Monday, November 26, 2007
A Dark Adapted Eye
A Dark Adapted Eye is the second book I've read by Barbara Vine. I owe a big thank you to the bloggers who have written about her books because I'm sure I would never have picked them up otherwise. I cannot tell you how many people have commented on the fact that the book I've been carrying around (different cover than shown) does not look like something I would typically read - and they are right. Vine's books look like typical murder mysteries but they are really so much more.
A Dark Adapted Eye is the story of Vera Hillyard, as told by her niece Faith. We know from the outset that Vera has been hung for murder around 1950, yet we do not know who she killed or why. A reporter in the present day is doing research for a book and causes Faith to revisit her memories of the time. Faith's reminisces begin when she was a young girl, visiting her Aunt in the country, and the story continues in this vein as Faith becomes older and watches the actions of her elders. This book is very domestic, very much a family drama that happens to have a tragic murder tied to it. Vines drops little hints and comments that we don't understand until later on. I find her such a clever writer and find it hard to believe how prolific she is. I enjoyed this book, and while I didn't love the ending, I would still consider it a very good read.
Barbara Vine is Ruth Rendell, and when I wrote about Asta's Book I had wondered what the differences were in the books written under each name. The copy of Dark Adapted Eye that I have contains a letter from Rendell on this very subject. She writes that she has been called both Ruth and Barbara for her entire life and they are two different facets of her personality. Barbara has a softer voice which is more intuitive and is the more feminine part of her personality. I have a few other Vine books waiting in the wings and look forward to them.
I am currently reading:
The Apple of My Eye by Helene Hanff
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West for Karen's new bookgroup. I just started this last night.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell - I just picked this up again last week. I'm having a bit of trouble with it...Margaret Hale has been visiting Bessy and Nicolas Higgins quite a bit and the parts with the Higgins' speaking is written in colloquial English (is that the proper word?). I don't know why, perhaps because I'm reading at night and I'm tired but these parts make me feel so tense because I have to work so hard to understand what's being said. A minor gripe, really, but it's keeping me from wanting to pick up the book again.