Grasshopper
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Grasshopper

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  982 ratings  ·  63 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
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Barbara
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
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

...more
Kasey Jueds
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
Philip
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
Theryn Fleming
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
Kwoomac
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
Trish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hilary G
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
Catherine
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
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.
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
RJ
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
Victoria
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...more
Denise
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
Lisa
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...more
John Glover
My favourite of the Barbara Vine novels so far. Slightly faster paced. The characters are as always superbly developed, and the sense of menace ever present.
Constance Fastré
This was just way too long. And not very passionating. I liked the main charcater and the dark atmosphere but there is no real story.
Nancy
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
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...more
Sue
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
Bruce
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.
Lynda
Lots of day to day details, LOTS of foreshadowing. The book seemed really long, and hard to get into in the beginning. I also was distracted by the timeframe jumping. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with how I enjoyed it in the end. It was more of a love story than a mystery?! It seems it's not her best work. I'll try something else...
Tana-Rae Collins
Very original. I read this while I was camping. I never quite read anything like it and it's not what I expected. It seems more like a young adult novel, something I would recommend to teenagers. The story seems to be leaning towards a certain aspect in the beginning then bang turns into something else. I was not disappointed.
Susan McNally
I started out enjoying this book but the story became unconvincing principally because I didn't believe in the family in the flat trying to avoid detection from social services. Then there was an unconvincing twist in the tale ( won't give it away) but it was too much of a coincidence. Pity because she can write a good story.
Leonard Entwistle


Nearly didn't finish this, turgid and about 200 pages too long. They say books have beginning, middle and end, well this is all middle. I guess I just kept reading in the hope something interesting/exciting would happen eventually. Had to resort to skimming chunks of it just to get through it. Not recommended.
Melaszka
Enjoyed it on a plot and character level - got totally engrossed.

But Vine/Rendell is a bit like Nick Hornby where I'm concerned - love them on a story level, but the attitudes and morality behind and their books frequently make me want to vomit and the overall aura of middle-classness does my head in.
Bea Alden
Clodagh's passion was climbing electric pylons. But she is haunted by the memory of her boyfriend's awful death, when he became electrocuted on the pylon the two of them were climbing. Moving to London, she finds a new lover, with whom she discovers the thrill of climbing buildings and across roofs.
Pat Evans
I have all of Barbara Vine's previous novels on my bookshelf and retread them periodically. Normally I am pleasantly creeped out by Vine's work but not this one. Mi found it plodding. Too much run up and foreshadowing and not a strong enough resolution. Back to the drawing board Barbara/Ruth!
Jocelyn
Just reading this now. I tend to love British writers, the humour is so sophisticated, dry and subtle. The writing here conveys the characters' thoughts amazingly well. An interesting story line, human and simple yet not usual. Not an amateurish writing style in any way either. Like :-)
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What's The Name o...: Exploring the rooftops of London [s] 8 48 Nov 25, 2013 05:23AM  
  • The Bridesmaid
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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
More about Barbara Vine...
A Dark-Adapted Eye The Chimney Sweeper's Boy Fatal Inversion Anna's Book The Brimstone Wedding

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