- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 5 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House
- Audible.com Release Date: September 7, 2010
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004262VN2
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Portobello: A Novel Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
In this one she does a beautiful job of recreating London's Saturday and Sunday street market and the everyday life of this sometimes seedy and creepy street. Rendell says, "Eccentricity is the norm in the Portobello Road" as it is in her writing.
Eugene finds a wad of money in the street, advertises it, but doesn't say the amount he has found. When Eugene gets a call, he stupidly invites the supposed owner, Lance Platt, a petty crook and female abuser, to his house to tell him the correct amount. Lance gives the wrong amount, is ushered to the door, but not before Lance is able to case the joint for a future break-in.
Eugene's girlfriend is Ella, a doctor, who is a chump for a sob story. Joel Roseman, a phobia-ridden neurotic correctly identifies the amount of money, and Ella brings the money from Eugene to Joel in the hospital. Joel's a very needy person so she becomes his personal doctor. Meanwhile Eugene scours all of the local stores for his addictive treat Chocorange, and we, as readers, go with him on many, too many, of these quests. He feels very guilty about buying bags of the stuff, and he can't get enough of it. It seems like a harmless addiction, but with any addiction it monopolizes his waking moments. To Eugene it's a more "dignified" addiction than other habits.
Lance is living in a wreck of a house with his Uncle Gib, a reformed crook who has adopted a religious cult. Lance stalks Eugene and eventually breaks into his house. In this book there are a lot of fascinating interconnections among characters and plot lines.
Rendell's skills are great character delineation and the ability to breathe life into her people, her smooth readable style, her masterly narrative flow, and her great facility with plots. Once you get into her world, weird as it is, you thrive in it.
In a Ruth Rendell book there's almost always a feeling of impending menace or dread like living on the lip of an active volcano cone (something like the mood in a Pinter play). It can be upsetting and unnerving, but it also get you hooked on her books. Her characters are neurotic or criminal or incredibly naïve or a combination of these elements.
Could a Rendell book have a happy ending? It's worth reading this fine book in order to find out. Great stuff as usual!
Meanwhile, a cast of other characters on Portobello Read, from criminals to those trying to lead exemplary lives, reveal Rendell's trademark style and ability to provide clues to the inner life of her characters -what motivates them, their fears, greed, lusts, and loves. This is a relatively swift read but full of substance. I enjoy the author's lengthier works but was not disappointed in this sparer offering. Every word counts here.