Prufrock's Page

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Irate At 88

Octogenarian Doris Lessing's new novel has so shocked a female proofreader that she refused to have anything more to do with it. Here's why: Lessing’s novel is the mythological story of women known as the Clefts, who live free from sexual intrigue and men, only bearing female children, until their harmony is shattered by the birth of male offspring, the Squirts. Both names refer to reproductive equipment. "I’ll tell you precisely what she hated," Lessing says unsparingly. "She hated the word ‘cleft’. She said she found it very ugly and demeaning. I don’t see why. She hated it even more than the word ‘squirt’.”


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