The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing

(Cross-posted from my blog, Out of the Blue)

My next book for this challenge is The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing. The book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1985.

The Good Terrorist follows Alice Mellings, a woman who transforms an abandoned home into headquarters for a group of radicals who plan to join the IRA. As Alice struggles to keep the group together, her companions find unexpected difficulties in their quest to bring forth social change against complacency and capitalism.

This book was a very interesting read, an insight into the life of politically involved squatters in 1980s London. The main character, Alice, is a woman in her mid thirties who does everything she can to create a home out of an abandoned house. Her efforts go largely unappreciated by her companions, who are more interested in connecting with more important subversive groups, such as IRA. Thus Alice, the "good" terrorist of the title, finds herself cooperating in realterrorist activities.

In her book, Doris Lessing portrays a woman with strenght and determination, but without something to really fill her life. She likes to take care, take charge, be practical; she's always there, always reliable, running the house while the others are busy picketing the streets. Around her, the author depicts a full set of personalities and what makes them drawn to terrorism.

A very interesting, vivid book; one I'd recommend to anyone interested in this topic.

2 comments

Rose City Reader said...

It does sound interesting, although the subject matter does not appeal to me much.

I confess that Lessing's The Golden Notebook -- or is it Notebooks? I forget -- has been on my TBR shelf for years. But everytime I pick it up, the tiny, dense print of my pocket paperback edition looks so daunting that I put it back in favor of something more visually approachable.

Alessandra said...

I've wanted to read The Golden Notebook for years myself. But it's so long and massive that every time I consider the idea, I put it back for something shorter and more appealing. So we're very much alike here!




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