‘How I Finally Lost My Heart’ by Doris Lessing

How I Finally Lost My Heart by Doris Lessing, 1963

The magic trick:

Using quote interludes throughout the text, without any explanation as to their meaning until the very end

This one asks the reader to go out on a limb a little bit. It’s all voice and attitude, with very little clarity, for most of its word count.

Even more confusing is a series of interludes – quotes dropped into the middle of the text every once in awhile, with no apparent explanation.

Stick with it, though. It becomes clear at the end, and the result is a nice little payoff. And that’s quite a trick on Lessing’s part.

The selection:

I have digressed from an earlier point: that I regarded this man I had lunch with (we call him A) as my first love; and still do, despite the Freudians, who insist on seeing my father as A and possibly my brother as B, making my (real) first love C. And despite, also, those who might ask: What about your two husbands and all those affairs?

What about them? I did not really love them, the way I loved A.

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