Thursday, October 11

Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child.

Doris Lessing wins Nobel Prize in literature
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Doris Lessing, author of dozens of works from short stories to science fiction, including the classic "The Golden Notebook," won the Nobel Prize for literature Thursday. She was praised by the judges for her "skepticism, fire and visionary power."

I read "The Fifth Child" this spring while waiting for the last Harry Potter to come out. I didn't know anything about it when I started reading it but quickly found it to be quite different and interesting. It is only about 130 pages but is full of very realistic characters and emotions.

I'm glad I read it. I will be checking out some of her other ones, probably some of her science fiction. This reminded me a little of Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land". In both, there was always a large communal gathering of friends and family around holidays with people staying for days.

By the way, I got the book at our local recycling center's book sale. $ 1.00 for a hard cover first edition. Yea.


From the book jacket:

Harriet and David Lovatt want the same things - fidelity, love, family life and above all a permanent home. Stubbornly out of line with the fashions of the 1960s they decide to marry and lay down the foundations of their haven in a rambling Victorian house.
At first, all is idyllic. Children fill their lives and re-united relatives crowd round the kitchen table at Christmas and Easter, greedily enjoying the warmth and solidity of the Lovatts home. It is with the fifth pregnancy that things begin to sour. The baby moves inside Harriet too early, too violently. After a difficult birth, he develops faster and grows much bigger than ordinary infants; he is unloving and instinctively disliked by his brothers and sisters. Inexorably, his alien presence wrecks the dream of their happy family. Harriets fear grows as she struggles to love and care for the child, finding herself faced with a dark sub-continent of human nature, unable to cope.

With The Fifth Child Doris Lessing triumphs in a realm of fiction new to her. She has written an ominously tangible novel, a powerfully simple contemporary horror story that makes compulsive reading to the last word.

Received the Grinzane Cavour Prize in Italy

Nominated for the 1988 Los Angeles Times Book Award


Mike Todd said...

Dang! You're smart. I don't think I've ever read any Nobel-prize winning stuff. The Caldecott Medal is more my speed.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I haven't read the Fifth Child yet, but I plan to. I used to read a lot of Doris Lessing when I was a teenager. Her Africa books are really well done, and her science fiction are a complete departure but strangely compelling.

Thanks for the link to the Jagger song. It is surprisingly good! Love the horns and the James Brown sound.

busterp said...

Mike. I had to look that up. Ha. Did you know Shel Silverstein never got one?

Barb. Glad I came across her book. I certainly will read more of them.

I usually like anything Mick does. 40+ years of listening.