➷ A Sight for Sore Eyes Free ➭ Author Ruth Rendell – Horse-zine.co.uk


A Sight for Sore Eyes quotes A Sight for Sore Eyes, litcharts A Sight for Sore Eyes, symbolism A Sight for Sore Eyes, summary shmoop A Sight for Sore Eyes, A Sight for Sore Eyes da6d4341 A Sight For Sore Eyes Tells Three Stories, And For The Longest Time, The Reader Has No Inkling Of How They Will Come Together The First Is A Story Of A Little Girl Who Has Been Scolded And Sent To Her Room When Her Mother Is Brutally Murdered As Francine Grows Up, She Is Haunted By The Experience, And It Is Years Before She Even Speaks Secondly, We Become Privy To The Life Of A Young Man, Teddy, Born Of Unthinking Young Parents, Who Grows Up Almost Completely Ignored Free Of Societal S, He Becomes A Sociopath, Who Eventually Discovers That Killing Can Be An Effective Way To Get What He Wants Thirdly, We Meet Harriet, Who From An Early Age Has Learned To Use Her Beauty To Make Her Way In The World Bored By Marriage To A Wealthy, Much Older Man, She Scans The Local Newspapers For Handymen To Perform Odd Jobs Around The House, Including Services In The BedroomWhen These Three Plots Strands Finally Converge, The Result Is Harrowing And Unforgettable A Sight For Sore Eyes Is Not Just The Work Of A Writer At The Peak Of Her Craft It Is An Extraordinary Story By A Writer Who, After Books, Countless Awards, And Decades Of International Acclaim, Is Still Getting Better With Every Book


10 thoughts on “A Sight for Sore Eyes

  1. says:

    Ruth Rendell has rarely disappointed me Her elegant prose cannot be matched in this genre I continue to be amazed at the depths and heights of her prolific imagination Her characters possess varied deficits and pathologies which reveal increasing deviousness and add continued tension throughout her narrative This novel is no exception to her skills In fact, the major offender is one of the most chilling individuals whom I have met in her books Rendell s clear insight into this man s skewed visions and facade reveal her talent to accurately plumb the innermost features of the troubled mind Others in this novel further probe variations of psychological anomalies.As usual with Rendell s tales, suspense builds to the climax and ends with a twist I do not believe that I could tire of this accomplished novelist.


  2. says:

    Ruth Rendell has made a long career out of writing about damaged people They go about their lives doing things that are strange, sadistic and even criminal but somehow they are undetected until they spiral out of control In A Sight for Sore Eyes her lead characters are Teddy and Francine Teddy is an ignored and unloved child from a lower class London family who lives in a filthy smoke filled home He has no interest in anything until a neighbor shows him carpentry As Teddy grows up he has dreams of becoming an artist but with no money and in danger of being thrown out of his home he has few options but he chooses murder to solve his problems.Francine has suffered the childhood trauma of seeing her mother murdered as the age of six Francine s father remarries the child psychologist Julia, he hires to help Francine Instead of helping Francine Julia overprotects Francine to the point suffocation.Francine meets Teddy at an art show and they are attracted to each other A hookup made in hell Teddy has his own twisted image of how he wants his life to be with Francine She must wear dresses and he loves to wrap her in long pieces of silk and jewelery and just sit and watch her He wants her to have a beautiful home and only Teddy as her friend Yeah did I mention that Teddy is flat broke with no prospects and a dead body in the trunk of his car Well Teddy will kill to get what he wants A fun read with lots of horrible people and the good ones who could make a difference always away on business or on holiday How convenient is that I loved the ending with only the reader knowing the full truth Nicely done


  3. says:

    So unsettling So creepy So goodAn Alfred Hitchcock type suspense thriller with a very slow, understated build It had extremely interesting characters but I definitely had to take my time with this one not one I wanted to marathon.Warning Do not read this late at night.


  4. says:

    Rendell is a master storyteller She creates stories that capture me right away Intriguing plots involving ordinary characters in ordinary situations yet they will inevitably be pushed to commit murder In Sight for Sore Eyes, she presents three sets of stories.First begins with Marc and Harriett who pose for a portrait in the 1960 s Marc is a rock star, Harriet, his current girlfriend He throws her out when she repeatedly asks him if he loves her It was the last straw Next there s Eileen and Jimmy, Teddy, their son, and Jimmy s brother Keith Finally, there is the story of Francine who witnesses her mother s murder when she is only seven years old These three seemingly separate stories gradually merge into one horrific tale Rendell weaves a puzzle and as we, the reader, try to put together the pieces, we are captivated by her ability, her understanding of human behavior and her rendering everything into a mesmerizing whole.


