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Publisher Description

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 certain that their old-fashioned contentment can protect them from the world outside—until the birth of their fifth baby. Gruesomely goblin-like in appearance, insatiably hungry, abnormally strong and violent, Ben has nothing innocent or infant-like about him. As he grows older and more terrifying, Harriet finds she cannot love him, David cannot bring himself to touch him, and their four older children are afraid of him. Understanding that he will never be accepted anywhere, Harriet and David are torn between their instincts as parents and their shocked reaction to this fierce and unlovable child whose existence shatters their belief in a benign world.

Fiction & Literature
May 14
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

jrnorton8488 ,

Not to horrifying horror story

Although it is meant to be a horror, i ended up being more sympathetic towards the "scary" character but overall i really enjoyed the novel, it kept a great pace and was quite a page turner. But if you are really looking for something that will make you second guess turning off the lights, this is not it.

Lenny1214 ,

5th child only deserves 2 stars

Warning: There will be spoilers in this review m. I was excited to read this when I saw the description, and I'm afraid my expectations were not even close to what I was given. For one thing, it was irritating that there was no chapters; the entire book is one huge chapter. The story takes too much time establishing the characters' backgrounds, and by the time the fifth child is born, you are already prepared to give up. And, to add insult to injury, there isn't much about the book that categorizes it as a horror story, except for the child killing the animals and almost dying in the mental institution. Another one of the few horrific themes in the story is the mother's poor parenting. How could you trust your own child's safety with an adult man who rides a motorcycle, while the child is in the backseat? She even lets the man take her kid to the shore for days at a time a d seems bot to notice. The time spam was all over the place, jumping from one day to a year ahead to three years after that day. The ending was extremely weak and hard to comprehend, and frankly, it was not needed. It could have ended after Ben left with hid gang and it would have made sense. Although I feel that the sequel would answer my unresolved questions, I do not intend to read it. The idea behind Lessing's novel had the potential to make a fantastic story, but all of the flaws that come with the novel ruined it for me.

Birthday girl 8 21 96 ,


All books shall be on free mode then everybody shall be winning, duh?!

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