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Doris Lessing's Mara and Dann. Oh My God what a book.

(32 Posts)
Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 20:45:07

It blew me away.


I don't think I've ever read such an amazing book. Not this year anyway!

What did you think?

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Amazing.

LyraSilvertongue Wed 20-May-09 20:47:31

What's it about? Describe it without giving too much away.

AnyFucker Wed 20-May-09 20:48:28

what is it about, I am looking for a good book

only seem to have read predictable shit recently (I give up after the 1st few pgs if it doesn't grip me)

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 20:51:44

oh my God it is just an amazing epic story, completely unique and unpredictable.

About a brother and sister who go on an amazing journey through Africa, set about a thousand years in the future when life as we know it now no longer exists and humans are pretty much back in the stone age.

I cannot capture what the book conveys though, it's not really about the story, it's about humans, human relationships and interactions and growing up and stuff.

Just amazing though, Lessing has real Talent.

infin Wed 20-May-09 20:52:22

So long since I read Doris Lessing. The last one was the Fifth Child and that was NOT a comfortable read!
Will be off to look at the Amazon reviews for Mara and Dann. Thanks for the recommendation, she is a truly top flight author (IMO!)

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 20:54:01

Amazon Synopsis
The new novel from one of the greatest twentieth-century writers. Doris Lessing returns to the world of visionary fiction, last visited in her acclaimed 'Canopus in Argos' quintet of novels in the 1980s. It is sooner than you might think. And the earth's climate is much changed -- it's colder than ever before in the north, and unbearably dry and hot in the south. Mara, who is seven, and her four-year-old brother Dann find themselves somewhere very strange, not home...They are taken in by a kindly, grandmotherly woman, but this new life is hard: hunger, dirt, thirst and danger are the children's constant companions. Drought and fire carry off their adoptive home and force them to set off northward into the unknown, to experience a series of adventures that bring them through to an altogether altered world, where they can start to learn and build anew. Doris Lessing has written a compelling, troubling and entertaining novel that, through the remarkable odyssey of a brother and sister living in the imagined future, manages to tell us a great deal about the present we only dimly perceive and scarcely know how to value.

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 20:58:39

Infin have you read Ben in the World? it's the sequel to the fifth child and is good, it helps give closure to the fifth child. I found that book quite upsetting.

She is just such an amazing writer.

AnyFucker Wed 20-May-09 21:00:10


this will sound really shallow but when I see her books on the shelf in the library, I don't bother because her name seems so old-fashioned

silly ain't I

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 21:03:52

AnyFucker I did that for ages too, just dismissed her books as I assumed they would be boring and old fashioned blush

Then I ran out of books and got desperate and read The Fifth Child, and form then on I was hooked.

She really is amazing. Her characters take over my life when I'm reading, and some stay with me long after I've finished the book.

I highly recommend her work. It is fairly easy to read and yet oh my God so engrossing.

BigBellasBeerBelly Wed 20-May-09 21:04:01

anyfucker i don't pick her books up because she is so famous and award winning and grown up I worry they will be too difficult for me.

That is even worse blush

CHOOGIRL Wed 20-May-09 21:07:08

Is it better than the Golden Notebook? I tried and tried with that one, but gave up in the end.

AnyFucker Wed 20-May-09 21:07:13

what is the fifth child about ?

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 21:09:38

I haven't read the Golden Notebook.

The Fifth Child is about a family, a seamingly perfect family, with four children, living the ideal life, when their fifth child is born and he is 'difficut' to say the least. Lessing creates him as a bit of a monster and the story i about the mother's struggle to love him and accept him and stuff. It is very sad.

Cammelia Wed 20-May-09 21:10:49

Doris Lessing "The Good Terrorist" is one of my all time favourite books

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 21:19:32

Amazonsays about the fifth child:

'Listening to the laughter, the sounds of children playing, Harriet and David would reach for each other's hand, and smile, and breathe happiness.' Four children, a beautiful old house, the love of relatives and friends, Harriet and David Lovatt's life is a glorious hymn to domestic bliss and old-fashioned family values. But when their fifth child is born, a sickly and implacable shadow is cast over this tender idyll. Large and ugly, violent and uncontrollable, the infant Ben, 'full of cold dislike,' tears at Harriet's breast. Struggling to care for her new-born child, faced with a darkness and a strange defiance she has never known before, Harriet is deeply afraid of what, exactly, she has brought into the world

Jux Wed 20-May-09 21:19:55

I have read the Canopus in Argos quintet time after time and they're falling apart now. It's years since I read The Grass is Singing, but I reread The Good Terrorist about 5yrs ago (found it a bit irritating that time). I have read a few others 20-30 years ago.

Loved Mara and Dann. The woman is a genius.

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 21:24:33

Jux I haven't read those, you have inspired me to!

I also really enjoyed The Sweetest Dream, and couldn't put it down when I was reading it.

AnyFucker Wed 20-May-09 21:26:02

omg, I don't know how I have missed these books

she seems a very varied author

Jux Wed 20-May-09 21:31:15

They are clearly science fiction Overmydeadbody, so if you're not a sci-fi fan you might not enjoy them so much. However, they do, imo, constitute a very interesting allegory.

The last time I read them was while I was pg (10years ago) and in the months after dd was born. They were a huge source of comfort to me when the world was crashing down on my shoulders, and really helped me keep on top of the situation.

EachPeachPearMum Wed 20-May-09 21:41:11

I loved 5th child... though I haven't read it since I became a parent... time for a reread I think.
I really like (what little) Doris Lessing I have read

Overmydeadbody Wed 20-May-09 21:44:35

Jux it was the fact that they where science fiction that stopped me reading them so far, as I am generally not a science fiction person, but after getting so much out of Mara and Dann (which borders on sci fi) I would really like to give them a go.

Time for a tip to the library methinks.

MrsFlittersnoop Wed 20-May-09 21:59:19

I had a blown away moment when I first read "Shikasta" about 28 years ago. I It had a tremendous impact on me at the time, and profoundly altered my thinking.

"At once a brief history of the world, a tract against human destructiveness, an ode to the natural beauties of this earth and a hymn to the music of the spheres."

I haven't read any of the Canopus in Argos books for years though, but I particularly enjoyed "The Marriages Between Zones 3, 4 and 5". She describes the series as "space fiction" rather than science fiction.

She is a marvellous writer, and manages to convey complicated ideas in very straightforward language, so not "hard" to read at all.

Jux Thu 21-May-09 12:20:25

Give them a go Overmydeadbody. They are not typical sci-fi at all, nor fantasy. They are intelligent and well-informed, thoughtful and beautifully written as is all her stuff.

LyraSilvertongue Thu 21-May-09 18:09:06

You lot have inspired me. I'm off to the library...

AnyFucker Thu 21-May-09 19:29:31


I went to the library to look for Doris Lessing's books

I needed paperbacks 'cos I am off on hols on Saturday. The only one they had was a book of novellas called "The Grandmothers"

Anyone read it?

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