The Fifth Child (1988)

The Fifth Child





The first book we will be discussing on 1st May 2013 is Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child (1988). On this page, you will find some resources and questions which you may find illuminate your reading experience.






Book Club Podcast

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Book 1 - Doris Lessing | 0 comments

Dr Susan Watkins joins the Leeds Metropolitan University Book Club for a discussion of The Fifth Child. The discussion makes reference to the CWWA Book Club discussion points, but ranges widely as book club members provide their own responses to this novel. Do you agree or disagree with any of the issues raised? Dr Susan Watkins joins the Leeds Metropolitan University Book Club for a discussion of Doris Lessing's 'The Fifth Child'. May 2013. Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

read more

Suggested further reading…

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Book 1 - Doris Lessing | 3 comments

If you like Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child you might also like… Doris Lessing, Ben, In the World (2000) This is the sequel to The Fifth Child and tells us what happened to Ben when he grew up. The story takes us on his travels to try and find out who he really is, moving to the South of France and Brazil. He is still an outsider and exploited by those around him but in this novel, unlike The Fifth Child, we see things more from his point of view. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818) The original fantasy of male ‘birth’, Victor...

read more

Web Resources on Doris Lessing

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013 in Book 1 - Doris Lessing | 3 comments

The Doris Lessing Society This website is for the ‘global community of academics who are continuing to find great value and interest in Doris Lessing’s varied and copious oeuvre’. It contains many materials of interest for those new to Doris Lessing’s work too. Doris Lessing: A Retrospective This website contains a comprehensive overview of Lessing’s work, as well as a biography and bibliography and a section of interviews and articles which you can read online. Nobel Prize in Literature 2007: Doris Lessing This...

read more

Attitudes to Race in ‘The Fifth Child’

Posted by on Mar 29, 2013 in Book 1 - Doris Lessing | 0 comments

In my book on Lessing, I related the novel to attitudes to race in the 1980s. Here are a couple of very short quotations from my book for you to think about: Despite praise for the novel, many critics saw its message as profoundly conservative and potentially racist. Louise Yelin, for example, argues that in representing Ben as a throwback Lessing evokes the threat of the “enemy within” or racial “other”.’ However, I disagree with Yelin, and instead argue that The Fifth Child is ‘a critique of 1980s conservative Britain and its...

read more

Discussion Points

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Book 1 - Doris Lessing | 2 comments

You can think about these questions in relation to each book, and they will also form the basis of the discussion on the night. You might wish to share your views in the comments section (below). How did you explain what Ben is, or what, if anything, is ‘wrong’ with him? Did this novel remind you of anything else you have read and if so why? Although it starts off as quite a realistic novel, it seems to make more use of ideas from horror, gothic, and fairy-tale as it goes on. What did you make of that? David and Harriet seem to stand for...

read more