My second RIP II challenge read was The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing. My first proper foray into
‘One early morning, something took Harriet quickly out of her bed into the baby’s room, and there she saw Ben balanced on the window-sill. It was high - heaven only knew how he had got up there! The window was open. In a moment he would have fallen out of it. Harriet was thinking, What a pity I came in… and refused to be shocked at herself.’
She lulls you with her tone and her setting, not to mention that meek little granny author photo on the cover - and then grabs you with teeth and claws.
‘I could eat those flowers. I want to eat them, to fill up my mouth with things green, things alive, things which keep growing and dying and growing again. I want to fill myself up and keep out the grey in here, the fine dust, the thinness and coldness, the bloodless drinks of tea, the empty corners of the room where even light, even air is absent and only absence is present like a grey crushing blanket, a suffocating weight.’
And what to do when you find one like Dawson - read all the novels in one delicious feast or try to eek them out, to savour and to tease? At the moment I’m trying the latter but feel myself edging dangerously nearer to the former all the time.
And then most recently Into the
‘there’s a lucidity that sometimes comes in that moment when you find yourself looking at the world through your tears, as if those tears served as a lens to clarify what it is you’re looking at.’
While we are on the topic of tears I’ve found that even some disappointing books have their sparkling moments, like this jewel in the otherwise dull Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thompson -
‘In recent years, Iron Vale had become home to the