Which book or story is this from?
February 3, 2022 11:19 PM   Subscribe

Ok, this has been tickling my brain for a week. Usually I let things come to me or I find it eventually, but this one is eluding me.

I am trying to remember which book or short story the following scenario appears in. All I can think of is something like, "when the daughter's diary appeared on the mother's desk, open, underlined and marked in red, the mother lost it." Something about someone purposefully leaving their diary open, with their complaints laid out, where they could not be missed. May not even be a daughter or mother. I cannot remember. Vaguely flitting around in my mind as possibilities are She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb; The Four-Gated City, by Doris Lessing, or The House of the Spirits by Allende. Yet I cannot find this reference in any of them. A short story, maybe? Please help.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris to Grab Bag (2 answers total)
Best answer: This is Doris Lessing. IIRC you're right to say that it's The Four-Gated City - the woman is not Martha Quest, I believe she is the Labor (Socialist? Communist?) party organizer who is middle-aged, has gotten divorced and her daughters go through a phase of deeply resenting her relationships and actively try to destroy one. When Martha/the narrator is wryly and in a distanced manner observing the passage of time and how important feelings can sort of disappear from the narrative, she observes that a couple of years later the girls finish growing up, want to be close to their mother and it's as if the whole (really frankly horrific) time never happened.

I think she's the character where she was married to the big Labor Party star and he ditched her and the girls for a younger woman and she was just heroically kind about it and gave up her personal life while the girls were young.
posted by Frowner at 6:33 AM on February 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That's it!!! I was hung up on it being Martha VS. Mrs. Quest, that's why I didn't find it when I thumbed through the book. Thanks!
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 7:24 AM on February 4, 2022

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