Monday, June 18, 2012

A Ripple from the Storm

1958, 1991 Plume edition
Doris Lessing
A Ripple from the Storm
Bought new for $8.95
Worn paperback

An improvement over the second book in the series, this covers several months in 1943 to 1944, as Martha gets involved (politically and emotionally) with the local Communists.  Her first husband, after some more guilt-tripping, divorces her, so of course she gets married foolishly a second time.  Her second husband is the leader of the local Communists and, as with Douglas, she doesn't love him or particularly like him.  She does say at one point that she needs to stop drifting, but of course doesn't.

I was glad to see more of Jasmine, who's humble and yet so perfect that when the comrades have to criticize each other at a meeting, all they can come up with is that she's a workaholic.  I suppose Jasmine would be annoying in another novel, but she's such a pleasant contrast to Martha that I was sorry when she left town.  But at least she left town, instead of endlessly talking about it, like most of the cast.

There's also more of Maisie, Martha's childhood "friend."  They weren't close as girls, but they become better friends as women.  I was confused by Maisie's pregnancy because I could've sworn she was also pregnant in the last book, yet no mention is made of that.  Did that baby die?  I ask because a big deal is made out of Maisie being married and widowed twice yet having nothing to show for it.  This time, she's pregnant by a rich idiot, with the sort of now ironic name of Binkie (as in pacifier).  She doesn't want to marry him because of his interfering parents, so she marries someone else but unfortunately she and her third husband fall in love.

That's how it goes in a Lessing novel.  Oh, and there's much more about politics than in the first two novels, although it's mostly about the in-fighting, and about their stupidity over Stalin.  (Lessing gives "immature" Solly Cohen, a Trotskyite, the most astute observations about Russia.)

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