The Fifth Child Author:Doris Lessing In the unconstrained atmosphere of England in the late 1960s, Harriet and David Lovatt, an upper-middle-class couple, face a frightening vicissitude. As the days' events take a dark and ugly turn nearing apocalyptic intensity, the Lovatts' guarded contentedness and view of the world as a benign place are forever shattered by the violent birth of... more » their fifth child: Ben, monstrous in appearance, insatiably hungry, abnormally strong, demanding, brutal.
A smug, conservative couple's fifth child (after four model children) inspires fear and horror. "The implications of this slim, gripping work are ominous,'' wrote PW. Lessing indicts those in authority who refuse to acknowledge responsibility for the violence inherent in mankind.
The mistery of parenthood
Maria Ines Mogaburu, Argentine psychiatrist and writer, 09/24/2003
Why is it that most parents love their children and their children love them? Why do we take that love for granted? This short, breathtaking novel by Lessing makes us ask ourselves questions like that. It combines the narrative and fantastic genres. Poor Mark and Harriet. I'm glad I'm not under their skin.Please don't read this book before going to bed, or you won't sleep at all. And, what is worse, you will stay awake asking yourself if those noises are perhaps your children, awake and thinking God knows what.« less