Nobelprijs voor Doris Lessing

De Engelse schrijfster Doris Lessing heeft de 104de Nobelprijs voor Literatuur gewonnen. Dit heeft de Zweedse Academie van Wetenschappen vanmiddag bekendgemaakt. De auteur van romans als The Grass Is Singing (1950), The Golden Notebook (1962) en The Good Terrorist (1985) is de elfde vrouw en de negende Brit die de prijs ontvangt.

Lessing krijgt de prijs voor haar met “scepsis, vuur en visionaire kracht geschreven heldenverhalen over de ervaringen van vrouwen, waarmee zij een verdeelde beschaving tegen het licht houdt”.  Zie ook mijn blog van 22 oktober 2006.


Uit: The Grandmothers


“On either side of a little promontory loaded with cafés and restaurants was a frisky but decorous sea, nothing like the real ocean that roared and rumbled outside the gape of the enclosing bay and barrier rocks known by everyone — and it was even on the charts — as Baxter’s Teeth. Who was Baxter? A good question, often asked, and answered by a framed sheet of skilfully antiqued paper on the wall of the restaurant at the end of the promontory, the one in the best, highest and most prestigious position. Baxter’s, it was called, claiming that the inner room of thin brick and reed had been Bill Baxter’s shack, built by his own hands. He had been a restless voyager, a seaman who had chanced on this paradise of a bay with its little tongue of rocky land. Earlier versions of the tale hinted at pacific and welcoming natives. Where did the Teeth come into it? Baxter remained an inveterate explorer of nearby shores and islands, and then, having entrusted himself to a little leaf of a boat built out of driftwood and expertise, he was wrecked one moony night on those seven black rocks, well within the sight of his little house where a storm lantern, as reliable as a lighthouse, welcomed in ships small enough to get into the bay, having negotiated the reef.

Baxter’s was now well planted with big trees that sheltered tables and attendant chairs, and on three sides below was the friendly sea.

A path wandered up through shrubs, coming to a stop in Baxter’s Gardens, and one afternoon six people were making the gentle ascent, four adults and two little girls, whose shrieks of pleasure echoed the noises of the gulls.

Two handsome men came first, not young, but only malice could call them middle-aged. One limped. Then two as handsome women of about sixty — but no one would dream of calling them elderly. At a table evidently well-known to them, they deposited bags and wraps and toys, sleek and shining people, as they are who know how to use the sun. They arranged themselves, the women’s brown and silky legs ending in negligent sandals, their competent hands temporarily at rest. Women on one side, men on the other, the little girls fidgeting: six fair heads? Surely they were related? Those had to be the mothers of the men; they had to be their sons. The little girls, clamouring for the beach, which was down a rocky path, were told by their grandmothers, and then their fathers, to behave and play nicely. They squatted and made patterns with fingers and little sticks in the dust. Pretty little girls: so they should be with such good-looking progenitors.

From a window of Baxter’s a girl called to them, ‘The usual? Shall I bring your usual?’ One of the women waved to her, meaning yes. Soon appeared a tray where fresh fruit juices and wholemeal sandwiches asserted that these were people careful of their health.

Theresa, who had just taken her school-leaving exams, was on her year away from England, where she would be returning to university. This information had been offered months ago, and in return she was kept up to date with the progress of the little girls at their first school. Now she enquired how school was going along, and first one child and then the other piped up to say their school was cool. The pretty waitress ran back to her station inside Baxter’s with a smile at the two men which made the women smile at each other and then at their sons, one of whom, Tom, remarked, ‘But she’ll never make it back to Britain, all the boys are after her to stay.’

‘More fool her if she marries and throws all that away,’ said one of the women, Roz — in fact Rozeanne, the mother of Tom. But the other woman, Lil (or Liliane), the mother of Ian, said, ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ and she was smiling at Tom. This concession, or compliment, to their, after all, claim to existence, made the men nod to each other, lips compressed, humorously, as at an often-heard exchange, or one like it.”


Doris Lessing (Kermanshah, Perzië, 22 oktober 1919)