26 July 2013

Forgotten Book: A DARK ADAPTED EYE, Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell)

My plan this year for my contributions to Friday's Forgotten Books hosted by Pattinase is to feature books I read 20 years ago - in 1993- from the records I have in my "little green book", which I started in 1975.
In 1993 I read 111 books and was pretty well addicted to crime fiction by then.

I can see from my records that I had begun to explore the works of Barbara Vine. I am not sure whether at that stage I knew that this was Ruth Rendell writing under another name. I suspect I didn't.
I have found a reference that says that at first both names were shown on covers, but I don't think that was the case in Australian editions. That link also explains how as a child Rendell was often called by both names, and the differences she sees between them.

A DARK ADAPTED EYE  was published in 1986 and was the first of Rendell's novels under the Vine pseudonym. (there are now 15 of them). I read it just over 20 years ago.

When Faith Severn's aunt was hanged for murder, the reason behind her dark deed died with her. For 30 years, the family hid the truth--until a journalist prompts Faith to peer back to the day when her aunt took knife in hand and entered a child's nursery.

The novel won an Edgar Award and then was made into a BBC film for TV in 1994.

The title: A dark-adapted eye is one that has adjusted to darkness so that it is able to discern objects. In the context of the novel, the title refers to Faith's ability, after many years, to examine and analyze her family's history and its tragedy.

Review at BooksPlease

I'm very tempted to re-read the book. It sounds wonderful and I remember almost nothing of it.


NancyO said...

This is my favorite of all of her books!

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - This is a really well-done book I think. Such great characterisation! I hope you'll get the chance to re-read it.


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