A genre-defying memoir in which Lara Feigel experiments with sexual, intellectual and political freedom while reading and pursuing Doris Lessing
How might we live more freely, and will we be happier or lonelier if we do? Re-reading The Golden Notebook in her thirties, shortly after Doris Lessing's death, Lara Feigel discovered that Lessing spoke directly to her as a woman, a writer, and a mother in a way that no other novelist had done. At a time when she was dissatisfied with the conventions of her own life, Feigel was enticed by Lessing's vision of freedom.
Free Woman is essential reading for anyone whose life has been changed by books or has questioned the structures by which they live. Feigel tells Lessing's own story, veering between admiration and fury at the choices Lessing made. At the same time, she scrutinises motherhood, marriage and sexual relationships with an unusually acute gaze. And in the process she conducts a dazzling investigation into the joys and costs of sexual, psychological, intellectual and political freedom. This is a genre-defying book: at once a meditation on life and literature and a daring act of self-exposure.
Lara Feigel is a Reader in Modern Literature and Culture at King's College London. She is the author of Literature, Cinema and Politics, 1930-1945 and the editor (with Alexandra Harris) of Modernism on Sea: Art and Culture at the British Seaside and (with John Sutherland) of the New Selected Journals of Stephen Spender. She has also written journalism for various publications, including the Guardian, the Financial Times and Prospect. The Love-charm of Bombs (2013) and her most recent book, The Bitter Taste of Victory (2016), were both published to critical acclaim. Lara lives in West Hampstead, London. larafeigel.com @larafeigel