The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five


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The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five is the second volume in Doris Lessing’s celebrated space fiction series, Canopus in Argos: Archives’. In this interlinked quintet of novels, she creates a new, extraordinary cosmos where the fate of the Earth is influenced by the rivalries and interactions of three powerful galactic empires, Canopus, Sirius and their enemy, Puttiora. Blending myth, fable and allegory.

Doris Lessing’s astonishing visionary creation both reflects and redefines the history of our own world from its earliest beginnings to an inevitable, tragic self- destruction.

The Marriages is set in the indeterminate lands of the Zones, strange realms which encircle the Earth. Zone Three, a peaceful, contented, matriarchal paradise, is ruled by the gentle Queen Al . Ith; the neighbouring Zone Four is a land given to war and chaos, controlled by the brutal warrior-king, Ben-Ata. Their marriage, a melding of the extreme male and female principles, threatens to destabilise the entire galactic empire.

‘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

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