Suggested further reading…

Suggested further reading…

Apr 09

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 Frankenstein discovers the secret of bestowing life and creates a living being out of multiple dead body parts. Will the creature turn out to be loving and kindly or the monster of many subsequent films? More importantly, what kind of father will Victor make? A classic of the Romantic and Gothic tradition, Mary Shelley famously acknowledged that the central idea for this novel came to her in a dream.

Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003)
Shriver’s novel won the 2005 Orange Prize and is told by Eva, the mother of Kevin, who is in prison for perpetrating a High School massacre. Narrated in letters to her husband (from whom we assume she has separated) Eva tries to work through her feelings of guilt and the question of whether she has any responsibility for Kevin’s actions.

John Wyndham, The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
Classic 1950s sci-fi, Wyndham’s novel imagines a village where all the women of child-bearing age mysteriously become pregnant at the same time after a ‘Dayout’, or period of one day, when everyone living in the village, or attempting to enter it, loses consciousness. Nine months later the children are born: they are all blond, golden-eyed ‘cuckoos in the nest’ or changelings, with strange abilities to communicate telepathically and who knows what intentions.


  1. Barbara Schiff

    I was so fascinated by this book I had to read “Ben in the World” immediately and am about half way through that now. Without the sequel I felt it unfinished. Even before
    looking at the suggested reading I had thought of “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “The Midwich Cuckoos” honestly! I hadn’t thought of Frankenstein though even though it was a book I had read for another
    book group not that long ago but “Ben in the World” seem to have some similarities eg
    Ben showing a warmer side to those who treat him well. Anyway hope to be there for the meeting.

  2. bookclub

    Glad to hear that you have found out suggestions tally with your own thoughts, Barbara.

  3. Helen Loughran

    I read this over the weekend and did think of Frankenstein almost straight away. I also thought about it in comparison to Lennie in our book from last month “Of Mice and Men”. Forgotten about Midwich Cuckoos though – remember being spooked by that when reading when quite young!

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