✮ [PDF] ✩ The Birthday Present By Barbara Vine ✻ – Horse-zine.co.uk

The Birthday Present pdf The Birthday Present, ebook The Birthday Present, epub The Birthday Present, doc The Birthday Present, e-pub The Birthday Present, The Birthday Present 530318a7783 Ivor Tesham Is A Handsome, Single, Young Member Of Parliament Whose Political Star Is On The Rise When He Meets A Woman In A Chance Encounter A Beautiful, Leggy, Married Woman Named Hebe The Two Become Lovers Obsessed With Their Trysts, Spiced Up By What The Newspapers Like To Call Adventure Sex It S The Dress Up And Role Play That Inspire Ivor To Create A Surprise Birthday Present For His Beloved That Involves A Curbside Kidnapping It S All Intended As Mock Dangerous Foreplay, But Then Things Take A Dark Turn After Things Go Horribly Wrong, Ivor Begins To Receive Anonymous Letters That Reveal Astonishingly Speci C Details About The Affair And Its Aftermath Somehow He Must Keep His Role From Being Uncovered And His Political Future From Being Destroyed By Scandal Like A Heretic On The Inquisitor S Rack, Ivor Is Not To Be Spared The Exquisitely Slow And Tortuous Unfolding Of Events, As Hints, Nuances, And Small Revelations Lay His Darkest Secrets Hideously Bare For All The World To See The Birthday Present Is A Deft, Insightful, And Compulsively Readable Exploration Of Obsessive Desire And The Dark Twists Of Fate That Can Shake The Lives Of Even Those Most Insulated By Privilege, Sophistication, And Power


10 thoughts on “The Birthday Present

  1. says:

    It was difficult to give Barbara Vine a three star rating, but if 5 stars means a magnificent book and 4 is still excellent, then there it must be Still, in comparison to other novelists who earn this rating, she still outshines many others in her technique and her storytelling.The Birthday Present demonstrates how people frequently err in their decision making Often it is because they arrived at their conclusions for the wrong reasons, or simply because they have failed to consider the implications of their actions.As only Barbara Vine can so adeptly do, we are introduced to a cast of characters who are driven by a variety of flawed emotional issues, such as paranoia, greed, fear, lust, loneliness and egotism This psychological thriller is sordid, but has many amusing moments Vine was able to build tension in relating this tale, but the reader could often fortell the outcome despite this Early in the book she introduced so many characters it was difficult to retain any sense of who these people were It was possible to sort some of this out, but later in the book the character would reappear, requiring a search for their origins Despite all criticisms, Vine posesses admirable skills in crafting her books and she is well worth pursuing I do not think I shall ever tire of either Rendell or Vine


  2. says:

    This was my first Barbra Vine read, my first Ruth Rendell read for that matter, and I was really disappointed.Her name is one I have heard many times when seeking out psychological thrillers to read She just seems to be one of those authors whose name will appear whenever on a hunt Thus, when I found a three book Barbra Vine collection on offer I jumped at them I wasn t crazy about any one book in particular, thus I was content with three random ones, and I allowed my sister to decide which one I would read first Admittedly, it did sit on my shelf for quite some time, but in the end I worked around to it.Despite the fact that it s a very short book, it felt as though the book went on forever I have read high fantasy books of around a thousand pages that have felt shorted than this book Why Because it did not feel as though it was going anywhere I was expecting a thriller instead, it was a recounting of life following events Lives I did not care for, and events I found extremely dull From the start we knew what had happened, we were given suggestions of where things were going, and whilst this can sometimes be fun such was not the case here It simply wasn t done as well as it could have been, as well as it has been in other books.I could easily sit and write , yet I have such a feeling of meh in relation to this book that I cannot bring myself to write anything than these couple of short paragraphs As I own two of her books I will be reading them, but I will not be in any rush to do so I have plenty of books by authors I know I really enjoyed, books I am looking forward to reading My view may be changed, but if the other two are anything like this one well, it is safe to say they are not what I was made to believe they would be.Overall, a massive disappointment.


