Alfred & Emily, by Doris Lessing

This is an interesting book. It’s about Doris Lessing’s parents, who both went through WWI. Her father loosing a leg and almost dying and her mother a nurse, where she met her father, in hospital.

The first half of the book she has imagined how her parents would have been if WWI had never been and the second half of the book is how her parents actually were. Interesting, but I found the second half a little fragmented, but still worth reading.

She quoted from D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

This I think so applies to ones who have been through war.

And dimly she realised one of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only appearance. It is, really, only the mechanism of re assumed habit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise which only slowly deepens it’s terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst.

So with Doris Lessing’s parents.

My neighbour G., went through WWII, he actually was stationed near, and went to the Pub in Earles Colne, the village where my mum lived as a girl, funny to think of them being so close and moving in different circles.

In any case his eldest son was in the Vietnam War. He came home, married, he had a thriving business, then after 40 years all of a sudden he starts getting flash backs. He can’t concentrate, he lost his business, his wife, after all that time. Not that the signs weren’t there before.

So when I read the above quote from D. H. Lawrence, it made me think about my neighbour’s son and so many others.

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