The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog
This book felt more like a long epilogue than a sequel. It was only about a quarter or at most a third the length of the original book and had a much smaller scope, but nonetheless I enjoyed it almost more than the first book. The book focused on
This book felt more like a long epilogue than a sequel. It was only about a quarter or at most a third the length of the original book and had a much smaller scope, but nonetheless I enjoyed it almost more than the first book. The book focused on Dann, and the first half of the book was from his perspective. It was a lovely description of his visit to the melting ice caps and life with the island people. He came across as much more emotional when the story was from his own perspective and I think I liked him more. The second half of the book was from the perspective of Girot, the man who was putting together an army for Dann at the centre. It was quite strange as Girot seemed to have been the "boy" character mentioned in Mara and Dann. However, in Mara and Dann it came across pretty explicitly, at least I thought so, that the "boy" and Dann were having a sexual relationship. This was not the case in the sequel, where either the relationship had been rewritten, or Mara had been reading far too much into it.
The most interesting thing about this book was the loss of knowledge and the repetition of history. The characters were living in the remains of a museum and library that had been built by the refugees from Europe to preserve knowledge. It was really interesting to see that even though the people had worked so hard on trying to preserve the knowledge, so much of it was lost. The most interesting part was finding the hidden room, the remains of the sand libraries, where scholars worked trying to understand the old and lost languages and learn of the history that was written there before they were destroyed by the encroaching flood. The fact that they took this knowledge, or parts of it, and tried to build a new centre of knowledge in their new country was one of the most optimistic parts of the book.
I found it frustrating that one of the first things that happened was the news that Mara had died in childbirth. Having had such an arduous journey only to be killed at the end of it seemed particularly sad. It also seemed like perhaps it would have made a better ending for a book than a beginning.
But overall I found I really enjoyed this book, perhaps even more than the first (though it couldn't be read without having read the first). It was enough to convince me that I should definitely read more of Doris Lessing’s books.