  5. says:

    Mmm This was a great read I think I might be spending some time with Ms Rendell.As the summer wanes and I find myself pulling together the reading I ll do with my students, I admit that I m getting a bit resentful of having to go back to work, for one reason no lying on the couch for hours reading, and no staying up til 1 AM finishing a book I just couldn t stop reading That s exactly what happened with A Sight for Sore Eyes It was very, very good.I ve gotten spoiled To this point there has been plenty of Scottish Noir available for casual reading, and the I read of it the enad I find myself of the sub genre But my favorite new to me series, the Logan MacRae novels, are complete except the one due out in September, but I really don t know if I can bring myself to pay full price, as the initial draw to the series was they were each about 4 and hell, now it s tradition Looking for something new to read, I came across a picture I had taken of some books I found in the book store I do this , and was reminded of Rendell s The Vault I almost got it, but the blurb said it was a follow up to ASFSE I hate reading things out of order, so I bought it and started It didn t take long, and I even had a busy week to contend with.This book is dark It is a crime novel, but one in which we see the crime happen But that s not what makes this book dark Rather, the darkness comes from watching the three disparate at first characters live their lives in a broken society, one where privilege and poverty exist to keep the other in check Both serve as a kind of prison, and in fact this book really is about prisons, both metaphorical and literal.Teddy is a monster, Harriet is self absorbed, and Francine a sheltered naif However, Rendell is good to not let us lump them in any particular category and dismiss them Nor does she let us become too sympathetic with any but Francine, who s naivet serves as a buffer from only some of the grime that comes from living But Francine isn t perfect, either, and is frustratingly slow to become a true actor in the story In a way, all three of them are acted on in the beginning of their stories the novel very cleverly tells three stories for the first half, only gradually interweaving them in a surprising and satisfying way and none of them have power Power, too, is an ever present theme here Francine is born to it through her upper middleclass privilege, though others make every effort to strip this power from her Harriet has power that comes from youth, sex, and not much else She is the oldest of the three characters, and because her power is so precarious and fleeting, we don t get to see her exercise it except in her memory Teddy has no real power, except that power that serves as a warning to those well off Teddy s power is that of violence, of indifference to others, but all of it rooted in fear and need As it turns out, these different grasps on power, and their different natures, wreak havoc on all concerned.Again, I m OK reading books for no other reason than to enjoy a good tale It s a plus when there is something beneath the surface, and is there ever here Highly recommended Now, to pick up The Vault.


  6. says:

    So, this is one of those wishy washy bookswhere you say to your friends well, it wasn t good but it wasn t necessarily bad either Like that helps, right But honestly, I just have lukewarm feelings about this book.This was the latest choice for my book club as we ve picked our way along EW s list of 100 new classics Since A Sight for Sore Eyes appeared on the list, you know that it is a critical darling I just want to make you aware that my view of this book likely diverges from popular critical sentiment So, let me just break it down in a list of pros and cons for ya Good Aspects Characterization extremely realistic and fully fleshed out characters Compelling this book is easily readable, I finished it in two sittings Multiple POVs done well sometimes this can be annoying and can make a book feel choppy, not the case in A Sight for Sore Eyes.Bad Aspects Yucky characters and by this I mean, I didn t like a single character in this book Actually, the one person who I had any small amount of sympathy for is a mass murderer Bad categorization this is shelved in the mystery section of the library and is indeed touted as a mysterywhy There was no mystery to be solved so I m really perplexed by its categorization This threw off my expectations for the book a bit which made me a little miffed The ending it s one of those that makes you go ugh really I can t say anything without spoiling except to say that it kind of seemed like the easiest and cleanest conclusion for Rendell, not necessarily the best conclusion for the story although I can t think up an alternative Also, the Goodreads summary says the reader has no inkling of how the three storylines convergeum, not true I realized how these three would meet up quite easily, although there were other twists and turns to keep me on my toes.Now that you see my thoughts in list form, can you understand why I call it wishy washy For those who love character driven suspenseful literary fiction and don t mind a cast of truly despicable characters you ll probably like A Sight for Sore Eyes much than I did Otherwise, I d probably skip it unless you re low on new books to read.


