. Fakat her zamankinden daha cesur olmayı gerektiren bu dönem, geleceğe dair hiçbir güvencesi olmayan insanların zayıflıklıklarıyla daha da zorlaşır. Güneş her gün doğmaya devam etse, şehirler her gece ışıklarla aydınlansa da Martha ve etrafındakilerin üzerine düşen karanlık gölge her geçen gün büyümektedir. Nobel ödüllü Doris Lessing’in yarı otobiyografik roman serisi “Şiddettin Çocukları”nın dördüncü kitabı Kıyısız, II. Dünya Savaşı’nın son aylarına odaklanıyor. Lessing savaş sonrası ruh halinin derinlikli bir portresini çizerken, yenik düşen ideallerin bireylerin yaşamları üzerindeki etkisini eksiksiz bir kavrayış ve ironiyle anlatıyor. “Eğer 20. yüzyıl yazarları için bir Rushmore Dağı Anıtı olsaydı, üzerine oyulmuş yüzlerden biri kesinlikle Doris Lessing olurdu.” -Margaret Atwood-

30 review for Landlocked

  1. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    Here we go then with the penultimate instalment of Doris Lessing's Children of Violence sequence, and we've now reached 1945 and the end of the war. Still in southern Africa – but making plans to get out – Martha deals with her ageing parents, makes a civilised agreement with her husband that they should both have affairs, and tries to reassess her political sympathies in the postwar world. As always, it's a slow, meticulous depiction of the period and of people's lives, and it's not always easy Here we go then with the penultimate instalment of Doris Lessing's Children of Violence sequence, and we've now reached 1945 and the end of the war. Still in southern Africa – but making plans to get out – Martha deals with her ageing parents, makes a civilised agreement with her husband that they should both have affairs, and tries to reassess her political sympathies in the postwar world. As always, it's a slow, meticulous depiction of the period and of people's lives, and it's not always easy to explain why it feels so powerful, so significant – except to say that it's so deeply felt. Lessing describes a bike-ride through town in terms of political epiphany, a glum conversation with a friend like a momentous sexual psychodrama. Which is, after all, how everything feels when you're an imaginative and politically aware twentysomething. Still, there is a more serious, even morbid, tone here, as Martha faces up to the deaths of several people close to her – lovers, comrades, family members. But these are described in the light of what is transpiring of just how many millions were killed in the war, something that informs all of their reactions and, indeed, this whole series of novels. Every fibre of Martha's body, everything she thought, every movement she made, everything she was, was because she had been born at the end of one world war, and had spent all her adolescence in the atmosphere of preparations for another which had lasted five years and had inflicted such wounds on the human race that no one had any idea of what the results would be. Martha did not believe in violence. Martha was the essence of violence, she had been conceived, bred, fed and reared on violence. There are loads of fascinating moments in here. We see, for instance, Martha and her friends in the local Communist groupuscules reading the new books smuggled out of the Soviet Union and learning just what is going on in Stalin's Russia – for some, a devastating intimation that ‘everything we have been saying over the last five years has been a lie’, but for others, something to make excuses for: ‘after all, they are not saints’. The ability of those on the left to deal with the horrors of Stalinism was one of the key political tests of the twentieth century and a lot of writers talk about it – but I've never seen the actual moment of realisation described before. It's awesome. The measured narration of a native strike is also riveting for what it reveals about the social and political and racial dynamics of the colony, and how those dynamics interact. And of course Martha's lovelife is a constant whirlwind of questionable decisions and ruthless self-examination that really makes you feel like you're getting a direct line into how intelligent women in the 30s and 40s thought about sex, marriage, flirting, adultery, children. This is a thick, heady novel with big ideas and killer phrasing, stripping all the usual clichés away from this period of the recent past, and giving it back the tang of lived experience. Reading it feels like virtual reality. Lessing lived it, now you can too.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zanna

