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The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five (Canopus in Argos: Archives) Hardcover – March 12, 1980

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'Doris Lessing's preoccupation with the balance of dominance and need between the sexes has here extraordinary scope. A visionary fable full of strong, romantic ideas. - Gay Firth, The Times

'Doris Lessing has chosen the language of fairy tales in order to keep the memory of ordinary earthlings' sexual love, its antagonisms, its moments of bliss. Her touch is glancing, amused, feline throughout.' - Marina Warner, Sunday Times

'The Marriages is a feminist allegory of the relations between the sexes, full of the constant charm of the unexpected and the discoveries of an imagination surrendering itself to the momentum of its own narrative and visual invention.' - Robert Towers, New York Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Doris Lessing was one of the most important writers of the second half of the 20th-century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Her novels include The Grass is Singing, The Golden Notebook and The Good Terrorist. In 2001, Lessing was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in British literature. In 2008, The Times ranked her fifth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". She died in 2013. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (March 12, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394509145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394509143
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,325,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book many years ago, and had a happy memory of it. I was very pleased that a fresh reading lived up to that memory.
On its surface, it examines the roles of men and women, represented by two estranged, neighboring Zones. The first is pastoral, prosperous, and ineffective. The second is harsh, militaristic, and also ineffective. The two are not really reunited, but they break their polarization and isolation. Peaceful exchange between them is restored, and both are healthier for it.
Saying anything more would be saying too much. I was interested, though, that the nations seemed to imitate the mating of their ambassadors. One nation was archetypically male, the other female. The ambassadors, like germ cells, are living things that pass from one nation to the other, and are united. I never though about it before, but fertilization is destructive both sperm and ovum, even if somthing new comes from the fusion. The protagonists, the envoys of the two Zones, similarly suffer for the greater future. Other metaphors emerge from the story, too, and some may have strong personal meaning for you.
I really can't do justice to the elegance and peaceful pace of Lessing's writing. That, you'll have experience for yourself. Although this book is second in a series of five, they can be read in any order. Each book's story is unrelated to the others, but the set as a whole is far more than the concatenation of its parts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and eventually enjoy coming back to it again.
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Format: Paperback
I read this brilliant and much beloved book of Doris Lessing every year. And I learn something more from it each time I read it. There is one page near the end of the book which is rippled with my tears of past readings. Each time I read it, I think that I won't cry this time. And yet when I arrive at the bumply page, my tears unleash yet again.
This is a profoundly moving story, yes, a brilliant and touching love story. Yet, it is much more than that. It is a map of transformation, one of the deepest, truest ones which I have found.
I am the author of six metaphysical books myself, and this beloved book of Doris Lessings, along with the rest of her inspirational "Canopus in Argus" series, has played a profound part in my own personal growth and transformation. For this, I am extremely grateful. Thank you Doris Lessing for writing so exquisitely about what is usually only known deep within our core beings!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second in the Canopus in Argos series and it is the best. I absolutely love this story. This is a beautiful love story that evolves and transforms. This novel builds upon the first one in the series. I would start with the first book and move on from there into the whole series, as you really must do that to understand what is going on. Doris Lessing’s fresh images and vivid imagination make this series a true literary accomplishment and I’m so happy I was introduced to her writing in college. I highly recommend this series and especially this title. It was my favorite in the series and I’ve reread it several times now. Each time I find something new and fresh and come away satisfied with a good read.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book many years ago, and had a happy memory of it. I was very pleased that a fresh reading lived up to that memory.

On its surface, it examines the roles of men and women, represented by two estranged, neighboring Zones. The first is pastoral, prosperous, and ineffective. The second is harsh, militaristic, and also ineffective. The two are not really reunited, but they break their polarization and isolation. Peaceful exchange between them is restored, and both are healthier for it.

Saying anything more would be saying too much. I was interested, though, that the nations seemed to imitate the mating of their ambassadors. One nation was archetypically male, the other female. The ambassadors, like germ cells, are living things that pass from one nation to the other, and are united. I never though about it before, but fertilization is destructive both sperm and ovum, even if somthing new comes from the fusion. The protagonists, the envoys of the two Zones, similarly suffer for the greater future. Other metaphors emerge from the story, too, and some may have strong personal meaning for you.

I really can't do justice to the elegance and peaceful pace of Lessing's writing. That, you'll have experience for yourself. Although this book is second in a series of five, they can be read in any order. Each book's story is unrelated to the others, but the set as a whole is far more than the concatenation of its parts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and eventually enjoy coming back to it again.

//wiredweird
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How little we know or can imagine what may happen to this planet, or any other, as it has been happening for ages! And the reason for all this: providing experiences developing our consciousness, us the uppermost layer of the planet, or perhaps of this particular solar system.

Remember that Lady Doris was a student and friend of the eminent sage Idries Shah. Thus the extraordinary quality of this whole series Canopus in Argos: Archives of which this volume is a part. Read the whole corpus, I suggest. You will get a wider perspective of what kind of ants, nay bacteria, we are compared to the whole Cosmos. And again, the Purpose of all this: both kind of similar to some parts of some religions and also going so much beyond the popular simplifications, beyond what the author calls Degenerative Disease.

And still it is an easy read, not the dryness of the Western philosophy. Of course if you are capable of transcending the mass media or social media daily nonsense. For people who aspire to thinking as opposed to mechanicality which we mistake for thinking. Be prepared to allow that it is less fictional than you may think.
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