  3. says:

    The same event from two different viewpoints No gore, no who done it, but lots of creepy slides into craziness, and plenty of sleazy politicians Having read the Minotaur, I would say this is almost as good as, but not quite Still, the tension Vine builds in this book is undeniable Read it


  4. says:

    Even before we get into the psychological thriller aspect, this is a wonderful depiction of the sense of entitlement and the distance from ordinary human beings epiromized by those Tory parliamentary politicians who featured in the later years of the Thatcher Major administration It s especially relevant right now when a government with much the same attitude is fighting for its political life in the UK At least in terms of public awareness, the late Thatcher era was one unparalleled for political sexual sleaze There s a very good piece on this general subject, spinning off from a Val McDermid op ed, at the blog What Are You Reading For The issue or less disappeared with the succeeding Blair administration, whose ministers, despite Blair s own notorious piety, were able to kill Murdoch press faux outrage stone dead by pointing out that the s to which they adhered were those of everyone else in the country by then no one cared about issues like marital status.Anyway, back to the Vine novel.Rising Tory star and completely amoral human being Ivor Tesham has for some while been conducting an affair with married babe Hebe Furnal They re both into inventive sex For her birthday present, Ivor hires a couple of guys to abduct her with her implicit consent off the street and deliver her to him all bound and handcuffed and well, like, kinky The trouble is that the abduction goes wrong, the driver goes smack into the path of a 40 tonne truck, and oops.The rest of the novel focuses on the next few years while Ivor spends most of his time believing he ll never be connected to the disaster, but part of his time realizing that, if the truth ever comes out about his duplicity and pusillanimity in the aftermath of the disaster, his political career will be just so much dead meat.There are two narrators of this tale One is Ivor s dull stick brother in law Rob, who boringly in Ivor s inferred view loves his wife Iris and their kids The other is the waspish spinster Jane Atherton, whom Hebe used as an alibi every time Hebe wanted to meet Ivor for getting laid purposes Here I thought Vine made a brilliant choice of narrators Rob is such a wonderfully grounded person that it s hard to dislike him even as he s harrumphing his way around the issues I did, too, warm entirely to Rob s affection for kids it s one reflected by Ivor s later mistress Juliet I also, though she s largely depicted as a nutball bitch on wheels, liked Jane, who through her diary entries reveals how there s nothing she does that s so ghastly that she can t reinterpret it as a virtuous deed.This novel has gained an unfortunate reputation for being not as good as some of Vine s others Most writers would be perfectly happy with that description.


  5. says:

    If Crime and Punishment and Murder, She Wrote had a love child with major developmental problems due to fetal alcohol syndrome or similar, it might look a lot like this book Except this book also employs the device of starting from the end and gradually revealing how everything happened, because the story would be too boring told in order Even as it was, it really dragged.Meanwhile, the attempt at a conversational tone is awkward, sometimes even painful ex I don t want to talk about politics, but I shall have to so you can understand the bit coming up next explanation of fairly simple non essential political thing Oh yeah, and many of the characters are unlikable Don t know why I finished it.


  6. says:

    I liked this one really catchy, although it drag a bit in the middle The characters in this book, while not lovable, aren t the awful set eg like in the Chimney Sweeps Boy for example That said, she writes horrible unlikeable characters beautifully Jane Atherton is so well written, completely awful we go right inside her head as she grows madder Ivor Tresham is a philandering MP in the Thatcher Government He has an affair with a bored young housewife, Hebe Furnal For her birthday he organises for her to be abducted on the street to be driven to his sister s house he s borrowed it for the weekend to indulge in this fantasy with Hebe It s all part of a sex fantasy game Regrettably, it goes horribly wrong The abduction car is involved in a road accident Hebe is killed along with an unknown actor The driver, Ivor s mechanic, is seriously injured The police from the set up suspect the abduction is real but a case of mistaken identity The book then continues on as to the consequences for all concerned as Ivor never explains to the police the truth of what was going on So we have Ivor, the dead actor s girlfriend, the driver s family, the driver himself, Jane Atherton who gave Hebe an alibi with her husbane, Hebe s husband all dealing with the repercussions In Ivor s mind the threat of disclosure ebbs flows over the years The 1st half of the story is narrated by Ivor s brother in law, Robin married to Ivor s sister Iris The interesting thing is that Robin, Iris Juliet Case the actor s girlfriend all know about the birthday present, but also don t feel compelled to see the truth come to light There s a real moral ambivalence in that regard Well in the whole tale really It is only some time later as Jane Atherton s life has gone to shit well perhaps thwarted at every turn is a better way of putting it her mental state has deteriorated which we know as she narrates the 2nd half that she reignites the threat It is a good read And I won t ruin the ending other than to say, it s good I liked it.


  7. says:

    Not my favorite of Barbara Vine s books, its odd detached style reminded me of the author s voice in her popular mystery guise as Ruth Rendell Now I like Vine s novels and I enjoy Rendell although in a completely different way Truthfully, it took me a little to accept this new novel as it is a bit of a departure from the author s previous novels under either name I suppose it is a bit of a disappointment if one is expecting a typical Barbara Vine book, or even a Ruth Rendell and yet, once I settled into the pace of the book and the voices of its narrators, I found it quite compelling and beautifully written, as usual I find it to be a very unsettling and even disturbing book, even disturbing because it seems so bland In usual Vine fashion, the characters one would think one would most like are the ones that one despises and those that seem, on the surface, the most shallow and callous, are the ones for which one feels the most sympathy I think this book is one that may at first seem a disappointment if one is looking for a familiar voice, but which also might be the one most likely to be re read.


