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Thousands of years in the future, all the northern hemisphere is buried under the ice and snow of a new Ice Age. At the southern end of a large landmass called Ifrik, two children of the Mahondi people, seven-year old Mara and her younger brother, Dann, are abducted from their home in the middle of the night. Raised as outsiders in a poor rural village, Mara and Dann learn to survive the hardships and dangers of a life threatened as much by an unforgiving climate and menacing animals as by a hostile community of Rock People. Eventually they join the great human migration North, away from the drought that is turning the southern land to dust, and in search of a place with enough water and food to support human life. Traveling across the continent, the siblings enter cities rife with crime, power struggles, and corruption, learning as much about human nature as about how societies function. With a clear-eyed vision of the human condition, Mara and Dann is imaginative fiction at its best.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061868559
List price: $10.99
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Thousands of years in the future, another ice age encroaches on Earth’s last habitable land in “Ifrik.” One village after another is decimated by drought and desperate survivors migrate North. In the dead of night, Mara and her young brother Dann are abducted from their home and brought to the stone hut of a poor but wise woman who cares for them. They are warned to forget their past, even their names.In the “Adventure,” as Lessing calls the story, Mara and Dann struggle to survive as they are forced to travel North to escape dangers that are both human and natural. Lessing uses the journey as a vehicle to comment on society. In Mara, she creates a loving yet strong, insatiably curious and resourceful female character that many would consider a feminist role model. Dann, in contrast, becomes emotionally unstable due to the traumatic events of his early childhood and Mara must intervene to save him from himself and external dangers. As they encounter different characters and cultures in their journey, Lessing deftly weaves in commentary about wealth, political power, drugs, education, women’s rights, socialism and environmentalism.Lessing, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, is one of the leading 20th century woman writers. She is best known for The Golden Notebook, written in 1962 and considered by many (but not Lessing) to be a feminist classic. Her extensive writing spans many themes and genres. This novel would be appropriate for mature students interested in women’s literature, 20th century literature, or science fiction that comments on society.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I read this book years ago and it continues to influence me and my thoughts. It's an incredible journey into the survival of a brother-sister team.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is not Lessing's best book, but it is a provocative look at a world in the throes of climate change and how communities and individuals adapt (or not) to that change. The overall plot is a little far-fetched, but the descriptions of landscapes from deserts to marshes and rivers that have flooded earlier cities have an incredible immediacy. The book made me very aware of the fragility of our civilizations and the endurance, through inexorable change, of the earth itself.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Some time in the future, perhaps 50 years or a thousand years away, two very young children set off on a journey north across Ifrik (Africa), one of two continents in the world not to be totally icebound. This seems even more topical now than when the novel was first published, given concerns about global warming.The journey will take them years, and they face all the trials of growing up along the way, as well as the problems of drought, getting food, separation, illness, drug addiction, war, love and sex and others.Mara is just 7 at the start of the novel, but already she is taking on a caring and protecting role for her 4 year old brother. She grows into a courageous and intelligent teenager and young woman. Dann is more ambiguous – Mara loves him but sometimes he is not very likeable, and can she rescue him from some of the situations he gets into? By the time she wrote this, Lessing had moved away from feminism but I was very interested in her portrayal of women's role in society and all the related issues through Mara.Along the way they encounter lots of societies at various stages of development, some seem better than others, but there is always a threat of conflict and war.Mara and Dann is fascinating and thought provoking, with very memorable protagonists, and it has made me want to reread and read more of Doris Lessing’s many other writings.There is lots of material for discussion here, about the environmental and other issues explored, about the characters, the problems and dilemmas they face, and about their quest for somewhere to settle.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Very interesting and well-written book about a brother and sister in a post-apocalyptic world, thousands of years after global warming has caused Africa to be the only inhabitable continent. The brother, Dann, and sister, Mara, are refugees who travel North from drought-ridden and warlike South Africa in search of a better life. They make friends and enemies along the way, and share incredible experiences as they travel. The characters are complex and authentic, and the story of their fight for survival is engrossing, particularly as they encounter remnants of previous civilizations. Excellent book.