I spent the last few days rereading my favorites...and I must say I really love "The diary of a good neighbour"...this book has a strange story...wanting to show how difficult it's for a young writer to publish, Doris Lessing wrote it under a pseudonym : Jane Somers...
''I wanted to highlight that whole dreadful process in book publishing that 'nothing succeeds like success,' '' she said in a recent telephone conversation from London. ''If the books had come out in my name, they would have sold a lot of copies and reviewers would have said, 'Oh, Doris Lessing, how wonderful.' As it is, there were almost no reviews, and the books sold about 1,500 copies here and scarcely 3,000 copies each in the United States.''
By contrast, Mrs. Lessing's ''Golden Notebook,'' published in 1962. has sold more than 900,000 copies in hardback and won the Prix Medicis Foreign Award, one of the top literary prizes in France. Her series of five novels, ''The Children of Violence,'' has sold almost one million books.
Mrs. Lessing explains the experiment in the preface to a paperback edition of the two novels to be published in one volume next month, under her own name. The book, published by Vintage, an imprint of Random House, will be titled ''The Diaries of Jane Somers,'' a reference to her pseudonym.
She writes in the preface that the first book was rejected by her longtime British publisher, Jonathan Cape.
''Jonathan Cape said it was a pretty good book, but it wasn't commercially viable,'' said Jonathan Clowes, the author's literary agent. Granada, another well-known British publisher rejected the book as too depressing to publish.
There two extraordinary women in that story : Janna and Maudie...everything separate them, money, elegance, life, character (though...)...and yet it's an etraordinary love story, birth, rebirth story...
One day, Janna meets a tiny bent old woman called Maudie Fowler in a chemist's shop . On the surface, the difference between them is enormous. Janna: elegant, pushy, middle-aged career woman. Maudie: slow, old, troublesome and needy. Yet they touch off in each other deep sympathies that evolve into a powerful and indestructible symbiosis.
Her relationship with Maudie exposes Janna to many aspects of herself that have previously remained buried and leads her to look with fresh eyes at our societys callous disregard for the loneliness, deprivation and suffering of the old. Finally, Janna comes to understand that, however great the hurdles of everyday life, the most difficult task of all is to die.
We follow step by step, Janna's changes, we live and answer her questions, about life, death, love, responsibility, work, politics, feminism...