    In this fourth installment of Martha Quest's biography, the intense political energy of A Ripple from the Storm has dissipated, muddled and quenched by the end of WWII. Lessing points out that occupied Southern Africa has, it can almost be said, escaped the horrors of the war which Martha and others raised in the region can only begin to know through the experiences of those who are more deeply involved: Athen, the compassionate and committed Greek communist, Anton, Martha's German (and partly J In this fourth installment of Martha Quest's biography, the intense political energy of A Ripple from the Storm has dissipated, muddled and quenched by the end of WWII. Lessing points out that occupied Southern Africa has, it can almost be said, escaped the horrors of the war which Martha and others raised in the region can only begin to know through the experiences of those who are more deeply involved: Athen, the compassionate and committed Greek communist, Anton, Martha's German (and partly Jewish) husband, and Thomas, her lover, a Polish Jew. To a lesser extent, the Cohen brothers Joss and Solly and their cousin Jasmine also render the conflict more immediate through their large, cosmopolitan and scattered networks as well as their Jewishness. When Martha recalls Athen's words about the millions of war dead and the corruption wrought by those corpses on the souls of all the living, and feels the idea 'become part of her', it becomes clear that this is one of the series' deepest themes. However, the shift in political commitments and emotional currents among the white population are mere ripples from the perspective of the country's black majority, whose circumstances and struggle remain unchanged and unresolved by the postwar fallout. Lessing's decision to include many Jewish characters perhaps reflects a desire to deal with the wars and with Europe, and occupied Southern Africa as a European outpost, but she energetically evokes the meeting of this stolen Africa with a native, rightful Africa in the persons of the subjugated black population, whose destiny the whites consider to be in their power and rights to determine. Lessing uses subtle strategies to totally explode this ridiculous notion, principally a kind of respectful distancing created by never voicing black people's thoughts and placing them constantly at the receiving end of peverse behaviour and absurd accusations as well as routine exploitation. She illustrates again and again the whites' naive, childish lack of insight into the lives of the black people, which is the necessary sociopathic effect of presuming superiority. Martha hears the absurdity of her Euro compatriots easily and is disgusted by it (from childhood) yet Lessing's analysis bears out the fact that the white leftist groups, though much less stupid in their conception of the racial situation, still subscribe to a fiction of their defining, history-crafting role in the country, even if at times they display some awareness of this presumption In previous books, various White political groups with which Martha was involved with made efforts to reach out to, help, educate or improve the circumstances of the Black and 'Coloured' populations according to their own ideas (ranging from grudging charitable sentiment to liberationist willingness to support a native-led struggle however those leaders might request). Throughout the epic, Lessing depicts these efforts as ineffectual, even ludicrous in the circumstances, and here this impression is enhanced through scenes of useless, distrustful meetings, and action taken totally without white involvement. That conservative Mrs Maynard and radical Mrs Van collaborate in finding an absurd solution to the situation is instructive, yet Martha mentally describes herself as a traitor (implicitly a race and class traitor) emphasising the depth of her commitment to justice. In A Ripple from the Storm Martha hallucinates her hands holding the world and caring for others while she is in bed with a fever. A disturbing echo of this takes place in Landlocked when Martha, drunk, becomes fixated on one of her hands as extremely ugly and sees it as a weapon, perhaps reflecting her disillusionment with the communist movements she has been involved in or more deeply her recognition of herself as created and conditioned by the violence of her times. Her passionate affair with Thomas seemed unlikely to me at first: I could not like him after his merciless verdict on the emaciated adolescent soldiers of the defeated German army, but as Martha dreams his death and in many ways meets and understands herself through him, his importance for her and for the text became clearer to me. He (rightfully, in my view) dismisses with ridiule the assumption that 'one can read dispassionately' and shares his experience movingly: 'when you don't have libraries you remember what you read'. It's interesting that he is a gardener, because in all her books Lessing finds time to affirm human connections with land and earth, to remind that we are enmeshed in a biosphere that sustains and nourishes us and ought to be revered. Ultimately he is an ambiguous figure, complex enough to merit Martha's intensity. Another of his insights is about the changing scale of time: once people measured their small lives by the ages of a prominent tree, but now they do so by the stars. This is a link for me to a time I can't even imagine, a time-stretching reflection that lets my mind touch the span of the tree's life at least... The mood, overall, is anticlimactic, and when I was about fifty pages from the end I found myself flicking back to find out what on earth it had all been about, because there didn't seem to have been any major events. Nontheless, I remained thoroughly caught up in Martha's life - ever more so in fact. That politics sink into the background somewhat might give this book a broader appeal than the previous installment, as may the engaging romance, but what I really enjoyed was the continuation of Lessing's analytical, symbolically loaded, astonishingly acute telling of the ever-evolving Martha and her times. The opening pages offer a representative taste of this unwavering focus, when Martha observes heat and cold on her back, noting that both tingle, they are facets of the same sensation. Then we are given a tour of her current mental self-image, a dream of a house whose rooms she must keep separate in order to survive, a process that requires she 'defeat... what she knew to be best in herself', her compassionate and sociable impulses. Later, with her old friends the Cohen boys (who I always want to see more of), she briefly detects that the feeling she has with them is the light and space of future happiness, without any promise of its coming. This will have to suffice for an omen, along with Jasmine's final, typically casual revolutionary salute.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I have been reading Doris Lessing for many years, following the order of publication of her novels. Her Children of Violence series is interspersed with other novels. For instance, The Golden Notebook was published in 1962 and is not part of this series. I will leave it to readers who are interested to figure all that out for themselves. So Landlocked follows A Ripple In the Storm in which Martha Quest, our heroine, was becoming involved in communism as it existed in Rhodesia in the 1940s. Martha I have been reading Doris Lessing for many years, following the order of publication of her novels. Her Children of Violence series is interspersed with other novels. For instance, The Golden Notebook was published in 1962 and is not part of this series. I will leave it to readers who are interested to figure all that out for themselves. So Landlocked follows A Ripple In the Storm in which Martha Quest, our heroine, was becoming involved in communism as it existed in Rhodesia in the 1940s. Martha was a rebellious sort when it came to marriage, motherhood and a woman's role in the world. In Landlocked, WWII is going through the last tortured year and finally ends. Martha's complicated life and loves become ever more conflicted as the political implications of leftist beliefs are challenged by the changing politics of the world at large. The wonders of Doris Lessing are due to her ability to entwine the political with the personal in such detail. I have many more books of hers to read but it has been evident from the beginning that she was engaged in scrutinizing these issues from a woman's POV as well as being a daughter of British colonialism. Along with Simone de Beauvoir and others, I have found enlightenment as to what it means to be female, white, descended from European peoples, living in the United States in these times. I am a generation beyond her but her writing makes so much so clear as to the world I was born into and have grown up in. Landlocked makes clear both where the world has been and where it is going in terms of all the issues now at hand. In other words, worth reading if you can.

