" We are in Africa, now known as Ifrik. The northern hemisphere has succunibed to a new Ice Age. Two children, Mara and Dann, set forth on an odyssey towards the greener country on the chilly southern edge of the Mediterranean. As in all folk tales based on a journey, they pass through ordeals. They meet huge beetles whose pincers can bisect a child, lizards that can carry off a woman in their jaws, they pass through settlements and ruined cities. This skilful novel, both as adventure story and as ecological fable, displays all the vision of a muscular mind. I hope everyone reads it and it wins all the prizes ! " Victoria Glendinning, Literary Review. " Part fairy tale, part tract for our time, this is an ambitious, demanding, remarkable book. With " Mara and Dann ", Lessing has created a mythical girl and boy who are also touching and credible. Into Mara, the girl child who finds herself looking after her little brother while scarcely able to look after herself, Lessing pours all her insight into how female nature is shaped. A wise, rich, melancholy book ! ", Anne Chisholm, Sunday Telegraph. " Together Mara and Dann trace the patterns of gender and of human love from childhood to sexual maturity. Mara's adventures are female, stories of love, fertility, vulnerability and ultimately empowerment ; Dann's are darker tales of temptation and sin. Asserted throughout this gripping narrative is a belief in the indestructibility of love. A fascinating and profoundly curious novel. " Rachel Cusk, Express. " Lessing imagines in extraordinary detail how Mara slowly learns survival - how to dig up yellow roots to make flour, how to milk a half-starved cow, how to avoid the giant insects that flourish as drought and flash floods drive human beings into retreat. The reader is left elated by the epic scope of Lessing's vision of life on earth. She has produced her best book yet. " Maggie Gee, Daily Telegraph.