Norma Fox Mazer
Saturday, the Twelfth of October
1975

from the dustjacket:

Loonies, Zan thought, her throat tight. Loonies! Crazies! She had never seen anything like the boy and girl who faced her. Naked, except for flaps hanging down from the front of woven belts, the two of them fingered, sniffed and tasted everything Zan wore, down to her dirty old sneakers. Loonies!

But even as the thought came to her, Zan rejected it: there was another explanation, one that made her recoil. The terrifying "storm" that had wrenched her out of Mechanix Park on a Saturday morning in October had set her down in this meadow lush with strange foliage and teeming with birds, insects and animals she couldn't name. Something awesomely out of the ordinary was happening to her, and the two naked kids poking her and chattering in an unfamiliar language were further evidence of just how far from her normal existence she may have been swept.

At first Zan cannot accept that there is no way back. And then she finds herself irresistibly drawn into the gentle community of cave dwellers. But even as Zan settles into the rhythms of life with the People, she clings fiercely to her own memories of home. All that she has to remind her of civilization is a button, a key, a safety pin and a jackknife, which she guards jealously. Only Diwera, the wise woman, senses the threat Zan poses to the ages-old life of the People. And it is Diwera who takes it upon herself to rid the People of Zan.


Norma Fox Mazer, author of the National Book Award finalist A Figure of Speech, has surpassed herself with this extraordinary and powerful novel about the underlying spirit of humanity. Ms. Mazer lives in Syracuse, New York, with her husband, novelist Harry Mazer, and the youngest two of their four children.

Jacket painting by Gene Szafran