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The Cleft

Year First Published: 2007
First Published by:Fourth Estate
This Edition:British first edition

From the book jacket:

An old Roman senator, contemplative at his late stage of life, embarks on what will likely be his last endeavour: the retelling of the story of human creation. He recounts the history of the Clefts, an ancient community of women living in an Edenic, coastal wilderness, confined within the valley of an overshadowing mountain. The Clefts have no need nor knowledge of men - childbirth is controlled, like the tides that lap around their feet, through the cycles of the moon, and their children are always female. But with the unheralded birth of a strange, new child - a boy - the harmony of their community is suddenly thrown into jeopardy.

In this fascinating and beguiling novel, Lessing confronts head-on the themes that inspired much of her early writing: how men and women, two similar and yet thoroughly distinct creatures, manage to live side by side in the world, and how the specifics of gender affect every aspect of our existence.

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