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Piranha To Scurfy And Other Stories by [Rendell, Ruth]
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Piranha To Scurfy And Other Stories Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Length: 226 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Amazon Review

Ruth Rendell continues to be a passionate supporter of the short story. Her latest collection, "Piranha to Scurfy" and Other Stories, contains quite her most varied forays into the form yet, with a beguilingly disparate selection of tales, united by the usual cold-eyed Rendell narrative voice. The title story (the longest in the book, and a reference to an encyclopaedia entry) is something of a departure for Rendell: although her work has always been rich in elements of the macabre, this is her first full-scale horror tale, and a curious concoction it is. Taking equal parts of Stephen King (of whom a suave surrogate appears in the piece), the great English ghost story writer MR James and Rendell's own individual ground of twisted psychology, the tale is ostensibly an atmospheric study in burgeoning mental terror. A lonely and socially maladroit man finds himself driven to the point of madness when the demon of a bestselling horror tale appears to infiltrate itself into his daily life. But the real agenda of the tale seems to be a kind of proxy revenge by Rendell on obsessively nit-picking readers: the doomed protagonist, Ribbon, spends his time sending crushing letters to writers pointing out their errors of grammar and lapses in style. It's hard not to feel Rendell's relish at his horrific fate, and perhaps critical readers will be given pause. The characterisation has all the dark fascination of Rendell's best work, and if that final shiver of horror isn't quite delivered, Rendell enthusiasts will be more than diverted. The other tales are equally compelling, with The Professional and The Astronomical Scarf being particularly well turned. There is also a pleasingly steady progression of mood throughout the tales: one never senses that these pieces have been casually thrown together by an editor. And Rendell demonstrates time again that she knows how to keep the reader transfixed. --Barry Forshaw

Review

"Gloriously creepy. . . . Each beautifully crafted story...quietly builds in momentum and tension. . . . Cleverly chilling." "--Chicago Tribune"

"Like a wine that at first seems familiar and then leaves you with a profoundly different, delicious aftertaste, "Piranha to Scurfy" leaves you savoring what you've just imbibed for some time." --"The Boston Globe"

"Rendell at her best-subtle, insightful, disturbing and utterly mesmerizing." "--The""Buffalo News
"
"Moves gracefully between mystery and macabre." -- "The News & Observer"

Gloriously creepy. . . . Each beautifully crafted story...quietly builds in momentum and tension. . . . Cleverly chilling. " Chicago Tribune"
Like a wine that at first seems familiar and then leaves you with a profoundly different, delicious aftertaste, "Piranha to Scurfy" leaves you savoring what you ve just imbibed for some time. --"The Boston Globe"
Rendell at her best subtle, insightful, disturbing and utterly mesmerizing. "--The" "Buffalo News
"
Moves gracefully between mystery and macabre. -- "The News & Observer""

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 904 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital; New Ed edition (23 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003RWSBEA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #426,794 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This comprises of short stories and two novellas. The title story is about a man who spends his life reading and correcting the novels that he reads. He then writes to the authors to complain about all the errors he finds in their books. He makes the mistake of taking on a horror writer and his life becomes filled with terror as he convinces himself that the book is haunting him. I wondered if the author was based on Stephen King. A brilliant start to this book which is followed by several short but snappy stories, that all have chilling twists to their endings. This set of stories reminded me of Roald Dahl's works, and I fully recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
As a die-hard fan of Ruth Rendell's novels it grieves me somewhat that I just cannot take to her short fiction, and it's not for want of trying! I came to this one after "The Copper Peacock", which also left me feeling flat and so what-ish, and I was hoping that this would be better. But no. Her short pieces simply do not have the eyebrow-lifting masterly shocks and twists that come with her long fiction, nor your involvement with the plot. The short stories are predictable to the point of being turgid, and her characters simply aren't interesting enough to carry us along. The title story, the opening novella to the piece, is the kind of thing that I feel Stephen King could do standing on his head (if he was so inclined anyway!), and to much better effect. Ambrose Ribbon is a fussy middle-aged bachelor, who spends his lonely existence buying books and correcting them for mistakes, and then sending letters lambasting the authors for their shoddiness (has this happened to Rendell then? was the question I kept asking myself when I read it). When Ambrose decides to take on a horror fantasy writer he gets more than he bargained for. He becomes convinced that the book is haunting him, (mind-bogglingly dull is that), and all the time it is his guilt that he murdered his overbearing mother coming out. Very ho-hum. It is completely devoid of surprises, suspense, or any kind of chilling effect whatsoever. Where your flesh should be creeping you will be pinching yourself to stay awake instead! "Computer Seance" tries immensely hard to be a jokey piece with a cruel Saki-style punchline, but it's let down entirely by being predictable (again!) and mercilessly unfunny. I have to confess I gave up after that. I'll be sticking to her novels in future.
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Format: Hardcover
Perhaps it's not surprising that I am the first to dare to review this book, after reading the chilling title story 'Piranha to Scurfy'. If you've read it you'll know exactly what I mean by that, though I really do have to stick my neck out and correct Amazon here by pointing out that this story is in fact not the longest in the book, this distinction belongs to 'High Mysterious Union', in my opinion the most sinister and accomplished story. Overall, a fine showcase for Ms Rendell, with stories ranging from the fairly mundane and average to the outstanding. As always with Ms Rendell, things are very rarely what they seem, and the twist of the truly unexpected is what keeps her writing fresh. Recommended.
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By A Customer on 16 Dec. 2000
Format: Hardcover
I love Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine, and this superb book of short stories didn't disappoint. I thought the best was the title story, although 'The Wink' was also very satisfying. Rendell builds up such tension, yet never by using cheap or melodramatic effects. Even in stories of only a few pages, her characters come to life and they and their situations are totally believable. I hope one day Rendell's fantastic literature will be studied in schools! Excellent!
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