- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (7 May 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141040181
- ISBN-13: 978-0141040189
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 410,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Dark-Adapted Eye Paperback – 7 May 2009
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'Compulsively readable... a carefully devised plot unfolded with the most cunning art. Wilkie Collins and Dickens would have admired it' Sunday Times 'Brilliantly plotted. Vine is not afraid to walk down the mean streets of the mind and can build up an almost tangible atmosphere of menace and unease' Daily Telegraph 'It is no secret that Barbara Vine is the distinguished crime writer Ruth Rendell and in A Dark-Adapted Eye we have Ms Rendell at the height of her powers. This is a rich, compelx and beautifully crafted novel, which combines excitement with psychological subtlety. I salute a deeply satisfying achievement' - P.D. James
Like most families, they had their secrets ... --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Beautifully written, I didn't want it to end.
Having read it I'd have to agree, and also with those critics who say that, were she not always shunted into the detective story category, it would surely have been in contention for some major literary prizes.
Narrator Faith, who takes you back in time to tell the story of her aunt who was hanged for murder, draws you into a dense, uncertain world with forensic attention to detail and character and leaves you, at the end, to come to your own conclusions about these people and their relationships. How did such a seemingly unremarkable family, so desperate to conform, produce this nightmare scenario?
The words 'dark psychological thriller' get bandied about a lot these days in connection with some very flashy, too clever by half books that often end up as Hollywood blockbusters, but this is the real thing - a superbly crafted story that sucks you in so completely that you find it hard to stop reading, and then to shake off its atmosphere when you do.
I was going to hold back a star because of the number of names she tends to throw at you, which makes for an unnecessarily confusing read, especially at the beginning. But it's one of those rare books that really lingers in the mind, one I'll probably keep coming back to over the years, so five stars - and now I'm looking forward to reading to all the other novels she wrote under this name.
There is a murder in this..at least one.. and a woman is judicially hanged. The book starts off with a child, who is to grow into the main protagonist, awakening on the morning of this most certain of deaths. The story then unfolds jumping forward and back in time to see how the tragic chain of events arose and what the after effects were. In the present time a writer wants to do a book on the murderess and contacts the family to get their stories, not all want to talk,one was a babe in arms when it happened.
Much of the action takes place during the second world war and before it in rural East Anglia the sense of time and place is profound.
I have deliberately not given away much of the plot, almost anything I say would be a spoiler all I can say is I highly, highly recommend it.
If you are unfortunate enough only to have experienced this author's recent workm you are going to be totally taken aback this book is far far better than anything she has written in this century
Faith, a quaint blend of the second Mrs. de Winter and a character from Anita Brookner, is our patiently probing narrator. She is an onlooker who was badly hurt in the crossfire, `branded' by her family association with Aunt Vera (whose name also means Faith). Vera goes to the gallows, a now barbaric seeming death, but capital punishment was still on the statute books then. What is so especially poignant and touching here is the polite, informative way in which we are told of those `different times'. Not really so long ago, within my lifetime, however the stomach churning fear of disgrace, losing face, being cast out was so terrible and true as to completely bend and deform what could have been happy lives.
BV slowly, carefully, cements the random facts into place, completing a construction so perfect, so professional, it seems that we are reading what must be a true, historical account. She builds a buttress wall of perceived and acknowledged truths; holding back the boiling, violent, animal emotions that raged behind the firmly closed doors of propriety, shoring up impossibly high moral standards. At no time are we quite sure what the conclusion will be.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the slow burn style of this book. You know from the outset whodunnit but not yet why. It takes you on A meandering journey to the endPublished 7 months ago by Jo.T
This book was well written and I found the structure - you know from the outset who did it but you only find out at the end who the victim is - intriguing but it was hard to stick... Read morePublished 7 months ago by S. Williams
Hated it. Chosen for our book club only 25% managed to finish it. Really strange writing style and story never really develops or resolves.Published 13 months ago by Maggie
As I was reading this on my Kindle at bedtime, I wished there was a family tree I could refer to as in the early chapters I found it confusing trying to remember who was related... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tesanna
Fantastic. The characters are painted so life like. It did take a little while to really "get into it", but I find that with all Barbara Vine and Ruth Rendell and it is... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Pauline
Excellent One of her very best. This 1980's,work is a psychological thriller under her own name- not Barbara Vine. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Judy Sahm
We read this book for our book club and I came away from reading it not sure how I felt. There's no doubt the book is well written and it's had good reviews, but maybe it's simply... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Happy Reader