A Dark-Adapted Eye
Like most families, they had their secrets... And they hid them under a genteelly respectable veneer. No onlooker would guess that prim Vera Hillyard and her beautiful, adored younger sister, Eden, were locked in a dark and bitter combat over one of those secrets. England in the fifties was not kind to women who erred, so they had to use every means necessary to keep the t...more
This is the story of an English family, traced through the ...more
This is a complex read where the narrator slowly unfolds events of the past. We are introduced to a vast array of family and friends, some important, some mere names, but we don't know who is important and who is not. The time frame shifts and changes as the narrator, Faith, recalls almost at random, events from the past.
For the first few chapters I was left ad ...more
I understand A Da ...more
She describes them this way:
"Ruth and Barbara are two aspects of me. Ruth is tougher, colder, more analytical, possibly more aggressive. Ruth has written all the novels, created Chief In ...more
Faith Severn, the niece of the hanged murderess Vera Hillyard, is approache ...more
The book is a reminiscence reexamined. Faith stays with her two aunts frequently; one is her father's twi ...more
Using flashbacks (something I usually dislike, but which Vine is an absolute master at) Vera's neice tells us how the whole situation came about, using as a frame to the novel the fact that someone wants to write about her aunt's crime and trial.
And so the reader is dragged into a tig ...more
I had a similar feeling after finishing this novel. There were far too many characters to keep track of and I actually had to write down on a piece of paper the family tree to have any hope of continuing to read forward.
While I admire her for coming ...more
From the very first chapter of A Dark-Adapted Eye we know that a woman has been hanged for the crime of murdering her sister. What we don't know is why. Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine, takes us back and forth (and back and forth, and back and forth) from the 1950s to the present (the 70s or 80s), to the 1890s, the 1930s, the 40s, the present again, etc. Our first-person narrator, Faith Severn (the hanged woman's niece), introduces characters without telling us right away how they fit into ...more
Faith has lived under the shadow of her aunt Vera, who was hanged for murder when Faith was in college. Years later, she receives word from a man who wants to write a book about Vera's crime and her motives. This takes Faith on a trip down memory lane, where the reader gains insight into a strange family dynamic that leads to murder.
It was a slow read. I found it a bit difficult to get into. I was intrigued by the dynamics of ...more
This book is no exception. A woman whose aunt was hanged for murder tells the gripping story of how the murder came to happen. We know from the first page who the killer is and who the victim is, and yet as the book goes on, it becomes more and more interesting and harder to put down.
Ms. Vine once again takes us on a journey. We are told from the start who was murdered and who did it, but we aren't told the motivation for the murder until the end.
The title refers to Faith, the narrator, being left in the dark so long about her family that it has taken her many, many years to fully comprehend what happened 40 years previous. He ...more
That was m ...more
I had been wanting to read some Ruth Rendell ever since loving a short story of hers that I read years ago. While checking out the public library in my new town, I poked around for a few different things and hit upon these book ...more
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 of sec ...more