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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  1,417 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
Ruth Rendell's tenth novel, written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, tells the chilling story of an English woman who recalls her life, realizing her compulsion for climbing and peering into windows saved her life, but admitting it cost a terrible price.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 3rd 2000 by Shaye Areheart Books (first published January 1st 2000)
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(showing 1-30)
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Rebecca McNutt
Grasshopper is a thrilling crime story, but what really makes it stand out is its peculiar yet engaging "Pylon", a small yet enigmatic setting explored by a girl and her friends.
Jul 26, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
As is usually my custom, I will not write a synopsis of this book. It is easily found elsewhere. To classify this book as a mystery, is somewhat of a misnomer, but there are some elements which suit this label. Briefly, the title, Grasshopper refers to the pylons, the structures which support the electric wires in an area. Early in the narrative the main character, Clodagh,as a young teen and her friends found their excitement in climbing these frameworks. As she grew older, she moved to Londo ...more
My first book by this author, and it's already on my favorite authors shelf. Really enjoyed it. Terrific characterization and I love her psychological insights. I fell in love with the protagonist right away and had to learn more about her. The story shifts from present to the past and there is so much foreshadowing that just tantalizes you all the way through. She even leaves a few questions in your mind that are never resolved. I really enjoyed it and I only dock a star because I felt the plot ...more
Kasey Jueds
Jul 06, 2011 Kasey Jueds rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I read this book when it first came out, and had forgotten how amazing it is: smart and moving and mysterious and strange in the best possible way. I suppose it is a mystery, but only in the quirky way that all Barbara Vine's books are mysteries--not traditional, but deeply compelling. This one involves claustrophobia, adoption, love, electricity, the architecture of London, roof-walking, kidnapping, betrayal... and the plot is so bizarre, in some ways, that describing it would make it sound com ...more
Feb 18, 2010 Philip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Anyone seeing my praise and high ratings for other Vine novels will no doubt be surprised at this book's two-star rating - quite simply, it's my least favorite Vine, period. I was not enamored of it when I first read it upon publication (which involved putting it down and picking it up again several times over the course of at least a couple of months), and I remain so to this day - although I did finally get through GRASSHOPPER, it's the only Vine novel that has defeated me on attempts to re-re ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

This seemed a much lengthier read than the actual 400 and something page count would have me believe. It might be that picking it up and putting it down for about three months isn't the best way to read it but it did seem to drag. Altogether too much foreshadowing of the 'if only I'd known then what I know now' type which rather than heightening the suspense leads you to not be surprised by many of the events in the book.

I'm making it sound like I hated it which I didn't. It was a much more int

Theryn Fleming
Jun 18, 2010 Theryn Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grasshopper was, I think, less dark than other Barbara Vines I've read, perhaps because it was clear from the outset that the ending would be a (mostly) happy one. The ending doesn't tie up all the loose ends, though, which is good. It definitely kept me turning the pages and, when I got to the last page, I experienced that little pang of sadness that you do when you've become attached to the characters in a book and you have to let them go. That kind of surprised me because none of the characte ...more
Samer Bou Karroum
Jun 23, 2016 Samer Bou Karroum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't plan to read this book, but once I opened it and read the first 2 to 3 pages, I knew I was trapped.

A very well written book, with a really attractive style. The writer doesn't keep you waiting for the next event, doesn't bore you with unnecessary details. Instead, there are always hints to the next events, which make you want to know more, and to continue reading. There are always small details that will trigger your imagination ...

Its a story about Clodagh, written by her, in a form o
I've never read anything by Ruth Rendell before in either of her incarnations. but I know she's one of those popular murder mystery writers so I assumed she could keep a story bubbling along. When I started this book I thought the main character's dilemma was interesting, the crowd she became caught up in was also interesting. But somewhere about halfway through this book the whole thing hit a plateau and hit it bad. It was something to do with the family that was in hiding over the foster child ...more
Aug 24, 2016 R.L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author outdid herself with this one. I know as Ruth Rendell she writes serious suspense with a twist of murder mystery. As Barbara Vine she writes what are often complex character studies wrapped up in story. Sometimes it doesn't work as well as this one. This one is outstanding. The girl in Grasshopper loves heights but not being underground. So her first flat is a basement one, while she is in college in London. The people she gets involved with, soon after moving to London, love to climb ...more
Opening with a secret and a compelling (and unexplained) claustraphobia... sounds like a great start, but unfortuneatly for me, it never really progressed from there.

