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The Fifth Child (The Fifth Child #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,374 Ratings  ·  979 Reviews
Doris Lessing's contemporary gothic horror story—centered on the birth of a baby who seems less than human—probes society's unwillingness to recognize its own brutality.

Harriet and David Lovatt, parents of four children, have created an idyll of domestic bliss in defiance of the social trends of late 1960s England. While around them crime and unrest surge, the Lovatts are
...more
Paperback, 133 pages
Published November 17th 2010 by Vintage International (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Γκέλλυ
Mar 12, 2016 Γκέλλυ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
Μου συμβαίνει εξαιρετικά σπάνια να ξεκινήσω ένα βιβλίο και να με απορροφήσει τόσο πολύ ώστε να μην μπορώ να το αφήσω από τα χέρια μου παρά μόνο όταν τελειώσει. Το Πέμπτο παιδί, το ξεκίνησα σήμερα, το τελείωσα σήμερα.

Η Χάριετ και ο Ντέιβιντ Λόβατ είναι δυο συντηρητικοί νέοι, στην δεκαετία του 60 που ονειρεύονται οικογένεια, πολλά παιδιά, σε ένα μεγάλο παλιομοδίτικο σπίτι. Το όνειρό τους γίνεται πραγματικότητα μέχρι που έρχεται το πέμπτο παιδί, ο Μπεν. Ο Μπεν είναι διαφορετικός, ακόμα και ως έμβρ
...more
Stela
Jul 13, 2015 Stela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stela by: Carmen Irimia
It was the summer of 2013 that a friend of mine, who’s an English teacher, asked me how I would teach “The Fifth Child”. Since I didn’t know about the book or have it, she sent me a PDF copy and here I am, after an unsettling but fascinating reading, asking myself the same question: what key of lecture could I offer? Because it is, undoubtedly, worth reading. A little masterpiece about the fragility of happiness and the illusion of the security provided by family, as the author herself said in a ...more
Huda Yahya
الشعور القوي الذي غمرني هو
التعجب من نيل دوريس ليسينج نوبل

فالرواية أقل من عادية
ولم أشعر معها بأي ابداع تقريبا

ليست سيئة نعم
وربما للمؤلفة كتب أهم
ولكنني لست متحفزة للقراءة مججدا لها على الإطلاق


سيطر علي شعور ربما يبدو فكاهيا
شعرتُ بأنني طوال القراءة أجلس أمام شاشة تلفاز
وأشاهد فيلما تليفزيونيا مملا قليلا وقديم
وفيه الترجمة تظهر بالبنط العريض جدا كما هو حال الترجمات منذ عقد من الزمان

باختصار لا أرشحها لأحد
Doralyn
May 02, 2008 Doralyn rated it it was ok
This novel was disturbing on so many levels. It was supposed to have started out with this great couple who had all these wonderful family ideals, until the fifth child came along who was really tough to take (and basically a commentary on society's reaction to such a different child). However, I never saw the couple as having a great marriage. The only testament to any sort of greatness I guess would be their coupled desire to have a lot of children. Simply because their house was constantly fi ...more
Mariel
Apr 07, 2013 Mariel rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: everybody knows
Recommended to Mariel by: everybody understands

She felt rejected by him. They had always loved to lie here feeling a new life, greeting it. She had waited four times for the first little flutters, easily mistaken but then certain; the sensation that was as if a fish mouthed out a bubble; the small responses to her movements, her touch, and even- she was convinced- her thoughts.


But what about me? I've been shot. Go on without me, save yourselves. Ooh aah it hurts, like a spoon or a papercut that irritates your mind into the beyond. Listen,
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Daisy
Jun 20, 2011 Daisy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: well, I know who I wouldn't recommend it to
Shelves: england, house, autism
"It's crazy," said Dorothy. She was flushed with the hot tea and with all the things she was forcing herself not to say. p. 34

This is fascinating.
Yes this is about a bad seed, the last child in an otherwise happy family. But it also has a lot to do with perception and judgement, how the parents, Harriet and David, see themselves and how others see them and how they think others see them. And how they see others, particularly their fifth child. Who is criticized and how and why? What expectations
...more
Ahmed
Jun 28, 2014 Ahmed rated it really liked it
هذا هو أول عمل أقرأه لدوريس ليسنج:
عمل اجتماعى رفيع يحكى ببساطه عن طفل (طفرة) فى وسط أسرته .
يصور لنا العمل مدى المعاناة التى تعانيها جميع الأطراف من (الأب والأم ) وباقى أفراد الأسرة.
رغم أن العمل عن المجتمع الإنجليزى إلا أنه يجوز عليه قياس باقى مجتمعات العالم.
عمق نفسى واضح ودراية بمفاهييم التربيه المختلفه مع واقعيه فى تناول العمل
فى المجمل عمل جيد .
Thomson Kneeland
Apr 27, 2013 Thomson Kneeland rated it did not like it
This was my introduction to the writing of Doris Lessing; I had high hopes for the book but was sorely disappointed. The writing was pretty unengaging for me, though not poor. The plot was ridiculous in content, though perhaps acceptable as a sort of "unmagical realism"; completely unrealistic and unbelievable, along with two dimensional characters suitable for allegory only. Perhaps the book stands as an indictment of conservative 1950's family values, white picket fences, women staying home to ...more
Donna
Apr 30, 2010 Donna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: book groups
Wow!

