- Publisher: Harper-perennial (2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0006550835
- ISBN-13: 978-0006550839
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,408,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – 2000
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The future setting is fascinating. It's fun to see our time through the eyes of people walking around in the ruins of our civilization.
Lessing does not hesitate to make her characters suffer - the book is not for the faint of heart - but it's all to good end, and she rescues them very pleasingly when you think they can't take it any more.
Finally, the book (without preaching, except a tiny bit at the very end) has given me a real appreciation of basic necessities like water and food and safety that we take for granted, and what it would be like to do without them. I swear, I am taking shorter showers since reading it!
That said, the characters of both Mara and Dann were intriguing to me. Most of the time, Mara seems like Dann's "moral compass." While he saved her life, cared enough to return to the rock village to get her, he often treats her brutally, such as when he is gambling, puts her up as collateral, and loses her. Mara's love for him never falters and she seems to understand his good and bad personalities. The fact that this brother and sister edge up very close to having an incestuous relationship is very interesting - made me ask, is it our strong social taboo alone that keeps the vast majority of us from having sex with a sibling? Maybe so. Maybe we are not wired to resist the attraction of a sister or brother any more than we'd resist it with a non sibling. Mara and the woman who took care of her and Dann in the Rock village are the most admirable characters in this story. They are solid, never waver. You have to ask, who am I in this modern American civilization with all my comforts, plenty of food, a nice place to live; who would I be in a brutal, semi or non civilized world where survival is a moment to moment challenge. Do we really believe we are so good and moral that we would not behave as they do in Mara and Dann's world? Civilization advanced as survival became more secure. This story offers a wealth of ideas to contemplate.
However, I read it through and enjoyed seeing how the new planet and cultures were described. Interesting read over all.
I would definitely recommend this book, but not to a young adult. I would say this should be an 17 and up read.