From Doris Lessing, "one of the most important writers of the past hundred years" (Times of London), comes a brilliant, darkly provocative alternative history of humankind’s beginnings.
In the last years of his life, a Roman senator embarks on one final epic endeavor, a retelling of the history of human creation. The story he relates is the little-known saga of the Clefts, an ancient community of women with no knowledge of nor need for men. Childbirth was controlled through the cycles of the moon, and only female offspring were born—until the unanticipated event that jeopardized the harmony of their close-knit society: the strange, unheralded birth of a boy.
About Doris LessingSee more books from this Author
One day, on this isle of Fish Skin Curers, Seaweed Collectors and Old Shes, a virgin birth produces a Monster, complete with a “tube” below his navel and nipples that “aren’t good for anything.” As in old Greece, unwanted babies are exposed to the elements on the Cleft, and even while the Clefts ...| Read Full Review of The Cleft: A Novel
But in her celebrated novel The Golden Notebook, for example, these divisions were embodied in human characters who yearned for wholeness and there are no such characters in The Cleft. There are Shes and Hes, but they are symbols, not people.Sep 02 2007 | Read Full Review of The Cleft: A Novel
The Cleft by Doris Lessing 260pp, Fourth Estate, £16.99 A Roman scholar of the age of Nero possesses a mysterious manuscript from ancient times - times that he considers ancestral to his world, though they differ strangely from Roman, or even human, history and myth.Feb 10 2007 | Read Full Review of The Cleft: A Novel
The Cleft by Doris Lessing Fourth Estate £16.99, pp288 Doris Lessing has always been a novelist enthralled as much by ideas as people and, in her latest book, she more or less does away with people altogether.Jan 07 2007 | Read Full Review of The Cleft: A Novel
As he works his way through the fragments of the old writings, he finds a compelling but disturbing story: in a prehistoric time, in a "place near the sea," is an isolated community populated only by women known as the Clefts.Dec 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Cleft: A Novel
I started reading The Cleft intrigued by this idea of women existing in a population without men - spontaneously becoming pregnant and birthing only girl babies.| Read Full Review of The Cleft: A Novel
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