This is the first Doris Lessing book I've read and she's a great writer. This is a true "horror" story...not in the classic sense, but in the real sense of a horrible situation that people must confront. It leaves the reader with the thought "what would you do if you found yourself in this situation?". Therefore it is a highly discussable book.

Interesting characters, interesting plot, great writing. What more can a reader ask?

Reread in April 2010 for Maze book discussion. Still thought it w
...more
Ryl
Feb 29, 2012 Ryl rated it it was amazing
I read "The Fifth Child" last night. That was so, sooooo disturbing. I'm exhausted today because I got my hands on it at 7:30pm and then I was up til 2 finishing it, but I knew I'd never be able to sleep unless I just finished it. Then I couldn't stop thinking about it, and dreamed about it!

If you haven't read it but have any inclination at all to read it, stop here and don't read the rest of my review. Then read it, and then come back here so we can discuss!!! I'm dying to talk to someone abou
...more
Yousra
Jul 31, 2016 Yousra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
مش قادرة أفهم إحساسي بعد الرواية دي!!! :) حاولت أقرا مراجعات وقعدت أدور على حد ممكن يكون فكر في إن إيه يا ست الجنان ده قرفتينا جتك هبل مثلا بس ملقيتش!!! >_<

لقيت ناس كتير واخدين الموضوع جد وكاتبين مراجعات "عميقة" خاصة الأجانب
-_-

المصيبة إني حاولت أعرف تيتة دوريس أخدت النوبل عن أي رواية بس فيه كلام مبهم عن الجوايز اللي أخدتها كلها جمعاء!! وعرفت إنها كانت نسوية وبترعى مشاكل النساء وقريت كلام كبير عن ولادتها والبلاد اللي عاشت فيها بس دورت على أي حاجة نسوية في القصة مالقيتش

طب القصة دي عايزة تق
...more
Aerin
Jan 21, 2015 Aerin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is terrifying, in both a general and a very specific way. I loved it, and it haunts me.

In the specific sense, it's a very domestic horror story, and taps into a fear that I suspect is pretty common, especially among women. I've discussed it with friends, this vague terror of procreation - not just the body horror of pregnancy and childbirth, of incubating some alien thing that will eventually push itself out of you - but the alarming uncertainty about what kind of child you will end up
...more
Sherif Metwaly

انا حاولت ....
والله حاولت ....
حاولت اربع مرات اكمل قرائتها لكن مقدرتش
!!!!! الواحد له قدرة ع التحمل ياجماعة
الترجمة مأساوية .. أو يمكن يكون اسلوب الكاتبة هو اللى كدة والراجل اللى بيترجم مش فى ايده حاجة يعملها
كمية جمل اعتراضية ف وسط الكلام غير طبيعية
يعنى ممكن تلاقى فى بداية الصفحة الجملة ابتدت ....وبعد سطر كدة عملك العلامة دى (-) عشان يقول جملة اعتراضية فى وسط الكلام ..لكن المشكلة ان الجملة ممكن توصل لاربع خمس سطور وبعد كدة يقفل بنفس العلامة (-) ويكمل الجملة اللى بدأها فى أول الصفحة اللى انت بت
...more
Didi
Jul 21, 2013 Didi rated it really liked it
This book freaked me out. I've never read a Doris Lessing book before and I'm almost sure that this one is out of the ordinary compared to what she usually writes. It's short but packed with lots of ideas concerning family, mother-children relationships, husband -wife relationships, societal expectations, etc. All done with a touch of gothic horror to slide it right down. Well worth the read. Now I'm intrigued to read other titles from Lessing. Although I'm afraid tackling would be a better choi ...more
Miss Ravi
Oct 27, 2015 Miss Ravi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رمان
فرزند پنجم دربارهی خانواده است، دربارهی فروپاشی خانواده.
چطور ممکن است تمام خوشیها ناگهان از بین بروند؟ چطور ممکن است زن و مردی مثل هریت و دیوید که تمام آرزویشان داشتن تعداد زیادی بچه است به وضعی برسند که دیگر رابطهشان به وضعی تصنعی و خالی از معنا بکشد؟ بِن فرزند پنجم است. او یک هیولای کوچک و مهارنشدنی است که نه میتوان از بینش بُرد و نه میتوان به حال رهایش کرد. او غیرعادی است، ناخوشایند و خالی از رفتارهای استاندارد اجتماعی. و دوریس لسینگ با روایتی ساده اما جذاب به داستان خانوادهای میپردازد که بی
...more
Susana
Aug 25, 2016 Susana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emprestados, ingleses
(review in english below)

