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Mara and Dann
Doris Lessing
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1999



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At the southern end of all large land mass called Ifrik, two children, Mara and Dann, are victims of a palace coup and forced to flee from their home and family in the middle of the night. They are brought up in a poor rural village, surviving the hardships of a life threatened as much by drought and wild animals as by the hostile Rock People, who hate them. They join the great human migration northward, away from the southern lands that are turning to dust.
Mara and Dann encounter all kinds of people, survive many dangers. They are captured and enslaved, but escape, to be captured again in a country permanently at war. Dann becomes a general, while Mara finds herself a soldier in the opposing army. Again they
escape, always traveling north - she finds herself in a brothel only to run away; he nurses her through the terrible water sickness. This brother and sister love each other, save each other's lives a hundred times, traveling north - but what is North; what will they find there?

Mara hungers for answers to questions, Who are our parents, and why do so many people risk their lives to save us, as if we were precious? Who lived long ago in the ruins we see everywhere? Why do cities and peoples disappear? Mara, who sustains a compassionate loving nature despite the cruelty all around her, is one of Doris Lessing's most appealing heroines. And Dann and is as brave a hero as you'll find in any old tale.

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BOOKS BY DORIS LESSING:

Mara and Dann
1999
Adventure story set in the future, after the next Ice Age. A brother and sister in the continent of Ifrik are heading North, trying to escape from drought and war.
Story of Dann and Mara's daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog
2005
Sequel to Mara and Dann (1999). The earth's climate has changed it is colder than ever before and Dann, four in the first book, is now grown up and a general, and the man to whom everyone looks for guidance and leadership. The novel charts his adventures across the frozen wastes of the north, a journey that will eventually lead to the discovery of a secret library.
ON DORIS LESSING'S BOOKSHELF

The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, 1880

The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, 1904

The Grass is Singing
1950
Set in Rhodesia, this is the story of Dick, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, dependent and disappointed. Both are trapped by poverty, and in the heat of the brick and tin house, hemmed in by the bush, Mary finds herself seeking solace in the arms of the houseboy.
WHAT TO READ AFTER THE GRASS IS SINGING?

ACROSS THE COLOR BAR
Occasion for Loving
Nadine Gordimer, 1963

Age of Iron
J.M. Coetzee, 1990

The Way of the Women
Marlene van Niekerk, 2004

The Human Stain
Philip Roth, 2000

BOOKS THAT CAUSED A COMMOTION
To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee, 1960

Empire of the Sun
J.G. Ballard, 1984

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston, 1937

The Sheltering Sky
Paul Bowles, 1949

DESCENT INTO MADNESS
The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath, 1963

Atmospheric Disturbances
Rivka Galchen, 2008

The Mandarins
Simone de Beauvoir, 1954

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Ken Kesey, 1962

PIONEERS IN THE COLONIES
[De stille plantage]
Albert Helman, 1931

Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys, 1966

World's End
T.C. Boyle, 1987

Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe, 1958

The Golden Notebook
1962
Anna Wulf is a young novelist with writer's block. Divorced, with a young child, and disillusioned by unsatisfactory relationships, she feels her life is falling apart. In fear of madness, she records her experiences in four colored notebooks.
A Proper Marriage
1954
'Children of Violence', book 2
Martha Quest
1952
'Children of Violence', book 1
A Ripple from the Storm
1958
'Children of Violence', book 3
Briefing for a Descent into Hell
1971
A man is found wandering the streets of London with no memory of a 'normal' life.
The Summer Before the Dark
1973

Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta
1979
'Canopus in Argos', book 1
The Making of the Representative for Planet 8
1982
'Canopus in Argos': archives, book 4
The Diary of a Good Neighbour
1983 (under pseudonym 'Jane Somers')

If the Old Could...
1984 (under pseudonym 'Jane Somers')

The Good Terrorist
1985

The Fifth Child
1988

Under My Skin
1994
First volume of her autobiograhy, to 1949.
Walking in the Shade
1997
Second volume of her autobiography, 1949-1962.
Ben, in the World
2000
Sequel to The Fifth Child
The Sweetest Dream
2001

The Grandmothers
2003
4 short novels.
Time Bites: Views and Reviews
2004
Essays
Alfred and Emily
2008

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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht, info@the-ledge.com
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