The Chinmey Sweeper's Boy Hardcover – 1 Jun 1998
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Joyce Carol Oates "The New York Times Book Review" One of the finest practitioners of her craft in the English-speaking world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Barbara Vine is Ruth Rendell. Twelve novels have been published under this pen-name, including A Dark-Adapted Eye, which won the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger Award. Ruth Rendell sits in the House of Lords as a Labour peer. She lives in Maida Vale, London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
When Sarah begins her research, however, she discovers that her father's identity is as dark and fog-shrouded as the coast on which they live, that his name, parentage, upbringing, early work experiences, and entire past life may not be what she and her family have always believed. As Sarah delves into the past, this novel by Barbara Vine (the pseudonym used by Ruth Rendell for her most "psychological" novels) becomes a genealogical investigation into the life of a most mysterious man. Sarah's discoveries often come with a hard price, emotionally, affecting the memories she and her sister have of their revered father but, in many ways, liberating their mother and allowing the sisters to know her in new ways.
Vine reveals the mysteries of Gerald Candless in slow increments, her careful construction allowing the reader to share in the discoveries as information comes to Sarah through her research and that of an assistant she hires to act as a detective.Read more ›
In fact, the frankly bizarre denouement could be read as a very bad taste joke, rather a homophobic one at that, a silly and unbelievable way to end a rather lengthy book for the long suffering reader.
The best part of the book, in my opinion, is the convincing depiction of the loveless marriage between the successful author and his naive wife. Her constant hurt at his excluding her from their own marriage rings horribly true.
An unusual book, with an imaginative narrative structure, undermined by the "crime" revealed at the end. Maybe a more traditional storyline, where a murder or another serious misdemeanour is uncovered, would have worked better?
So far, so thrilling. But I felt the story never really got off the ground. The plot lacked pace and, as with so many of Rendall's novels, the characters were by turns irritating and deeply unpleasant. There was no real examination of their feelings and motivations and, crucially, no satisfying conclusion - although the mystery of Gerald's past is revealed (after a clue so enormous you wonder how his apparently intelligent daughter missed it), several major issues, including Ursula's relationship with her daughters, were left frustratingly unresolved.
But for me, one of the biggest let downs was the excepts from Gerald's novels and descriptions of his plots. For someone who was supposed to be an excellent, Booker-nominated novellist, these were simply not up to scratch, which utterly destroyed the illusion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the 1st novel I have read by this author and I was captivated by it from the first page hope to read more.Published 11 months ago by Carl Laverty
Very good book. It kept me interested to the end . Problems of homosexuality are anlittle remote now as we live in a different agePublished 22 months ago by G.Sand romans champetres are the ones we remember most
Unfortunately it is the characters in this book that let it down. There is just no-one to like! They are all very "human" but none have any redeeming qualities to make the... Read morePublished on 4 April 2014 by Hilary
Excellent story, making the reader feel like an unseen observer, moving amongst the characters watching their family relationships fall apart as past truths come to the surface. Read morePublished on 28 Mar. 2014 by belinda anderson
I have given this book to so many people and they always love it. Definitely the best Barbara Vine book, though lots of the others are also excellent reads. Highly recommended.Published on 1 May 2013 by Mrs. Susan A. Ordish
Bought as on book club reading list with Death comes to Pemberley by P D James. Theywete good to compare.Published on 1 May 2013 by Sharon Wright
Addresses many issues such as treatment of women, predjudices etc. It was somewhat predictable as to Gerald Candless's roots but nevertheless was an entertaining read.Published on 26 April 2013 by Mags