Grasshopper

Grasshopper

3.74 (1,364 ratings on Goodreads)
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Description

Grasshopper is an enthralling, chilling novel by the bestselling queen of crime Barbara Vine 'They have sent me here because of what happened on the pylon' When Clodagh Brown writes these words at the age of nineteen, she believes that she is leaving behind the traumatic events of her youth. But Clodagh soon learns that you can never entirely escape your past. In the aftermath of the incident on the pylon - a gargantuan electrified grasshopper - Clodagh goes off to university, moves into a basement flat arranged by her unsympathetic family, and finds freedom trekking across London's rooftops with a gang of neighborhood misfits. As she begins a thrilling relationship with a fellow climber, however, both Clodagh and the reader are haunted by the memory of the pylon and of the terrible thing that happened there - and by the eerie sense that another tragedy is just a footfall away. Grasshopper is a modern crime masterpiece that will have you gripped from the first page to the last. If you enjoy the novels of P.D. James, Ian Rankin and Scott Turow, you will love this book. 'The Rendell/ Vine partnership has for years been producing consistently better work than most Booker winners put together' Ian Rankin 'A superb and original writer' Amanda Craig, Express Barbara Vine is the pen-name of Ruth Rendell. She has written fifteen novels using this pseudonym, including A Fatal Inversion and King Solomon's Carpet which both won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award. Her other books include: A Dark Adapted Eye; The House of Stairs; Gallowglass; Asta's Book; No Night Is Too Long; In the Time of His Prosperity; The Brimstone Wedding; The Chimney Sweeper's Boy; Grasshopper; The Blood Doctor; The Minotaur; The Birthday Present and The Child's Child.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 110 x 178 x 38mm | 358.34g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0140293027
  • 9780140293029
  • 365,372

Flap copy

Clodagh Brown loved climbing. First it was trees. Later, as a teenager, she would scale the electrical pylons that tower over the English countryside like giant grasshoppers -- and share the experience with Daniel, her first lover. As a young woman she'd walk for miles over London's rooftops, peering through windows into people's intimate lives in a nightly ritual that bound her closely to the small group of friends with whom she lived and climbed. Looking back on it, Clodagh would claim that her passion for heights saved her life -- but not without exacting a terrible cost.... Grasshopper is Ruth Rendell's ninth novel written using the pseudonym Barbara Vine. Under her own name, Ruth Rendell writes classic whodunits featuring Inspector Wexford and novels renowned for their mastery of psychological suspense. Her Barbara Vine novels are written in exquisitely crafted layers, peeled away page by page to expose the darkest longings and obsessions of the human heart.show more

Review quote

"Mesmerizing. . . . A teasing narrative of fatal obsession."--Orlando Sentinel "The Vine novels are sublime works of psychological suspense...Grasshopper is as skillful as anything this wonderful writer has done."--The Seattle Times"A typically elegant, and typically elegiac, turn from the woman with two award-winning names. And one superlative voice."--Fort Worth Star Telegramshow more

About Barbara Vine

Barbara Vine was the pen-name of Ruth Rendell, and Viking published all of her books under that name. Rendell was an exceptional crime writer, with worldwide sales of approximately 20 million copies, and regular Sunday Times bestsellers. Rendell won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View, a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986, and the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990. In 2013 she was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in crime writing. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer. Ruth Rendell died in May 2015.show more

Review Text

For me, a keen admirer of Barbara Vine, the recent novels have been a little disappointing. This is a return to the form of the wonderful early ones: A Dark-Adapted Eye, The House of Stairs, and A Fatal Inversion. I found it completely gripping. This is a classic Vine novel. It combines the teasingly delayed revelation of past acts of violence, cruelty or oddity, with a fast-moving narrative in the present tense. It moves towards a horrible climax that is inevitable, yet hard to predict because of the generous choice of disasters that threaten to occur. Vine has always been facinated by obsessives, by those who focus on one element to the dangerous exclusion of everything else. But she is also particularly good on the dynamics of a group, and in Grasshopper she takes a group of very young people caught up in an addictively exciting activity that is absurdly dangerous (climbing on the roofs of buildings). However, the real danger, as always in her novels, is not the physical risk so much as the psychological danger for which it is a metaphor. One of the weaknesses of Vine's method of stirring into the pot more and more melodramatic elements is that she relies too much on an implausible conjunction of events often amounting to an unbelievable coincidence. That is a pity, not least because the realism of everything else is, as usual, so convincing: the very specific London locale (in this case, Maida Vale), the precise historical setting (the late 1980s viewed from the present day) and the exploration of the nastier side of human nature. So as well as a compelling story, the novel offers some thought-provoking insights. (Kirkus UK)show more
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