  4. 4 out of 5

    El

    Oh, Doris, why you gotta be so inconsistent? I cannot say that I liked this book as much as the second in the Children of Violence series, but did find it stronger than the third. This book finds Martha twenty-four, becoming disillusioned with the Communist group that was of such importance to her in the third book, and her second marriage is ending. As if all of that isn't complicating enough for a young woman trying to find herself, she is still at odds with her aging parents. I feel for Martha Oh, Doris, why you gotta be so inconsistent? I cannot say that I liked this book as much as the second in the Children of Violence series, but did find it stronger than the third. This book finds Martha twenty-four, becoming disillusioned with the Communist group that was of such importance to her in the third book, and her second marriage is ending. As if all of that isn't complicating enough for a young woman trying to find herself, she is still at odds with her aging parents. I feel for Martha here, wanting to be close to her ailing father, but not being able to maneuver past her mother's mind games. We see the return of Martha's daughter, old enough to start to figure things out on her own, yet still young enough to embody Martha's own childhood and lost innocence. It seems to be in Caroline that Lessing really manages to come alive. One of my complaints from book three was that the various characters were not terribly strong or distinctive, and this holds true in book four as well. I found it difficult to keep track of her various comrades (don't even get me started on Marjorie and Maisie) and, worse, her different lovers. On one hand I like to think this was all intentional, like, look, young love! adventure! excitement! it all blurs together! But then I think on the other hand Lessing just didn't want to put that much time into the different characters, which is a shame because there's so much room for expansion here. I will say, however, that while I said in my last review that Martha is often a despicable character, her mother, Mrs. Quest, takes the cake.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chrysa Chouliara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Reviewing one of your favorite writers is always a hard task. Allas!Screw the objectivity; I am always in love with Doris Lessings creations. But I am ready as anyone to admit that her work is unequal. During the "Children of violence" series the narrative tone changes constantly, from ingenious to mundane. It truly feels like following the real life of Martha Quest from her teenage years till middle age but what changes in last part of this book is what Second World War brought: An empty void o Reviewing one of your favorite writers is always a hard task. Allas!Screw the objectivity; I am always in love with Doris Lessings creations. But I am ready as anyone to admit that her work is unequal. During the "Children of violence" series the narrative tone changes constantly, from ingenious to mundane. It truly feels like following the real life of Martha Quest from her teenage years till middle age but what changes in last part of this book is what Second World War brought: An empty void of unbearable sorrow to humanity. Forty four million people died for nothing. The hatred is still there, the color bar still exists, Soviet Union was not the promised utopia. The characters come to a total disillusionment about the world. As any hope is lost, they drift apart lazily falling and fading. Martha's circled is plagued either by death or by falling back to their pre-war habits. The tension rises and rises through the entire book till it deflates in a melancholic nothingness. Taking aside that the book is semi autobiographical many things drag too long and many unnecessary characters reappear. That excludes Solly and Joss who are delightful in every book. Martha drifts once more on different worlds and situation without having a grip of what's going one like it's not her life but a trailer for the life she will later follow. Also the last part of the book is hastened and somehow lacks the charm of the rest of the series. I am ordering now "Four gated city" hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Spoiler alert: Mrs. Quest remains unbearably oppressive. Anton still suffers from ideological constipation. Maisie gains weight and Martha finally finds a satisfactory love affair. And at least six minor characters are absolutely pointless.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tubi(Sera McFly)

    Martha Quest - Şiddetin Çocukları serisinin 4.kitabı Kıyısız/Landlocked 2.ve 3. kitaptan daha tatmin edici bir okuma deneyimiydi. Martha ne istediğinin ve istemediğinin farkındalığına daha fazla sahip artık. 2.Dünya Savaşı sonları ve savaş sonrasının ruh halini, Güney Afrika'da siyahların uyanışının belki de ilk adımlarını, siyasete inancını yitiren gençlerin bocalamalarını, dönemin kadınlarının önyargılara karşı kendi benliklerini yaşama çabalarını, tökezleyen ilişkileri, ölümle ve şiddetle çok Martha Quest - Şiddetin Çocukları serisinin 4.kitabı Kıyısız/Landlocked 2.ve 3. kitaptan daha tatmin edici bir okuma deneyimiydi. Martha ne istediğinin ve istemediğinin farkındalığına daha fazla sahip artık. 2.Dünya Savaşı sonları ve savaş sonrasının ruh halini, Güney Afrika'da siyahların uyanışının belki de ilk adımlarını, siyasete inancını yitiren gençlerin bocalamalarını, dönemin kadınlarının önyargılara karşı kendi benliklerini yaşama çabalarını, tökezleyen ilişkileri, ölümle ve şiddetle çok daha fazla burun buruna kalan bir neslin portresini Doris Lessing'in keskin gözlemlerinden okuyoruz. Martha ve çevresindekilerin hikayesi bazen çok dağılsa da serinin ilk kitabından sonraki favorim oldu Kıyısız.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Guillermo

