Author(s): Doris May Lessing
A classic tale from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, of a family torn apart by the arrival of Ben, their feral fifth child. 'Listening to the laughter, the sounds of children playing, Harriet and David would reach for each other's hand, and smile, and breathe happiness.' Four children, a beautiful old house, the love of relatives and friends - Harriet and David Lovatt's life is a glorious hymn to domestic bliss and old-fashioned family values. But when their fifth child is born, a sickly and implacable shadow is cast over this tender idyll. Large and ugly, violent and uncontrollable, the infant Ben, 'full of cold dislike', tears at Harriet's breast. Struggling to care for her new-born child, faced with a darkness and a strange defiance she has never known before, Harriet is deeply afraid of what, exactly, she has brought into the world ...
"The Fifth Child has the intensity of a nightmare, a horror story poised somewhere between a naturalistic account of family life and an allegory that draws on science fiction. Read it and tremble." CLARE TOMALIN, Independent "The Fifth Child is a book to send shivers down your spine, but one which it is impossible to put down until it is finished. Doris Lessing's power to captivate and convince is evident from the first, and the effect of the odd, alien child on the family is conveyed with quiet understatement which adds to the mounting sense of horror." Sunday Times "A powerful fable. Like the story of Frankenstein or the Minotaur, it generates all sorts of uneasiness. Its strength is expressive not didactic. A disturbing vision, The Fifth Child offers a faithful if chilling reflection of the world we live in." Sunday Telegraph "Doris Lessing can take any genre she chooses and brilliantly reinvent it; this time, the horror story. The Fifth Child is dramatic and memorable, playing as it does upon a most ancient fear." JUDY COOKE, Guardian
Doris Lessing is one of the most important writers of the twentieth century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. Her first novel, 'The Grass is Singing', was published in 1950. Among her other celebrated novels are 'The Golden Notebook', 'The Fifth Child' and 'Memoirs of a Survivor'. She has also published two volumes of her autobiography, 'Under my Skin' and 'Walking in the Shade'. Her most recent novel is 'The Cleft'.