The Needle's Eye

The Needle's Eye

3.79 (439 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Dissatisfied with his marriage to the brittle Julie, Simon Camish allows himself to be drawn into Rose Vassiliou's complex domestic situation. Settled in a decaying house with her three children, Rose has divorced her violent husband and rejected her family inheritance.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 28mm | 299.37g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140036660
  • 9780140036664

Review Text

Margaret Drabble is one of the most sell-possessed of the younger generation writing in England today (less vulnerable in her approach to life than Edna O'Brien; less showy than Muriel Spark; less traditional than Elizabeth Taylor and Elizabeth Jane Howard). In this longer, slower moving but steadily holding examination of two marriages, the assertive intelligence of her earlier books and the rawer emotionalism of her last, The Waterfall (1969), have been buffered by a gentleness which did not previously obtain. Simon, a barrister, a rather diffident and discreet type who had married a wealthier woman who betraying a commonness he had wanted to escape (she usually appears in curlers), is drawn into the predicament of Rose Vassiliou. She was also a wealthier girl who had married a "dirty Greek," Christopher who is charming and vital and unpredictable, and who is now trying to gain custody of their three children. To him, and perhaps to others, Rose will seem irresponsible: she has given all her money away to an African school; she is living in a depressed area of London; and she is attempting to lead an "innocuous" life finding a kind of quietistic serenity in her simple existence with her children. Actually Rose, whose middle name was Vertue, had, as a child, a neurotic (?) endowment of religiosity and was strongly affected by the Biblical text (the book's title) concerning the inability of the rich to secure grace - a state which she would so like to achieve in her life here and now. But can she do so by depriving her children of their father? or her husband of her soul as well as her body? This is the central concern of the novel which is both the most expansive and subtlest Miss Drabble has written although it does take its time - and yours. Rose is very appealing in her helpless, changeable fashion and all of it, from the social backgrounds to the more immediate business of married life as usual, is flawlessly observed. (Kirkus Reviews)show more
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