Não recomendo este livro a ninguém.
As duas estrelas são benevolentes, na verdade é 1,5.
Até se lê bem, à conta da escrita simples, e rapidamente, também por não ter capítulos, sucedendo-se as cenas quase sem darmos conta.
Ao princípio até parece uma história "normal", mas depois surge Ben, a criança que aparenta ter vindo dum mundo ancestral e que arruína a felicidade de toda a família.
Talvez a autora tenha querido escrever uma alegoria quanto à impossibilidade de ser fel
...more
rachel  misfiticus
Jul 03, 2009 rachel misfiticus rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Irs
May 08, 2016 Irs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Lo mal que lo he pasado leyendo este libro, por favor, y eso que es tan cortito que en un par de viajes en bus te lo ventilas. Pero se pasa realmente mal y es que no hace falta que un libro de terror tenga monstruos, aliens, etc, para dar miedo, es mucho mejor cuando cuentas una historia convencional y le das un toque siniestro. En El quinto hijo, Harriet y David son una pareja que cumplen su sueño en común, que es comprar una casa enorme y tener familia numerosa. Todo va bien con Luke, Helen, J ...more
Alex
Oct 29, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing
You cannot shape your child into what you want, says Doris Lessing: you must help him become what he is. He may not be exactly in your image - but he will be a special snowflake in his own way. Glad to be getting more parenting tips from literature.
Ensiform
Apr 27, 2013 Ensiform rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A middle-class English couple buck the disapproval of both their families and plan to have “at least six” children, buying a huge house and becoming the focus of all holiday gatherings. The fifth child, however, Ben, after a difficult pregnancy, turns out to be some sort of evil throwback, horrifying and sending away the extended family.

This slim novel appears to be making a comment on social selfishness, as well as being a parable for our violent modern times – “the barbarous eighties,” as the
...more
Valerie
Jan 11, 2012 Valerie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: roman, english
What an extraordinary book. First it starts quite ironically by this couple who believes that they can be happy and have this big family, in a giant house, having to work so much to make the dream live. Then Harriet has 5 children in 6 years, and this fifth one will be different, but no one agrees to name the difference, Ben is like the "call of the wild", he is like Nature dangerous, strong, he does not care of what is going on he's in his own world, he's nor good nor bad, he's a force of survi ...more
Julie
Jun 24, 2007 Julie rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: barren men
I believe the only reason Tom feels so strongly in favor of this book is due to the fact he is unable to give birth. As a female, it's terrifying!
Deborah Markus
Sep 20, 2014 Deborah Markus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reread this the day Doris Lessing died. It's very short, and every sentence packs a heady concentration of power.

This is the novel that introduced me to Lessing. I was lucky enough to be working in a bookstore when it was released; I read a review and immediately used my employee's discount to buy a copy. I think I read it all in one sitting that day, too.

The premise is simple: A man and a woman fall in love because each sees in the other a rejection of the shallow, worldly, sex-is-entertainm
...more
Sonya
Mar 13, 2016 Sonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
فرزند پنجم، ماجرای به دنیا آمدن و رشد کودکی است که شبیه هیچ کس نیست. بن پسری که در ظاهر شبیه اجداد غار نشین مان است. مادرش هریت نمی تواند پسر غول مانند خود را رها کند و به خاطر حفظ او توسط مادر ، بچه های سالم و زیبای خانوداه در طی سالیان مجبور به ترک خانه می شوند. هریت مادر بن حتی از دوست داشتن این موجود عجیب که نه ماه به شکمش ضربه میزد، مطمئن نیست و بن نیز هرگز به آغوش گرفتن های ظاهری مادر واکنشی نداشته و همیشه با چشمان بی روحش به اطراف نگاه کرده است. بن می تواند حتی یک موجود فضایی تلقی شود که ...more
Roberto
Feb 17, 2016 Roberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Chi paga per le nostre scelte?

