Thus far, I have read two Barbara Vine books, the other being Anna’s Book, and I have liked them both very much. But then I read three books she wrote as Ruth Rendell, and they were meh reads at best, with some weird stuff about women having nervous conditions, and I decided Ruth Rendell / Barbara Vine was just not for me.
However, I bought A Dark-Adapted Eye at the book sale last year, in the faint hope that Barbara Vine would pull through after all, and then, because the hope was quite faint, I ignored the book I had bought for a year and a half. Until…what? Can you guess? Can you guess the point at which all this changed?
THAT IS RIGHT. UNTIL I INSTITUTED MY TBR SHELF.
I just cannot overstate how thrilled I am with the TBR shelf. I have read so many books from it. It’s bizarre! These are all books I owned and was interested in reading, and yet somehow having them out in general population never caused me to read them. Isolate them on their own shelf, and I’m tearing through them like nobody’s business. I’m making a speed sound effect right now, vvvvvvwwwww, to illustrate how speedily I’ve been reading my TBR books since instituting my TBR shelf.
I know. This is riveting. It would be impossible for anybody to get sick of hearing about my TBR shelf and its extraordinary efficacy. But this alleges to be a book blog, not a TBR shelf blog, so okay. I will talk about the book. I know y’all will find it boring, but don’t worry, I’m sure I will mention the TBR shelf again soon.
A Dark-Adapted Eye is about a woman called Faith who is contacted by a writer, Daniel Stewart, who wants to write a book about her long-dead aunts, Vera Hillyard and Eden Pearmain, the subjects of a pretty scandalous murder case in their time. Uncertain of whether she should help, Faith nevertheless begins to explore her own memory, and that of her surviving family members, to get to the bottom of what happened many years ago between Vera and Eden.
How greatly I enjoyed this book! I am revising my opinion of Barbara Vine back upward to get-from-library-author, though I still have no very good opinion of Ruth Rendell. For one thing, the book starts by telling the end and leaves a number of things about the middle ambiguous. It sets up little mini-mysteries and solves them or else keeps setting the stage to solving them. And then at the very end, when you think everything has been explained, it tosses in one of those last-minute things to remind you that you are not as smart as you think you are. Thus rendering the ending of the book all ambiguous. An ambiguous ending is glorious, glorious.
In addition to the pleasing structure of this book, it was very pleasingly written. When I was reading, I was aware of the mechanical pleasure of reading it. The language was lovely. The book was delicately, elegantly structured, doling out its revelations as if the reader already knew them and was just waiting to be reminded.
Books and Cooks
My Love Affair with Books
Tell me if I missed yours! Or if you are dying to hear more about my TBR shelf and how useful it is in making me read books I own and want to read.