    1945-1949 Sudáfrica colonial. Es una lectura arqueológica. No es entretenida como las anteriores partes de la historia de Martha pero tiene apuntes brillantes. Y me hacen pensar que debería releer sus memorias que son excelentes. Ya que está estamos hablemos del final: Martha y Marjorie comienzan a entender el triste papel que hicieron tratando de instaurar el socialismo, pero al despedirse repiten su santo y seña, Barricada, como quien dijera, hasta la victoria siempre. Pobres criaturas estúpida 1945-1949 Sudáfrica colonial. Es una lectura arqueológica. No es entretenida como las anteriores partes de la historia de Martha pero tiene apuntes brillantes. Y me hacen pensar que debería releer sus memorias que son excelentes. Ya que está estamos hablemos del final: Martha y Marjorie comienzan a entender el triste papel que hicieron tratando de instaurar el socialismo, pero al despedirse repiten su santo y seña, Barricada, como quien dijera, hasta la victoria siempre. Pobres criaturas estúpidas.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin McAllister

    Despite dropping out of school at the age of 13 Doris Lessing educated herself is Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) soon after World War One and became a Noble Prize winning author creating a celebrated series of books known as The Children of Violence sequence. And while this one is an extremely dark read, we are in many ways, a deeply flawed species when someone even has to write a Children of Violence series. I mean children should be raised with love and kindness, not violence. But Lessing ma Despite dropping out of school at the age of 13 Doris Lessing educated herself is Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) soon after World War One and became a Noble Prize winning author creating a celebrated series of books known as The Children of Violence sequence. And while this one is an extremely dark read, we are in many ways, a deeply flawed species when someone even has to write a Children of Violence series. I mean children should be raised with love and kindness, not violence. But Lessing managed to get past her traumatic upbringing and truly make something of herself and for this this I say, this is a book well worth reading !

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Landlocked is a frustrating novel. It’s about frustration and futility and transition. The previous novels in the Children of Violence series had Martha constantly involved. Martha was driven. She was wilful and energetic and stumbled from one crisis to next mostly convinced of her own righteousness. She puts “the cause” before herself, before her family and, because she’s capable and willing and, probably, because she comes from a good, middle class family, she proves a valuable asset to everyo Landlocked is a frustrating novel. It’s about frustration and futility and transition. The previous novels in the Children of Violence series had Martha constantly involved. Martha was driven. She was wilful and energetic and stumbled from one crisis to next mostly convinced of her own righteousness. She puts “the cause” before herself, before her family and, because she’s capable and willing and, probably, because she comes from a good, middle class family, she proves a valuable asset to everyone. But here we are now. The war is coming to an end. The propaganda coming out of Russia is getting thinner. And Martha and her friends are moving out of the virility of youth. Lessing’s prose is always disconcertingly powerful. On the surface, she seems to tell you too much, but her narrative voice is that of her characters and they both over think and are unnervingly naive to their feelings and thoughts. Martha hurtles from social place to social arrangement clearly unable to find pause to reflect. The fact it, at the outset of the novel, it takes 2 chapters to address the fact that her marriage is breaking down is key. She talks about seeing her life as a house where she tries to keep each room separate. She can manage one thing at a time but life is flooding her. As the narrative progresses there continue to be these stark gaps in the narrative. The spectre of her frail father, on his death bed, but hanging on beyond everyone’s tolerance haunts most of the novel, but we miss his death itself, it’s passed over, only referred to as an afterthought. In many ways, Martha seems to embody the spirit of the age. A world moving too fast for its own good. A world in transition and unable to face its own horrors. And for Martha, always convinced that she was in some way at the centre of it all, her realisation is to discover the extent to which she is and always was only on the sidelines, playing a role without any real impact. This is a coming of age novel in many ways, but in a deeply cynical way. Anton, whom Martha had been infatuated with, who impressed everyone with his experience and the sincerity of his convictions, quietly loses all his radical ideas, fitting easily into the role of model citizen as he tries to convince the authorities to grant his citizenship. But this, it appears, is and always was his true nature: he discovers how much more he enjoys the quiet comforts of conventional behaviour to the uncertainty of his earlier roles. No wonder he couldn’t simply accept that his marriage to Martha was anything more than one of convenience. And, equally, Martha and all her friends learn through habit and experience which of their roles and beliefs they can hold to, and which were products of their unfortunate naivety of youth. If there’s any weakness in the novel, it’s one of Lessing’s own making. The novel is about being stuck, of frustrations and false starts and sweet but ultimately meaningless moments of bliss (that are seen as such even as they’re being grasped). As such, it is a deeply unsatisfactory novel. But such is the power of her prose. One never reads Lessing. You live Lessing novels and, in doing so, have Lessing pass judgement upon you. To feel dissatisfied with the story is to have experienced it. Our desire for meaning, for even a climax, are deliberately subverted. Nothing; not the plight of her father, her lover or her husband, provide the narrative with its sought for meaning or conclusion. Life continues. In reading the previous books in the series, I found myself seeing Lessing writing an almost antithesis to Austen – Lessing’s characters find marriage easy – they flit between one marriage and the next, casting them aside like old dresses, always searching for some deeper truth to their lives, always finding that meaning out of reach. Landlocked’s conclusion moves Martha beyond marriage entirely, but her restless soul shows no sign of settling down. To England: considering how grounded in Rhodesia these stories had been, and how much Lessing seems to draw full circle with the themes in this one, it would have been fitting to have Martha’s final departure as one of conclusion and finality. But even without the Four Gated City, that isn’t the conclusion we or Martha is given. Landlocked is a fascinating historical narrative mix depicting the events of the 40s from a perspective starkly differing from the conventional story. Quite apart from anything else, this sense of WWII from the distance, without the threat of the blitz, and the most pressing issue being what to do with all the troublesome soldiers in the local barracks, is revealing. And the continual commentary on the situation of the native inhabitants of Rhodesia, the racism, and the well intentioned but ill thought out attempts to assist from the “allies” makes for uncomfortable reading. I would definitely recommend this novel, but as part of the sequence of the Children of Violence rather than as self contained book. So read the series. It’s powerful and compelling and written by one of greats.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vel Veeter

