Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: A Ripple From the Storm (Children of Violence)
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on December 9, 2003
Trying to understand the mid-20th century? Race relations, facism, colonials, communism, sexual politics? Take a ride with Doris Lessing through her strange and fictional small town in southern Africa. This was probably my favorite book of the Children of Violence series, perhaps because in it, Martha actually takes some action. Admittedly, she and her friends are running around like rabbits and will never accomplish anything substantial in the field of race relations, but they're trying, desperately, as they marry the latest currents in European liberal thinking to the absurdities of colonial life.
Steal this book!
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on September 18, 2000
Lessing presents us here to a third (or forth) phase in the life of Martha Quest, a white woman in "Zambezia", a colonialist state in Africa. "children of violence" which consists the present book is a highly recommended series as a whole, but the whole is to be differentiated as the fifth book belongs to a different genre if to any existing one. the former books, this one included, on the other hand, make an important contribution to female bildungsroman, as Lessing tells us with what i heard to be a tone of apology, in the end of the fifth book. "a ripple in the storm", specifically, suggest some more categories. it faces us with a small comunist group in "Zambezia" through world war 2 which implies all the domain of questions from justice to power in its external and internal spheres, to the state of an individual inside a storm. the story is rich, clever, subtle. it leads us to the continuance of changing and growing of Martha (the author seems to hold a certain popular enough judgement of comunism as something to grow of personally and historically, though not without retaining something of it). it leads us there as if by ourselves. it's not that you want to be or feel yourself to be Martha, actually Martha is half hidden - to herself too - in the turbulence of activity, this is part of the story. it is that you can imagine your shade appearing there in the little rooms. another point,one gets a sad description of the status of women in an example of an ideologically egalitarian organization. this fact is made clear thoroghly by description. one might believe the author doesn't even know this fact (but of course, one shouldn't).
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on April 27, 2014
That's it, I'm done with Kindle version of this series. I suffered through multiple misspellings and punctuation errors in "Martha Quest" and "A Proper Marriage" but in the first chapter of "A Ripple From The Storm" I'm confronted with "[Jasmine] ...intended to live with Jackie Cooper when the war was over..." Who? It's Jackie BOLTON!!! The same problem was in the first book, switching "Penny" for "Perry." Very shoddy treatment of a classic book, I want my money back!
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on July 21, 2014
The third book in Doris Lessing's Children of Violence series featuring her semi-autobiographical alter ego Martha Quest, A Ripple in the Storm finds Martha deep in the throws of youthful idealism at the expense of her personal life. Following her coming of age (book one, Martha Quest) and first marriage (book two, A Proper Marriage), the Martha of Ripple in the Storm is separated from hapless first husband Douglas and from her young daughter Caroline while being deeply immersed in the activities of the local Communist Party in Zambesia (a fictional South African country based on Rhodesia, where Lessing grew up).

The best parts of this book for me were the accounts of the endless party meetings Martha participates in where hairs are split, mountains are made of molehills, factionalism dominates and the anal retentive tendencies of Marxist doctrine are on full display. Behind it all is a rather vivid portrait of racial relations in Rhodesia and South Africa in the mid-20th century.
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2009
A Ripple From the Storm continues the Children of Violence series that began with Martha Quest: A Novel. I had honestly hoped that her well-deserved Nobel Prize for Literature would bring some more attention to this under-rated sequence of books. Sadly, from looking at the numbers on Amazon, that seems to be far from the case. Too bad. I write this review in the hopes that more people will pick it up.

Martha Quest is a privileged young white woman growing up in a fictional colonial country in Southern Africa. (Echoing Lessing's own upbringing in then-Rhodesia) The first book is a coming of age story (at least of a kind); the second (A Proper Marriage) tells the story of Martha's embrace and eventual rejection of the classic housewife role. This third book in the sequence tells the story of Martha attempting to find her way in local radical politics-- both as a white person and a woman.

Although all of the Children of Violence novels can ostensibly be read independently, I would think that this volume would be the most trying if you hadn't gotten to know Martha already in the first two books. The politics of the time seem so foolish and innocent and her abandonment of her child so callous, that she is very difficult to understand in these pages without backdrop. Those very elements are a lot of what make it so interesting for me. What I admire very much about this series is the unflinching way (that word gets used a lot, but I think that Lessing really deserves it here) she examines the intersection of race, gender, youth and politics in a setting that is fundamentally bad from the get-go. Whether it is the debates among the white communists as to whether they should work openly in the townships or whether it is Martha wryly commenting on the nearly permanently marginal role of the women within the communist party-- it is a fascinating discussion. If the first two books tell about the development of Martha's life, then this book treats the development of her mind. This all sounds very intellectual, but I found it quite moving. I flinched at her second marriage and the way that she seems to try to abandon herself in the name of ideals in which she can't quite honestly believe. It's a brilliant book, and a powerful look (much like Dostoevsky's Demons) or de Beauvoir's The Mandarins) at the evolution of political ideals as shaded a bit from the larger conflicts of the times.

I highly recommend the whole series, at least so far. Looking forward to Landlocked.
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VINE VOICEon July 9, 2009
Martha Quest's adult life continues in Lessing's third volume in her massive Children of Violence series. This volume focuses on Martha's sense of self doubt, and her attempt to get self-actualization through becoming further involved in Communist politics. As such, the majority of this book is dedicated to her learning all she can about her Communist Party, and it becoming an encroaching presence in her life. Whereas the first two books in the series can be read as stand alone, with this one the reader is in for a much deeper and rewarding experience if they had read the two books beforehand. There is a whole new cast of characters, but only through knowing about Martha's journey to get there can you understand her motivations as she turns increasingly inward and makes a second unfortunate marriage. The story itself is rather dry- especially since it follows the absorbing A Proper Marriage- and is mainly dedicated to a political movement that is predominantly marginalized these days. It is slightly forgettable, and only leaves an afterthought of a group of intellectuals arguing about stale political concepts in a swelteringly hot room. Still though, it is part of a series that should be mandatory reading for fans of literature, and tales of Martha's maturity with Lessing's typical sophistication.
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on July 13, 2004
This woman!, I've named my daughter after her: DORIS
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