Due ragazzi timidi, teneri, impacciati si incontrano, si innamorano, decidono di sposarsi e di... fare figli. Tanti figli! Una casa piena di bimbi felici e vocianti. E vogliono anche una casa grande, grandissima, in modo che ci sia spazio per tutti, anche per grandi riunioni famigliari con parenti ed amici.

Servono grandi mezzi però per fare tutto ciò, mezzi che non hanno. Ma se credi che tutto ti sia dovuto, che la fortuna sarà sempre dalla tua parte e che sei migli
...more
Ana
Apr 13, 2014 Ana rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, horror, 2014
“I hated writing it,'' said Doris Lessing. ''It was sweating blood. I was very glad when it was done. It was an upsetting thing to write - obviously, it goes very deep into me somewhere.'' -Doris Lessing

Meet Ben.
description

“He was a squat, burly little figure, with a big head, the yellow stubble of his course hair growing from the double crown of his head into the point low on his heavy narrow forehead. He had a flattish flaring nose that turned up. His moth was fleshy and curly. His eyes were like lumps
...more
Stephen Durrant
Apr 08, 2010 Stephen Durrant rated it really liked it
This book will speak to all who have looked at certain misfits or delinquents and wondered if there might really be genetic throwbacks among us, modern-day Neanderthals so to speak. A very conventional English couple of the 1960's marries, moves into a large suburban house and proceeds to fulfill their happy ambition of producing one child after another. All goes swimmingly, or almost so, until the birth of the fifth child, who is quite literally a little monster. Their happiness shattered, the ...more
Arash Radmanesh
Nov 30, 2008 Arash Radmanesh rated it it was ok
لسینگ از نویسندگان معدودی است که در طول دوران نویسندگی اش هرگز به یک سبک و اسلوب خاص بسنده نکرده و همواره درصدد آزمودن ژانرهای گوناگون یوده است؛ و جالب اینکه او تقریبن در همه ی این آزمون ها موفق بوده و در هریک از ژانرهای مختلفی که کار کرده،آثار مهم و قابل توجهی برجای گذاشته است.
این کتاب، "فرزند پنجم" به نوعی اولین تجربه ی مهم لسینگ در ژانر وحشت است. رمان مزبور داستان زن و شوهری را روایت می کند که پس از آشنایی و ازدواج،تصمیم می گیرند خوشبختی را به معنای عام آن در زندگی خود به منسه ظهور برسانند.خ
...more
Nikos Karagiannakis
Τελικά οι τρομακτικές ιστορίες είναι αυτές τρυπώνουν στην καθημερινή ζωή των ανθρώπων, χωρίς μεταφυσική. Πόσο τρομακτικό μπορεί να είναι ένα παιδί; Πόσο τρομακτικοί μπορεί να είναι οι τρόποι που έχει η κοινωνία για να αντιμετωπίζει τέτοια παιδιά; Μπορεί η πρωτόγονη, βίαιη ιστορία του ανθρώπινου (ή κάποιου άλλου;) είδους να πάρει σάρκα και οστά στη σύγχρονη εποχή; Η Ντόρις Λέσινγκ δίνει τη δική της εκδοχή...
Lavinia
Jul 10, 2009 Lavinia rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, fiction
The book was compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which really gets on my nerves. Why on earth do we have to do that? Publicity? I do that sometimes myself (i.e. comparing books), but on a personal note. I’m not a publisher / critic and my opinions don’t go on book blurbs or magazines. I wish publishers found an interesting / original / catchy thing to say about the book itself in order to sell it rather than just compare it to a classic or whatever best-seller is handy.

Back to the book. Tho
...more
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500 Great Books B...: The Fifth Child - Doris Lessing 5 44 Jul 30, 2015 03:52PM  
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7728
Both of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like other women writers from southern African who did not graduate from high school (such as Oliv ...more
More about Doris Lessing...

Other Books in the Series

The Fifth Child (2 books)
  • Ben, In the World: The Sequel to the Fifth Child

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“...you can only value something if you've experienced it.” 6 likes
“While she strode rapidly through the ward to the door at the other end, she was able to see that every bed or cot held an infant or a small child in whom the human template had been wrenched out of pattern, sometimes horribly, sometimes slightly. A baby like a comma, great lolling head on a stalk of a body... then something like a stick insect, enormous bulging eyes among stiff fragilities that were limbs... a small girl all blurred, her flesh guttering and melting - a doll with chalky swollen limbs, its eyes wide and blank, like blue ponds, and its mouth open, showing a swollen little tongue. A lanky boy was skewed, one half of his body sliding from the other. A child seemed at first glance normal, but then Harriet saw there was no back to its head; it was all face, which seemed to scream at her.” 4 likes
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