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The Child's Child by Barbara Vine
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The Child's Child (2012)

by Barbara Vine

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
There are two stories here, both about unplanned pregnancies and homosexual relationships, one in modern times and one a few generations back. The older story was far more interesting, but I didn't like it much. Vine seemed to actually enjoy tormenting her main characters while condemning the societal attitudes that created the situation. We are supposed to see Maud as someone who selfishly gives into her own weakness, a professional victim. But I just saw someone who really needed some antidepressants and a good therapist.

It was, however, highly readable. I blasted through it on a hot summer afternoon. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
Grace Easton and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother's house and decide to live there together, each taking half of the house. When Andrew's partner James Derain moves in with Andrew, Grace finds parallels and echoes in their situation with a book she is reading for a publisher friend -- a novel that was unpublishable when it was written in the 1950s due to its subject matter of the life of a gay man in the 1920s -- to see if it is good enough to publish now (2011).

This was Ruth Rendell's last book as Barbara Vine and although both the modern story and the book within the book carried me along quite nicely it didn't have the nail-biting suspense as doom approaches which I associate with her earlier work. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Nov 1, 2017 |
There's much to admire here. The novel consists of strata of stories. In the centre the story of the child's child, bracketed by the frame story. Above that you have the author, Vine, with the reality of Rendell over all. And below it all you have the Bible with its stories. Lots of Biblical references.

Unfortunately I could not give a damn about any of the characters and clever fictional mechanics are not enough to carry me through. ( )
  Lukerik | Sep 16, 2017 |
Interesting book within a book. Both involved sisters and brothers, women getting pregnant (don't worry, no incest), society's acceptance of gays, and women dealing with living alone. However, the times are quite different, especially for an unmarried mother. I felt the endings were a little rushed and I really disliked a couple of the characters, but otherwise thought it was really good writing.

The reader was excellent, 5 * for her. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
As usual, Barbara Vine aka Ruth Rendell delivers. I'm not much of a mystery reader, but when I do, I read Ruth Rendell. However, I think I'm almost a bigger fan of her Barbara Vine novels, which are more like psychological thrillers, without the tension and anxiety of like a horror novel or whatever. There often is a bit of a mystery component to these books, but it's not the main focus. This novel is actually a "novel within a novel," with about half the book taken up by the story contained in a manuscript that figures prominently in the "main" story. The theme of the novel is the issues surrounding single mothers and gay men, and some intersection between those two groups, as they have occurred in different eras. It is an interesting study, and the story almost gets overwhelmed by the "study" aspect. It is a page-turner though, a briskly paced narrative in both stories, that made me want to keep reading. Barbara Vine's characters are always so vibrant and believable, you almost expect to run into them on the street. Any weaknesses in the story (and there are few here) are made up by the strength of those character profiles. ( )
  karenchase | Aug 20, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 145169489X, Hardcover)

From three-time Edgar Award–winning mystery writer Ruth Rendell, writing here under her Barbara Vine pseudonym, an ingenious novel-within-a-novel about brothers and sisters and the violence lurking behind our society’s taboos

When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair—until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace’s doctoral thesis soon puncture the house’s idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend’s murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house. Just as turmoil sets in at Dinmont House, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript—a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child’s Child—never published because of its frank depictions of an unwed mother and a homosexual relationship. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child. Acts of violence and sex will reverberate through their stories.

The Child’s Child is an enormously clever, brilliantly constructed novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace. A master of psychological suspense, Ruth Rendell, in her newest work under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, takes us where violence and social taboos collide. She shows how society’s treatment of those it once considered undesirable has changed—and how sometimes it hasn’t.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair--until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace's doctoral thesis soon puncture the house's idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend's murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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