    I guess I could explain the plot or something here, but this is the fourth book of a five book series, and while there is a plot, it's also a lot like the other books here in this series. We have Martha (nee Quest) marries to Anton Hesse. She finds herself weary at the end of WWII both from the exhaustion of working in the local war office, but also from the sheer distance she feels from the actual combat and conflict in much different and much farther parts of the world. It's an interesting que I guess I could explain the plot or something here, but this is the fourth book of a five book series, and while there is a plot, it's also a lot like the other books here in this series. We have Martha (nee Quest) marries to Anton Hesse. She finds herself weary at the end of WWII both from the exhaustion of working in the local war office, but also from the sheer distance she feels from the actual combat and conflict in much different and much farther parts of the world. It's an interesting question of positioning here. Whether in life, in war, in novels, where one finds oneself becomes the center of things, in the same way that a compass recalibrates or a GPS. So for Martha, the war is far away, and even if she can imagine the war in north Africa, that's still thousands of miles away. Imagining the war in France or Germany must feel infinitely farther. As an American, I also sometimes think how far WWII must have felt for someone living in say Chicago. In life though, even being the center of consciousness doesn't always mean feeling centered. Martha lives in Rhodesia, but feels far away from the rest of the world. This is especially true in a moment late in the book where she's determined to be a British citizen, something in question in Rhodesia, despite her British parents. Causing additional feelings of isolation is her waning interest for the Communist Party, despite having affairs that keep her connected. It almost wouldn't be a Doris Lessing novel if someone wasn't getting disillusioned by the party. This novel is from 1966, but the plot takes places in 1949, before the death of Stalin, so Martha's ambivalence is still in a kind of pre-fallen state.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    This is book four in Lessing's Children of Violence series. For a much better read, books three and four could have been paired down and combined. Book four's focus is again back on Martha and has Martha running around, as usual, living her life in limbo, not really going anywhere or achieving anything, other than disillusionment. This is book four in Lessing's Children of Violence series. For a much better read, books three and four could have been paired down and combined. Book four's focus is again back on Martha and has Martha running around, as usual, living her life in limbo, not really going anywhere or achieving anything, other than disillusionment.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sue Chant