  8. says:

    This book was just okay, not nearly as compelling or well written as most of the Vine novels are, but not bad either a good book to read when your mind is tired as mine has been There are the usual Vine elements, such as the discontented, lonely character who in this book is one of the two narrators living on the fringes of society, but I questioned the choice of the other main narrator his voice didn t always work for me.


  9. says:

    I didn t really care for this book For some unknown reason, it began to annoy me The alibi girl was a doormat and the mistress was just too, too beautiful I finished it, but wasn t impressed.


  10. says:

    When a politician becomes the story he s no longer any use to politics The psychological thriller has always been popular but has reached a kind of mass readership frenzy with the success of books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train in recent years Unreliable narrators, partially revelations, and a heady atmosphere of distrust escalating the facts are a potent combination for modern readers, something that Ruth Rendell, here writing as Barbra Vine, has been perfecting for years.This novel is characteristically sinister Set amid British upper class culture in the 1990 s when respectable citizens were beginning to become uncomfortable with callous capitalism, with the constant threat of IRA attacks, it follows the rise and fall of a scandalised Conservative politician Mention his name and most people will say Who while the rest will think for a bit and ask if he wasn t the one who got involved in all that sleaze back in whenever it was MP Ivor Tesham has been pursuing a consensual affair with married woman Hebe Furnal I don t know why her being a young mother made it worse but it did Although in that time and class many would disapprove, he hasn t really done anything wrong by today s standards Until a staged kidnapping to satisfy Hebe s kinky side leads to a car crash in which Hebe and another man die, and the driver is left permanently brain damaged He can walk shuffle, rather His speech is like well, you know what Daleks sound like Whole areas of his brain are gone, just lost This happens relatively early in the novel, and the remainder is about the paranoia and escalation of Tesham distancing himself from any connection with the crash It was too late to do anything but lie now, to wait and hope. Most of the narrative is told through accountant Robin Delgano s perspective as he attempts to steer his brother in law Tesham towards a morally upright resolution which will still maintain his reputation Tesham s reputation becomes a monstrous figure which must be satiated beyond the demands of right and wrong His bouncing from adrenalin fuelled gloom into ebullience was almost manic. Tesham is paranoid, but he manages to buy off and dazzle the survivor s family despite their knowledge of the truth He s ruthless He even pursues a relationship with the girlfriend of the dead man, her reasons are finally resolved as innocent There s a kind of blackmail where no threat need ever be made , but I get the feeling that she is little than an insurance policy for him.The remainder of the story is told through the haunting diary extracts of Jane Atherton, the friend who provided Hebe with her alibis who almost knew enough to link Tesham to the crash I ought to have been sad why wasn t I We call people our friends without really thinking about how we feel about them, that actually we fear them or envy them. She is also incredibly callous, self absorbed in that she interprets everyone s actions as a comment on their attitude towards her and yet always pessimistic in her conclusions It makes me feel like Hebe deceived me, the way she deceived everyone, making me feel I was really important to her. A dark, possessive relationship with her mother is chillingly outlined in the background Invention of Hebe s alibis leads to the invention of an imaginary boyfriend, a false fear of assassination, and perhaps an inappropriate trust which leads to her death But these are fantasies of the night, when law abiding people become gangsters and extravagant behaviour demands wild responses Knowing that, why can t we use this knowledge to help ourselves in the dreadful dreams of night I really enjoyed Jane s morbid and gradually revealed madness although this has now become a staple of the psychological thriller, it is no less disturbing.I wasn t too satisfied with the ending After a failed suicide attempt in which Tesham shoots himself in the mouth with a shotgun, I think that his lack of cognitive and reproductive damage is unconvincing He had done clever things and stupid things to save his skin but when all that was stripped away he was a little dull. If the message is that aristocrats face little consequence from ruin, I think I would have been convinced if he just got some six figure consulting salary and forgot all about it Still, the prose is compelling and I shall be looking to pick another of Rendell Vine s books in future This quote doesn t really have anything to do with my review, I just thought it was cool Thirty three is the age we will be when we all meet in heaven, because Christ was thirty three when he died One can t help thinking that the people who invent these things chose it because it s an ideal age, no longer one s first youth but not aging either.


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