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A Sight for Sore Eyes

4.3 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (1998)
  • ASIN: B0063DPX6O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on 21 Aug. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Once I had started I could not stop. The characters are heading towards desaster so unavoidably it is almost painful. I find her often mentally very disturbed protagonists so convincing that sometimes it is hard to tell who is really right or wrong. This is maybe the best book I have recently read.
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By A Customer on 23 Nov. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book is like biting into a piece of ripe fruit. Ruth Rendell's books are great partly because of their lucid complexity; she weaves two or three (or five or six) plots together. The books are best when she sticks to two or three. Rendell fans will be delighted with A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES; she avoids the mistakes of the last few years, in which she sometimes bit off more than she could chew.
This book is one of her studies of the psychopathic mind. It is also beautifully atmospheric, which is one of Rendell's trademarks. It has symbolism, red herrings, and dead bodies stashed away in unlikely places. I wish I had not read it so fast. I wishI were still reading it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ruth Rendell has been writing now for 40 years, and you'd think after the huge output she has achieved that she might be starting to go off the boil a bit, or even start getting a bit repetitive. But she is consistently coming up with the goods, again and again. "A Sight For Sore Eyes" is a leisurely tale, spanning many years, but it is absolutely enthralling.
Francine Hill witnessed her mother being shot dead in her hallway when she was a little girl. Eventually her father, riddled with guilt that he was somehow inadvertently responsible for his wife's death, marries Julia, a psychotherapist who has been struck off for being too zealous in her concern for one of her patients. Julia's excessive zeal is transferred to Francine, who she sees as a disturbed child who needs to be ruthlessly protected from the outside world.
On the other side of the tracks Teddy Grex is growing up in an emotionally-cold household, where his family barely seem to interact with each other on any kind of human level. Teddy is determined to rise above all this and make something of himself, but he doesn't realise that his family's dire upbringing of him has left a terrible mark on his soul. When he's grown up he meets Francine at college and becomes obsessed with her beauty. Francine in turn sees Teddy as a sort of knight in shining armour, someone to come and rescue her from the clutches of her overbearing stepmother.
The terrible truth is though that Teddy is a murderer who has already despatched a member of his family to an untimely death, and is to commit murder again before much more time has passed. He also doesn't want Francine as a real flesh-and-blood girlfriend, but as a sort of living statue to adore.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an avid fan of Ruth Rendell but usually I only read Inspector Wexford novels. I recently discovered that I should read this book before her latest release "the vault" and found it absolutely riveting. It is a standalone story which I strongly recommend. Lorraine Mulligan
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. the tension came from the unexpected. Not from a series of murders being investigated by policemen, but rather from the interelationships between the characters. I felt sorry for Teddy, who seemed to have risen above his background only to prove to be, after all, fatally flawed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read The Vault first but this is the first of the two. At least it resolved the mystery of the open drain cover which wasn't explained in The Vault. However I'm not sure how the car ended up in someone's garage in The Vault when it is in a different place at the end of this novel. It is readable but a bit weird and the characters are annoying, hence 3 stars.
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By booksy TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I'm 40 and a prolific reader, this is the first time I've picked up a Ruth Rendell. Perhaps because she's been going so long and I didn't really know where to start and felt beginning with the first Inspector Wexford might prove a bit of a `dated' read. So, I decided to start here - a stand-alone novel, which is then followed by The Vault (I believe this can also be read by itself, but picks up part of the story from A Sight for Sore Eyes).

I must say I'm torn as to how much I enjoyed this book. Did it keep me reading on? Yes. Did I enjoy the writing? Yes. However, I also felt that the tone of voice was somewhat twee, middleclass and dated (and I don't say this as an insult to the middle classes - I fall into that category myself!). At one point, I looked at the publication date and was surprised to see that it's 2011. This novel had the type of narrative inflection I'd assumed the Wexford novels would have. Incredibly middle England and a little bit out of step with real life and the present day. It starts in the 60s, but the two main characters, Francine and Teddy, are supposed to be modern - mobile phones are used; yet the whole feel of the novel is very past-times. I understand that due to both of their personal circumstances, Teddy and Francine have been somewhat isolated from the real world - yet there were times when Teddy (without giving anything away) was incredibly proficient and capable and other times when he was incredibly green; and these two sides just didn't seem to gel. Again, without wanting to reveal the plot itself, I was surprised by the number of `liberties' which seemed to be taken re getting away with a crime, covering it up etc.
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