    I now recall why I didn't finish this the first time around. The protagonist is narcissistic, superficial, man-obsessed and the rest of the characters are whinging and narrow-minded. A huge let-down from the first two in the Children of Violence series. I now recall why I didn't finish this the first time around. The protagonist is narcissistic, superficial, man-obsessed and the rest of the characters are whinging and narrow-minded. A huge let-down from the first two in the Children of Violence series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    The fourth of Lessing's "Children of Violence" series, Landlocked takes the story of Martha Quest (based on Lessing herself) to the end of her time in the colonized Rhodesia in which she was raised. The little group of reds, marooned in a provincial capital, among whom Martha tried to find meaning and companionship loses what little traction it had with the masses once WWII ends and Cold War anticommunist paranoia -- racialized, naturally, in this white settler colony -- takes hold. Quest contin The fourth of Lessing's "Children of Violence" series, Landlocked takes the story of Martha Quest (based on Lessing herself) to the end of her time in the colonized Rhodesia in which she was raised. The little group of reds, marooned in a provincial capital, among whom Martha tried to find meaning and companionship loses what little traction it had with the masses once WWII ends and Cold War anticommunist paranoia -- racialized, naturally, in this white settler colony -- takes hold. Quest continues trying to do her bit from the movement, even as her German Stalinist husband takes up open philandering (and in very progressive, "civilized" fashion, he encourages her to find her own boyfriend while they await his citizenship papers, which in turn will allow a divorce) and the little red scene in their town continues to split between stalinists, trotskyites, zionists, etc. In some of those painful scenes Lessing does so well, all of them try to reach out to the great prize, the black population, all painfully patronizing to varying degrees and completely unsuccessful. The whites are growing increasingly paranoid, the blacks are going to go their own way without much input from middle class white leftists, and no one's fantasies or half-measures will cut it anymore. People also start to die at an alarming rate- some of sickness, some by violence, like the Greek RAF men posted to Rhodesia for the war, going back to Greece knowing that they will fight and die alongside their fellow communists in the civil war. Lessing knew whereof she spoke when it came to sectarian backbiting and half-hearted efforts at living out values, and it shows, in this book and the previous installment, "A Ripple From the Storm." She also depicts, like no other, living multiple lives- that was what her magnum opus, "The Golden Notebook," is about, and in "Landlocked" we see her furiously pedaling her bike between her many lives: activist, thankless peacekeeper between activists, working secretary, wife, lover, daughter in a fraught relationship with a dying father and hypochondriac mother. The whole time, Martha is dreaming of making her way to Britain and escape- and she does get on the boat to Britain, in any event. This gives the whole installment a certain "running out the clock" feel, especially when you know that this is the penultimate book in the series, but Lessing can be relied upon to make even a feeling like that come alive. ****' https://toomuchberard.wordpress.com/2...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I think this is the first book I've read from Doris Lessing. It won the Nobel Prize, so I thought I should give it a chance. I'm not saying I won't read anything else of hers, but the style of writing doesn't suit me. However, the subject matter is interesting and the characters are well-drawn, if confusing at times. It is set in southern Africa during the end of World War II, and the action takes place among a group of ex-pats from various European countries, many of whom are Communist sympathi I think this is the first book I've read from Doris Lessing. It won the Nobel Prize, so I thought I should give it a chance. I'm not saying I won't read anything else of hers, but the style of writing doesn't suit me. However, the subject matter is interesting and the characters are well-drawn, if confusing at times. It is set in southern Africa during the end of World War II, and the action takes place among a group of ex-pats from various European countries, many of whom are Communist sympathizers. It's a story of a time and place I knew nothing about. Although the Africans in the novel were portrayed with sympathy, they were still bit characters used merely as plot devices, I felt. Lessing's style, to me, is too bare...but I feel that way about a lot of modern writers. I wish this novel could have been written by someone like Woolf, who would have fleshed out the inner voices and motivations of the characters, instead of leaving so much to hints and suggestions and cryptic phrases. The main character is Martha and although lots of time is spent describing her actions and her feelings - she is still a muddled mystery to me after having finished the book. And the other characters, with the one exception of Mrs. Quest, are even more mysterious. I feel certain that Lessing knows everything about the inner workings of each character and their motivations, but she chooses not to spell that out for us, presumably deliberately. The book often uses the annoying style that Hemingway pioneered of not making it plain who is speaking in a conversation. So you get: 'Not all that mad, I hope.' 'And how long has it been?' 'Has been what?' Instead of: 'Not all that mad, I hope,' she said. 'And how long has it been?' he wondered. etc, etc When this goes on for 10 lines of dialogue, I always have to go back and carefully work out who the heck is saying what and it is a big pet peeve of mine. I liked what this book had to say about the impact of a violent world war, but I wish it said more of that instead of focusing on one woman's romantic struggles.

  15. 4 out of 5

    A

    I've neglected to write a review because I've been focused on chugging through the series as a whole. Sadly, I'm still kinda mired in the last quarter of so of "The Four-Gated City," so it might be a good time to type up some quick thoughts on this one. As with the previous books, I really liked it, though there is nothing I would pinpoint as particularly earth-shattering. It is rather amazing how well she can maintain such a high level of quality over such a long expanse, maintaining the kind of I've neglected to write a review because I've been focused on chugging through the series as a whole. Sadly, I'm still kinda mired in the last quarter of so of "The Four-Gated City," so it might be a good time to type up some quick thoughts on this one. As with the previous books, I really liked it, though there is nothing I would pinpoint as particularly earth-shattering. It is rather amazing how well she can maintain such a high level of quality over such a long expanse, maintaining the kind of close psychological investigation and detail in characterization and setting. This book is focused on Martha's culminating disillusionment with communism and the complete disintegration of her marriage with Hesse. She spends most of the book just waiting to leave the country, something that doesn't occur until the end, several years after WWII is over. During this time, her father dies and she has a fairly satisfying (though ultimately doomed) love affair. The experiences she faces are both excruciating and freeing, and as before you have the sense of someone at the precipice of something they want, something that can not even be named. Martha seems to mature throughout the process. While I realize the major focus of the series is how Martha and the world/people around her are shaped by war and violence, I can't help but think the other major theme is the shifting, changing, and growing of an individual within these circumstances. Each of the novels is both individual/psychology and broader in scope, sociological/history. What I really want to say is that each book is like a single transmutation, and the story in each is a refining process. Refinement into what? I don't know. But even in "The Four-Gated City," this process of growth is described as a "stripping away." One can't resist an alchemical reference or two. Overall: Yes, like, very much.