  7. says:

    Brought up in an affectionless, distanced family, young Teddy has become an aesthete, a craftsman, an emotional cripple and a sociopath Having as a child seen her mother murdered, Francine has had her life since then dominated by her controlling, obsessional, quack psychotherapist stepmother, Julia Harriet still lives in a past where she was a rock socialite celebrated for her pre Raphaelite style beauty, subject of an iconic painting now, married to a far older man who bores her rigid, she whiles away the time by seducing plumbers and electricians One day she lures Teddy to the house on the pretext that she needs new shelving By now Teddy has become obsessed with the pure seeming Francine, who s responsive to his approaches because she s never had a boyfriend before and perhaps also because Julia disapproves of the liaison .That s the setup, and by all counts it should have led to another Ruth Rendell classic.And yet somehow it didn t, or at least not for me.One expects a certain amount of artificiality in Rendell s psychological novels, whether written under her own name or as by Barbara Vine This isn t an adverse criticism It s as if the novels are following the protocols of stage drama Everything s just a little divorced from real life, but you expect and accept this because, after all, the characters are separated from the herd by being up there on the stage, the lights are preternaturally bright, the diction is projected rather than merely spoken None of that detracts from the validity of the play as an observation of human nature, and the same principle applies to Rendell s fiction.So I didn t come into A Sight for Sore Eyes anticipating realism, but I did assume it d have a bit in common with the real world than I found The problem for me was, I think, that, Francine excepted, I couldn t believe in any of the principal characters Julia is the kind of caricature you expect in a second tier villain in a Batman movie I ve met people like Harriet, but here the obnoxious characteristics are taken to absurd extremes and any redeeming ones are simply eliminated to the point of, once again, caricature I could just about believe in Teddy, although his social awkwardness was so much larger than life as to be beyond credible Harriet s husband is so unobservant that he doesn t notice a newly constructed piece of wall inside his own home Francine s dad is just a cypher, his character never emerging much than that of a commuter you see daily but don t speak to on the train.So I found it a bit hard to get my pulse racing as these otherworldly characters danced their dance through series of interrelated actions that weren t themselves especially believable I could admire the book s artifice while at the same time not becoming much involved in it.There s also the matter of the writing Rendell was a very good prose smith, albeit not a colorful one she achieved her effects through a sort of conscious, elegant drabness that contrasted nicely with the often melodramatic events she was depicting The text of A Sight for Sore Eyes, however, is in desperate need of some basic copyediting Aside from the jumbled matter of the room keys in Julia s house we re told on page 257 there are only two of them, then on page 259 that there s just the one, while on page 270 it emerges that there are, apparently, lots , I kept tripping over pieces of rank bad writing Here s just a single example in a side street off the back of Kensington Church Street he found areas demarcated on the roadway with white lines All but one of these was occupied and it was just large enough to take the Edsel.The meaning s obvious, but that second sentence is excruciating I obviously didn t keep a count of similar examples, but there must have been dozens, and they had the cumulative effect of, once , making it difficult for me to immerse myself in Rendell s tale.So, something of a disappointment for me here from a favorite author But I have a bunch of other Rendells Vines still on the shelf, so fingers crossed I strike luckier next time.


  8. says:

    When I started my website, I began with a batch of reviews of books I had read that had stuck with me for one reason or another One that hadn t made the cut was Ruth Rendell s Make Death Love Me, quite readable but failed to leave a lasting impression A Sight for Sore Eyes now reminds me of how readable Ruth Rendell is.This one was very absorbing, and there are few authors I have read that can write about obsession like she can This novel has one of my favorite formulas, be it with novels or movies, and it is this Take three sets of characters, get to know them intimately and the unique circumstances of their lives.You know that eventually the paths of their lives will intersect and it is mesmerizing to sit back and anticipate it I m so envious of Rendell s ability to construct a story like this, and with her talent of bringing her characters to life, well how can you ask for I can I do More Ruth Rendell


  9. says:

