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Avg. Rating: 4.5
A Real Twist on a Love Story
I have read most of Ruth Rendell's books written as Ruth Rendell, but this is my first one written as Barbara Vine. I don't really know why I waited this long. Perhaps I didn't want to be disappointed because I love Ms. Rendell's writing so much (especially the Inspector Wexford series). Well, I wasn't disappointed with this book, and intend to read all the others. Although this book is darker than the Ruth Rendell books, it is possible to tell that they are written by Ms. Rendell. She is a wonderful author, and her plotting and characterizations are really good. This book is also a little different because it is a love story when all is said and done, but there is the characteristic Rendell twist at the end of the book. The book is also different because everything in it is narrated, so we read about everything "second-hand" so to speak. But that doesn't kill the tension. I find it strangely kept the tension going tighter and tighter as we read through Tim's narrative. We are front and centre for love, death, fear, superstition and hate. Powerful emotions!
A Dark, Glittering Gem
So far I have read only three of Barbara Vine's novels. I was dissapointed by THE BRIMSTONE WEDDING and ANNA'S BOOK, but I will keep coming back to Vine/Rendell on the strength of this beauty. A dark, angst-filled, and twisty tale of slippery love. People who give it, people who don't. For these characters, acheiving love is like pushing two ends of the same magnet together...the more they try to be together the more frustrated they get, the more frustrated they get...well, you'll see what happens when they get frustrated.
Actually the big twist in the middle of the book I saw coming a mile away, but I still was swept along in the sheer masterful plotting of it all. Rendell/Vine neatly bridges the gap between gooey pulp and high-brow literary. This one is a flat-out gem.
What a marvelous novel!
This book has no main character; it has a narrator, but he is only part of the story...The homosexual professor who loves the narrator is a complex, loving, obsessive character whose life ends in tragedy. The girl with whom Cornish falls in love is also a tragic character, as is her love with Cornish. Cornish survives, but his live is merely a streaming banality; however, it can be argued that he prefers his dull life to the tempestuous loves with the woman and the professor. I believe that this book is one of Rendell's best, perhaps her best. Too often in her later fiction she offers the reader atmosphere that is actually just padding, immaterial to the novel. In this story her atmosphere, her tone and mood, her complex characterizations and her ability to draw the perceptive, sensitive reader into the lives of the main characters--particularly the professor--gave this reader chills, vicarious love, and ultimately streams of tears. AN OVERPOWERING NOVEL; READ IT...NOW!!! (almost a good as Cook's Breakheart Hill and Taylor's The Four Last Things.
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