Friday, 4 December 2009

British Fiction

Finished December 1
Portobello by Ruth Rendell
This is not a mystery, but more suspense around a number of characters in the same neighbourhood of London whose paths cross in interesting ways.
Eugene Wren is an art dealer and gallery owner recently turned fifty. He has a long-term relationship with a forty-year-old physician named Ella, which is about to become more permanent. Lance is a twenty-something unemployed uneducated man, kicked out by his parents, and recently dumped and kicked out by his girlfriend. He now lives with his great uncle Gilbert, a reformed ex-con, now heavily involved in the Church of the Children of Zebulun. Gilbert dislikes Lance intensely, but takes his rent money in exchange for as little as possible. Joel is the son of a wealthy couple who has been ostracized from his family and now is experiencing mental health issues.
As the world of these characters overlap and they interact with each other, each drawn towards a change in their lives that will require drastic adjustment after difficulties.
Intense psychological plots are Rendell's forte and this is a gem of an example. Little by little you are drawn into the minds of the characters as they move inexorably further towards their fates.

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