My main problem with this book was I really disliked the heroine, whom I presume we were supposed to empathise and sympathise with. After she is blamed by her parents for the death of her friend in a 'climbing a pylon' accident -pylons being the grasshoppers of the title - Clodagh goes to London, where she gets her kicks climbing o
Dec 09, 2007 Trish rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hilary G
Jun 24, 2013 Hilary G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I have never really understood what criteria Ruth Rendell applies when deciding whether to publish a book as a Rendell or a Vine. I could understand if all the Wexford novels were one and everything else another, but this isn't so. I am particularly confused now I have listened to Talking to Strange Men (Rendell) and Grasshopper (Vine) as they are so remarkably similar. Both tell a long and complex tale about an unusual group of people (what a quirky universe Rendell inhabits) where even the mos ...more
The book is written by Barbara Vine, an alter-ego of well-known British mystery writer Ruth Rendell.It is essentially a love story. The author tells the story through the eyes of Clodagh Brown, who has bumped into a woman she once knew, eleven years after they had been kind of friends. Clodagh reviews the events that took place over a roughly 6 month period when she was twenty, newly in love, and making choices based on her youth and naivete. I persisted in reading this book, in spite of its ver ...more
The Cats Mother
I had never read a book by Barbara Vine and only discovered from reviews on here that she's Ruth Rendell's alter-ego. I have mixed feelings about it: I liked that it's an unusual coming-of-age story about a young woman recovering from a traumatic event in her teens, but found it dragged a lot, with too much unnecessary and annoying foreshadowing.
Clodagh tells the story in a diary-writing style, recounting events from 11 years earlier. She as much as admits that she and her friends were self-indu
Rachel Holierhoek
Since this was the first Barbara Vine novel I've read I had a hard time deciding if her awkward sentence structure throughout the novel was supposed to reflect the youthful narrator's country dialect or if she's just a bad writer. Nonetheless this was rather distracting throughout the entire novel -- quite confusing at times. I couldn't puzzle out exactly what it was she was trying to say. Whether this is owing to my own ignorance of British idiomatic phrasing or a result of poor editing, I cann ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, u-k
I found this at a used bookseller's in the St. Jacob's, Ontario market. Since I had read several Ruth Rendell novels I decided to try this from her pseudonym. It's a very gripping novel, a young girl is sent to London after a tragedy in her home town, and in her alienated state finds a group of similarly alienated friends. When older authors try to get into the heads of a younger generation it doesn't always work, but Vine is successful enough here. I found this very hard to put down, although a ...more
Alison C
Jan 20, 2017 Alison C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young Clodagh moves to London to go to school following the tragic death of a friend, a death that she had a part in causing. Soon, she finds herself running over the rooftops with new friends, each of whom has his or her own tragic story to tell, although she doesn’t know that at first. How those lives intersect and affect each other provides Clodagh with a new sense of herself, of other people and of becoming an adult…. Barbara Vine is, of course, Ruth Rendell, writing less crime and more psyc ...more
I had some enjoyment from this novel, as it gave me a look at details about London and about those who enjoy climbing roofs that I wouldn't have otherwise had. However, I was frustrated at times by the stupid decisions and behaviors of some of the characters, especially the narrator and her boyfriend Silver. Of course, that indicates that the author made may have had me believe in the reality of these individuals. I've read at least one other Barbara Vine novel that had a similar feel. I really ...more
Nov 10, 2007 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I loved Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell writing as), based on my total love of the book No Night is Too Long. Unfortunately, this book is nowhere near as good. It has some great situations -- teenage girl blamed for the death of her boyfriend after he climbs a pylon and is electrocuted, motley group of young people climb roofs and discover the hiding place of an abducted child -- but it's pretty draggy throughout, until the ending, which it earned from me its third star. I still think Rende ...more
I began listening to this book on CD, but long about CD 15 I couldn't listen any longer. The characters were clearly on the path to a train wreck, but it was taking an excruciatingly long time to just get it over with. I ended up taking the hard copy of the book out of the library so I could skim it to get my answers.