  16. 4 out of 5

    James F

    The fourth and shortest book of the Children of Violence series. This book continues the story of Martha Quest from the end of World War II to her leaving "Zambesia", i.e. Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), for England. The political situation changes abruptly with the end of the war; the reaction is in full force. The Communist group dissolves, and the focus of this novel changes from politics to personal life (though not of course entirely.) This novel is perhaps my favorite of the series, beca The fourth and shortest book of the Children of Violence series. This book continues the story of Martha Quest from the end of World War II to her leaving "Zambesia", i.e. Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), for England. The political situation changes abruptly with the end of the war; the reaction is in full force. The Communist group dissolves, and the focus of this novel changes from politics to personal life (though not of course entirely.) This novel is perhaps my favorite of the series, because the questions it asks are the most relevant to the present day; what do committed people do in a period of reaction. We are in the longest period of reaction in history; fortunately the period after the second world war did not last so long. Martha and the others are disillusioned; they come to accept that the Soviet Union was not what they imagined it to be, and of course like most former Communists write it off completely; however, most of them do not become right-wingers or drop out of politics entirely, either. The book is titled Landlocked, and this can be taken in many ways. The characters are all waiting to get out, and go elsewhere; their lives are all provisional, they feel they are in a temporary situation, and try to deal with that. This also resonates with me personally in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, there is a certain tone of cynicism which I did not really like, although I can understand where Lessing is coming from, especially when I consider that the book was written in 1964. I think perhaps this series is one of my favorites precisely because it disturbs me; I cannot really agree with it or disagree with it, I have to think about the questions it raises and my conclusions change with time. Which, I think, is the mark of an important work of literature.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    God I love Rhodesian Communism and those disillusioned by it! I've read her book explicitly on Zimbabwe, African laughter, and that is good too, although much more current (though still not current). In this book you don't get very much about Africa, more about those stationed there in the war and their changing political commitments and how that is shaped by their personal lives. I just wrote a review of Harvey Swados' Standing Fast, which has the same theme but is set in Buffalo. I love that b God I love Rhodesian Communism and those disillusioned by it! I've read her book explicitly on Zimbabwe, African laughter, and that is good too, although much more current (though still not current). In this book you don't get very much about Africa, more about those stationed there in the war and their changing political commitments and how that is shaped by their personal lives. I just wrote a review of Harvey Swados' Standing Fast, which has the same theme but is set in Buffalo. I love that book, but this is much more honest and compelling as literature. I can even say I relate to these characters in Rhodesia more, even though they are living so far away and are women, whereas I'm a man in America. The scene at the end where her and her friends go back to a meeting for the first time in a while and start to feel how stupid they were when they were younger is brilliant. (btw I don't think political commitment or communism are stupid and neither does Doris Lessing as far as I can tell.) It's interesting to compare this series with the Golden Notebook which has a very similar story. She is still around the Communist Party once she goes back to England, which you wouldn't think would happen after reading this book. I love that a writer who writes about this material can win the Nobel Prize, and the only criticism of it seems to be that people don't like her science fiction, not the stuff on Rhodesian Communism (which I guess the whole world loves).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Saj

    I found the atmosphere in this book to be very different from the previous books in the series. This is a thoughtfull, even philosophical book. After the years of close connections to the communist group, Martha is in many ways isolated and alone. The story is very much about her attempt to make sense about things that have happened: the war, the things and people that she has lost, communism, love... at the same time she is constantly haunted by the desire to leave and find her way some place e I found the atmosphere in this book to be very different from the previous books in the series. This is a thoughtfull, even philosophical book. After the years of close connections to the communist group, Martha is in many ways isolated and alone. The story is very much about her attempt to make sense about things that have happened: the war, the things and people that she has lost, communism, love... at the same time she is constantly haunted by the desire to leave and find her way some place else. One element in this book, that I personally found interesting, was Martha's growth. The way she looks back on her life and her younger self, realizing that her idealism might have been faulty in some things. I think this is a process that most people have to go through, once or more times during their lives. Here it was described in a realistic and emphatetic manner, which made Martha's story easily identifiable.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Martha develops into a more self-aware and reflective character in this novel. Lessing also spends more time on larger themes: violence and development; personal choices formed by political influences; and, the continual turn of life and death. Initially, I wasn't sure about Landlocked, the fourth novel in Lessing's "Children of Violence" series, but as I continued reading I became more and more drawn to the novel. Martha has grown up, and she realizes life is much more complicated than how sh Martha develops into a more self-aware and reflective character in this novel. Lessing also spends more time on larger themes: violence and development; personal choices formed by political influences; and, the continual turn of life and death. Initially, I wasn't sure about Landlocked, the fourth novel in Lessing's "Children of Violence" series, but as I continued reading I became more and more drawn to the novel. Martha has grown up, and she realizes life is much more complicated than how she viewed and approached it in her early twenties. By the novel's end, it became my favorite in the series, and Lessing is nothing short of brilliant. I highly recommend the entire series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Rolfe

