My fellow bookclubbers won’t know what to do with me when we next meet. Where has all the whining and scowling and sighing gone they will ask. Because we have landed a good book this month. Hooray!
So impressed with this book am I that I decided to write a review of it… and I’m only halfway through.
The book in question is The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy by Barbara Vine who is actually Ruth Rendell. (By the way… does Ruth Rendell actually have a website? I couldn’t find one so the best I have to offer is good ole’ Wikipedia. Which is an interesting idea in itself. Apparently if you are as famous as Rendell is then you don’t need a site.)
Now I have to confess that I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Ruth Rendell which seems quite unbelievable now that I think about it because her writer’s bio is truly awesome. But having read only half of The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy I think I can appreciate why she is so prolifically published.
I will discount the staggering number of ‘head hopping’ events in the first chapter which confused me terribly (and everything I have ever read and been told by the experts about writing is that head hopping is a bad thing to do). From the end of the first chapter this book hooked me good and proper. The story unfolds after the death of a famous novellist called Gerald Candless. When his daughter is asked to write his biography she quickly discovers that her father wasn’t the person she thought he was and that Gerald Candless wasn’t even his name. We are taken on an involved geneaological hunt while simultaneously learning of the darkness that actually resided within the ‘great man’ that everyone thought he was.
This is a fiercly intelligent and intriguing psychological thriller. Vine/Rendell has created a forceful character in Gerald Candless whose very abscence drives the entire narrative. I can say nothing else about it other than ‘it’s great’.
So perhaps that is all I will say at our next book club meeting.
See… this is why I go to bookclubs. Because every now and then there is a real gem…