The narrator was likable, but most of the other characters were only marginally so, and a few were despicable. The foreshadowing was laid on a bit thick, "as I was to learn later" s
Chanaka Hettige
It`s rooted around a set of youths having a different life style than what we expect. They all have turning point or a significant incident in there short life which kept them apart from others. These made a background with lots of obstacles and incidents which are pretty fictional.
It`s written in the perspective of a young woman who is the protagonist. Her story is not the entertaining sort. It was not a nice read in my perspective. Though the book have a fast phase towards the very end, which
May 09, 2015 Janine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing. The tragedy that opens this book leads to a new life for Clodagh but she is not one to shirk from it again. Building an insulated fantasy life where everyday real life rarely penetrates, it is unsurprising when this all comes crashing down. Set in the current day with Clodagh recounting her story, for me I wanted more about how she finally decided to be an electrician but like most of her decisions, her spur of the moment approach and discussion of this was a let down. Overall a very ...more
Terri Bakker
Jan 04, 2016 Terri Bakker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, and I especially liked the main character. It is refreshing to read a book with an independent, strong young woman in the driver's seat. The story is quite good, and bridges the worlds of adolescence and adulthood well. The author's habit of referencing a future event (such as referring to how that characters didn't realise that their current situation would soon be changing for the worse) was rather annoying, but in the end, I could appreciate the technique. Definite ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a long book. I don't mind reading a long book, however not all of this book seemed necessary. There were too many discriptions of the scenes from the roofs. Also all of the jumping from the past to the future to the present go a little confusing. The author did not foreshadow, she foretold and then we had to read how the characters got to that point. But the surprise was already spoiled. That being said, I still liked the characters and wanted to find out what happened to them. I can say ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Weakest book I've read, or in this case tried to read, by Vine/Rendell, which includes all of the Wexford series and about half of the stand-alones. She is one of my favorite authors. The story was okay. The characters were okay. The writing was okay. If I were stuck somewhere with nothing else to read, I'd probably be glad to have it. But with so many other potentially better books beckoning, I only made it about a third of the way through before giving up on it.
Lise Petrauskas
This is my first Barbara Vine, though I've read plenty of her work as Ruth Rendell. It's taking me awhile to warm up to it, but I'm sticking with it because it is a studio listen. Unfortunately, I never really took to these characters. I think it was partly the narrator, but this book didn't grab me. So many circumstantial and ultimately not very interesting details. I did like the surprise ending, though.
Feb 21, 2016 Ann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the first Vine (Rendell) book I've given up on. I checked that I read it but didn't really get past the first few chapters. The main character is an interesting one but the detailed descriptions of her avoiding tunnels, the underground, as well as her beloved pylons are frankly mind-numbingly boring, at least for me. I usually gobble up a Vine book within days. Just couldn't go on with this one.
Jackie Jameson
I read one review that used the term, "meandering." I will agree with that opinion. Not a mystery, but possibly with elements of one, more of a novel of a (tiresome as the term is) coming of age story of the passions of youth and it's naïveté lost to maturity and in growing up, but with a happy ending. Not the typical Rendell/Vine novel, except in the superb writing and physiological depth of her characters.
Jill Rodriguez
I picked this book up at the library because it was listed as a "mystery". It is not a mystery or suspense novel. It would better be describe as a "coming of age" novel. I gave the story only two stars because I had a hard time following the narrative voice and the over-describing would have been better spent on character building. I struggled through the first 7 chapters. I did manage to finish the book and though it was not for me, someone interested in British literature might enjoy it.
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What's The Name o...: Exploring the rooftops of London [s] 8 53 Nov 25, 2013 05:23AM  
  • The Rottweiler
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Pseudonym of Ruth Rendell.

Rendell created a third strand of writing with the publication of A Dark Adapted Eye under her pseudonym Barbara Vine in 1986. Books such as King Solomon's Carpet, A Fatal Inversion and Anna's Book (original UK title Asta's Book) inhabit the same territory as her psychological crime novels while they further develop themes of family misunderstandings and the side effects
More about Barbara Vine...

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