    In the aftermath of World War II, Martha Quest finds herself completely disillusioned. She is losing faith with the communist movement in Africa, and her marriage to one of the movement's leaders is disintegrating. Determined to resist the erosion of her personality, she engages in the first satisfactory love affair and breaks free, if only momentarily, from her suffocating unhappiness. The descriptions of the behaviour of Martha's mother in this novel and her first husband in previous novel wer In the aftermath of World War II, Martha Quest finds herself completely disillusioned. She is losing faith with the communist movement in Africa, and her marriage to one of the movement's leaders is disintegrating. Determined to resist the erosion of her personality, she engages in the first satisfactory love affair and breaks free, if only momentarily, from her suffocating unhappiness. The descriptions of the behaviour of Martha's mother in this novel and her first husband in previous novel were really powerful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    I didnt realize this book landed me smack dab in the middle of the Children of Violence series, but it held its on pretty well as a stand-alone book. What was most interesting was the astute critique of white leftist activists in black spaces. I also appreciate her humility in not tryying to take on the black characters, recognizing that clear divide in understanding and experience. Her critique of left activism , in general, made me giggle to find that the same problems have been plaguing us fo I didnt realize this book landed me smack dab in the middle of the Children of Violence series, but it held its on pretty well as a stand-alone book. What was most interesting was the astute critique of white leftist activists in black spaces. I also appreciate her humility in not tryying to take on the black characters, recognizing that clear divide in understanding and experience. Her critique of left activism , in general, made me giggle to find that the same problems have been plaguing us for well on 50 years. Definitely a lovely book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    A picture of the time I was not certain what this book was about. I decided it was a character study and a picture of the time. I read it as something of an anthropogenic treatise, giving the reader an insight to a terrible time in our world's history. It took some patience to keep at it. But the writing was good, very descriptive. I don't know who I would recommend this book to. I suppose if one likes Doris Lessing, and enjoys history, one might find this a worthy read. A picture of the time I was not certain what this book was about. I decided it was a character study and a picture of the time. I read it as something of an anthropogenic treatise, giving the reader an insight to a terrible time in our world's history. It took some patience to keep at it. But the writing was good, very descriptive. I don't know who I would recommend this book to. I suppose if one likes Doris Lessing, and enjoys history, one might find this a worthy read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nathanial

    Just devastating. The fifth (and final) novel in Lessing's "Children of Violence" saga, "Landlocked" concludes the story of Martha Quest nee Hesse. The last chapter is especially brilliant, brutal and beautiful in putting the protagonist and another main character in scene with new characters, with whom they immediately identify from the time depicted in the first novels (set a decade earlier) but who cannot of course imagine themselves have anything in common with these two..."reactionaries." Just devastating. The fifth (and final) novel in Lessing's "Children of Violence" saga, "Landlocked" concludes the story of Martha Quest nee Hesse. The last chapter is especially brilliant, brutal and beautiful in putting the protagonist and another main character in scene with new characters, with whom they immediately identify from the time depicted in the first novels (set a decade earlier) but who cannot of course imagine themselves have anything in common with these two..."reactionaries."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Greta

    Doris Lessing always captures my interest with her ex-pat gatherings, exploration of communism & socialism in the early 20th century, tales of Africa & Africans, the colonial mentality of the British living in a southern Africa country. Love, lust, lingering among the various nationalities represented tell more of her story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    A brilliant story, told with Lessing's attention to detail and political savvy, showing the futility of history repeating itself generation upon generation. Read out of context with the rest of the series, but a great standalone book nonetheless. And a brilliant lesson in the futility of history repeating itself generation upon generation. A brilliant story, told with Lessing's attention to detail and political savvy, showing the futility of history repeating itself generation upon generation. Read out of context with the rest of the series, but a great standalone book nonetheless. And a brilliant lesson in the futility of history repeating itself generation upon generation.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Yorkshiresoul

    I'm finding this series increasingly hard going. Lessing's descriptive powers are wonderful and she sets the scene, both physically, emotionally and politically exceedingly well. And yet, I'd really enjoy something more in the way of plot. I'm finding this series increasingly hard going. Lessing's descriptive powers are wonderful and she sets the scene, both physically, emotionally and politically exceedingly well. And yet, I'd really enjoy something more in the way of plot.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Miep

    Holds up extremely well Younger activists would do well to read this series, as it illustrates the earlier history of socialist movements usefully, and Lessing is a superlative writer.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Denise M.

    Children of Violence Series - #4

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Personal, political, great...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ghislaine

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