    I ve enjoyed some of Rendell s short stories, and I think I read one of the Inspector Wexford novels years ago I m not really into police books much, so while I always knew she was a good writer, I wasn t that keen on investigating much of her extensive bibliography it turns out she has a whole slew of psychological thriller type stuff that seems like it d be far up my alley This book, for example It s extremely sharp vividly written to the point where a thoroughly damaged and ugly sociopath is fascinating to spend time with her insights are really on point and there s a profound sense of class motivated struggle and resentment that is simultaneously universal and distinctly British in character In some ways, Rendell s writing here makes me think of Cornell Woolrich, but a generation on and with that English crime sensibility that I probably don t know enough about to pinpoint accurately, but which I think I recognize when I read it One thing I m getting used to with Rendell is that some of her characters are really weird, and don t always act as you or I would I made reference to this a little in my review of the short story collection The New Girlfriend, mentioning that all a character had to do was go to the library like a sensible person and look up the one piece of information that would change everything It s not as if Rendell was hiding the library from the reader s attention, though, is it She wants you to believe in the strange mental processes of these people, and for the most part, I think we do After all, how many cheaters, liars, killers meet their undoing because of some stupid, silly mistake This is Woolrich type territory, too This book is a journey If you think of it as the story of a sociopath and a sheltered beautiful girl coming together and the tragedy that plays out thereafter, I think you ll be disappointed This book is really about sordid families, sordid upbringings and just how wrong people can be about almost everything We start way back in the 60s with the previous generation of the Brex family It s all greasy pubs, dirty houses and people hooking up just because it s something to do It s drab, but Rendell brings a certain wise, detached but intense earnestness, and a good amount of wry wit as well, as she tells the stories of these people how they grew to be broken and flawed, telling us about their hopes and desperations and desires It s much engrossing than I would have imagined at the outset And that Teddy Brex The way Rendell shows how his brain ticks is akin to being in some kind of altered state of consciousness where everything is skewed in some horribly off kilter way He s really compelling for someone so cold and incapable of anything approximating normal human emotion He doesn t have murderous thoughts the way you might expect, either Murder is a tool of sorts, which he uses to get what he wants, no, needs He values things so much than people, except for Francine of course, who is beautiful and eminently desirable But his attraction to her is completely tied with his need for objects, and in fact, a desirable object is really what she is to him The two of them have such oppositional needs it s tragicomic in a way that I think Chekhov would have appreciated Underlying everything is this notion of class and social strata Teddy s anxiety comes from what he perceives as the poverty of his person Not just his upbringing, but his manner, his voice, his very being If he could just have loads of money, everything would be all right But Teddy s poverty goes deeper than he realises, because he s never really had a friend, and while he s in many ways very intelligent, his intelligence is concentrated so completely on his own personal needs that tasks that would seem simple to an average man of Teddy s own social standing flummox and anger him On the other hand, he s sure he s right about everything, and feels the world would be infinitely better if the other people in it thought just like him Unfortunate, then, that despite his discovery of the tool of murder, he doesn t really make a good criminal Surely he could have done better with the car, and with hiding the bodies He spends so much time and effort fashioning what he thinks of as the perfect disguise for his crimes, only it doesn t really work, and in the end his attempts turn out to be both absurd and a little frightening, because they reveal just how alien his thought process really is Notice how Rendell always draws attention to the wall where the cellar door shoudl be, the wall that everyone knows wasn t there before, the wall that was so painstakingly built by a master craftsman yet still sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb.And in the end, Teddy s ultimate undoing is something small, stupid, pointless It all happens so suddenly that it s a bit of a surprise I expected some kind of big unraveling, a chain of events set into motion by the little screw ups he d been making ever since view spoiler he murdered his uncle Keith hide spoiler


  10. says:

    Ruth Rendell is an excellent writer, particularly in her descriptions of persons and places And that descriptive power is especially important in a book like A Sight for Sore Eyes, which, as the title implies, has a lot to do with beauty or the lack of it And, given that this is a Ruth Rendell novel, the moral rules and laws characters break in their striving for it But she also explores how beauty can become a hollow shell and how it can hide a dark interior.One character, for instance, is the woman in a renowned painting of a couple in a rus en urbe setting by a house that takes on a key role in the story We see her as she and her boyfriend at the time break up, as she remarries to an older man , as she ages but tries to hang on to her past youth and beauty and preys on youth and beauty There is also the beautiful young artist raised in a setting of physical and psychological ugliness who ends up with a certain moral deadness as well as an obsession with beautiful objects from the mirror he crafts fitting and worth unpacking in terms of symbolism to a specific young woman And then there s that young woman whose childhood was also beset with tragedy but in a different way and almost becomes a modernized fairy tale princess an evil stepmother, a longing to escape, and a seemingly charming prince I enjoyed A Sight for Sore Eyes, but I found it less compelling and suspenseful than some of Rendell s other works and the threads didn t blend as well as they could have The last chapter is also a bit flat, save for the very end 3.5 stars


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