Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.99 shipping
Portobello: A Novel Hardcover – September 7, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. London's Portobello Road, a street fabled for its shops and outdoor market, provides the backdrop for Edgar-winner Rendell's superlative suspense novel, which features a cast of colorful characters from varied classes and walks of life. Secretive 50-year-old Eugene Wren, who's addicted to cheap candy lozenges, is toying with marrying his longtime girlfriend, physician Ella Cotswold. Rootless Lance Platt cases the neighborhood for costly homes he can break into, and clashes with his great-uncle, Gilbert Gibson, a former burglar who now preaches the gospel. One man's losing 115 pounds triggers a series of coincidences that brings this disparate lot closer together, toward haphazard violence and death. Rendell (The Water's Lovely) is particularly adept at portraying young people just a dole check away from homelessness as well as the carelessness and callousness of the book's upper-middle-class characters. Her style has become ever more spare while retaining its subtle psychology and vivid sense of place.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Rendell writes better when she writes shorter. Most of her novels and short stories, for which she is justly acclaimed (she has won three Edgars as well as three Gold Daggers and one Diamond Dagger), have been minimalist works of suspense genius, the kind where you look around the room wonderingly when Rendell sinks in the shiv of surprise. In this novel, Rendell has relaxed a great deal, spending pages on bits of business (for example, the current hero likes a particular kind of snack) that would have been swiftly dealt with in her earlier work. This is a novel that should have been a short story about a man who finds an envelope filled with money. He doesn’t need it—he’s inherited his father’s wealth from a print shop in the Portobello Road—so he posts “Found” notices around the extensive Portobello street market. This act, of course, leads to a series of encounters with other Londoners, some of them dangerous. Rendell fans want to read everything she writes, but this overpadded tale is not among her best work. --Connie Fletcher
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
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.