A future fable told now


Story about tales:
future fable narratives.
And Lessing is more…

Doris Lessing
The Story of General Dann and Mara’s Daughter,
Griot and the Snow Dog

Harper Perennial 2006 (2005)

The frequent description “future fable” just exactly describes this wonderful novel, a richly detailed tapestry of lives and themes and meditations on the world as it might well become. The tale of the young man Dann, who had experienced and accomplished so much in a preceding novel, is both deeply sympathetic and sad, and this reader, any reader in fact, does not need to have read the prequel to make connections with his character.

The story is set some millennia on from now, at a time when a thaw is beginning in the new Ice Age that has seen the glaciers and ice sheets reach the southern shores of Europe and lower the sea levels in the Mediterranean. Dann and his contemporaries inhabit the northern fringes of Africa (somewhere around present-day Tunisia perhaps) where rumours of war are commonplace and refugees are frequent. There are recognisable descendants of Africans, Asians and Europeans peopling this world but the action is mostly set in the ruins of ‘the Centre’, where museum exhibits and sealed-in books provide a barely translucent window on a past rapidly disappearing from view and receding from human understanding. Continue reading “A future fable told now”