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read this years upon years ago, and have read it cover-to-cover several times since then. It is still my favorite book of all time [and that's saying something]. I can't imagine anyone, lover of any genre, not adoring this book. I highly, highly recommend it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Thousands of years in the future, another ice age encroaches on Earth’s last habitable land in “Ifrik.” One village after another is decimated by drought and desperate survivors migrate North. In the dead of night, Mara and her young brother Dann are abducted from their home and brought to the stone hut of a poor but wise woman who cares for them. They are warned to forget their past, even their names.In the “Adventure,” as Lessing calls the story, Mara and Dann struggle to survive as they are forced to travel North to escape dangers that are both human and natural. Lessing uses the journey as a vehicle to comment on society. In Mara, she creates a loving yet strong, insatiably curious and resourceful female character that many would consider a feminist role model. Dann, in contrast, becomes emotionally unstable due to the traumatic events of his early childhood and Mara must intervene to save him from himself and external dangers. As they encounter different characters and cultures in their journey, Lessing deftly weaves in commentary about wealth, political power, drugs, education, women’s rights, socialism and environmentalism.Lessing, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, is one of the leading 20th century woman writers. She is best known for The Golden Notebook, written in 1962 and considered by many (but not Lessing) to be a feminist classic. Her extensive writing spans many themes and genres. This novel would be appropriate for mature students interested in women’s literature, 20th century literature, or science fiction that comments on society.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I read this book years ago and it continues to influence me and my thoughts. It's an incredible journey into the survival of a brother-sister team.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is not Lessing's best book, but it is a provocative look at a world in the throes of climate change and how communities and individuals adapt (or not) to that change. The overall plot is a little far-fetched, but the descriptions of landscapes from deserts to marshes and rivers that have flooded earlier cities have an incredible immediacy. The book made me very aware of the fragility of our civilizations and the endurance, through inexorable change, of the earth itself.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Some time in the future, perhaps 50 years or a thousand years away, two very young children set off on a journey north across Ifrik (Africa), one of two continents in the world not to be totally icebound. This seems even more topical now than when the novel was first published, given concerns about global warming.The journey will take them years, and they face all the trials of growing up along the way, as well as the problems of drought, getting food, separation, illness, drug addiction, war, love and sex and others.Mara is just 7 at the start of the novel, but already she is taking on a caring and protecting role for her 4 year old brother. She grows into a courageous and intelligent teenager and young woman. Dann is more ambiguous – Mara loves him but sometimes he is not very likeable, and can she rescue him from some of the situations he gets into? By the time she wrote this, Lessing had moved away from feminism but I was very interested in her portrayal of women's role in society and all the related issues through Mara.Along the way they encounter lots of societies at various stages of development, some seem better than others, but there is always a threat of conflict and war.Mara and Dann is fascinating and thought provoking, with very memorable protagonists, and it has made me want to reread and read more of Doris Lessing’s many other writings.There is lots of material for discussion here, about the environmental and other issues explored, about the characters, the problems and dilemmas they face, and about their quest for somewhere to settle.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Very interesting and well-written book about a brother and sister in a post-apocalyptic world, thousands of years after global warming has caused Africa to be the only inhabitable continent. The brother, Dann, and sister, Mara, are refugees who travel North from drought-ridden and warlike South Africa in search of a better life. They make friends and enemies along the way, and share incredible experiences as they travel. The characters are complex and authentic, and the story of their fight for survival is engrossing, particularly as they encounter remnants of previous civilizations. Excellent book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read this years upon years ago, and have read it cover-to-cover several times since then. It is still my favorite book of all time [and that's saying something]. I can't imagine anyone, lover of any genre, not adoring this book. I highly, highly recommend it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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