The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

November 2007

I’ve been intending to read this book for years, both because I like the concept of a “beastly baby” and because I’ve always felt I should read some Doris Lessing. While the titular fifth child is indeed beastly and there are some very creepy and unsettling scenes, the book as a whole was a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps it was by design, but I found the writing awkward and the characters largely unsympathetic (and, what’s worse, unengaging). It’s a very short book—it has no chapters—and while it was satisfyingly unpleasant, it wasn’t terribly satisfying as a whole.

Further reading…