A Dark-Adapted Eye

  • by Barbara Vine
  • Narrated by Harriet Walter
  • 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Like most families, they had their secrets...
...and they hid them under a genteelly respectable veneer. No onlooker would guess that prim Vera Hillyard and her beautiful, adored younger sister, Eden, were locked in a dark and bitter combat over one of those secrets. England in the '50s was not kind to women who erred, so they had to use every means necessary to keep the truth hidden behind closed doors - even murder.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Compelling exposure of a family’s secrets

The author’s forte is in her depiction of human relationships whether writing detective fiction as Ruth Rendell or in her more psychological novels as Barbara Vine. This book is not a detective story and from the beginning we know that Vera has killed her sister Eden. The whole book is a detailed unravelling of why this occurred through the voice of Faith: the niece of the victim and perpetrator. Most of the characters are flawed and not particularly likeable but the narrative is utterly compelling and I was drawn into a hot-house of emotions among family members and their their dysfunctional relationships.

This is justifiably rated as one of the author’s best books and made a great listen.

Harriet Walter is an accomplished narrator and skilfully portrayed both young and old, male and female.
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- Kirstine

Brilliant story, with dark and complex characters

A brilliant, dark, thought-provoking story with some of the most well-realised and complex characters I’ve ever come across. Whatever ‘crime’ novels or ‘detective fiction’ or ‘thrillers’ are usually supposed to be, for me this utterly transcended those genres. As the narrator comments, we know from the start who the killer is and how the murder was done. Instead of focussing on that, Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell) unfolds the psychology of the Hillyard family with a perceptiveness that sometimes takes your breath away. It made me think that other books I’ve read with supposedly ‘deep’ or ‘complex’ characters are quite flat and obvious by comparison. There are lots of twists in the plot, but they never felt like contrivances or clever tricks. They come about as Faith, the character who narrates the story, grows gradually wiser and more perceptive about the secretive ways of her two aunts – as her ‘eye’ adapts to understand their dark behaviour, to paraphrase the title. Harriet Walter was an excellent reader, appropriately understated in her delivery but giving distinctive, memorable voices to the characters, many of whom are painfully repressed and reserved. This is the first Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell I’ve read or listened to, and I’ll certainly read more now.
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- Jack87

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-08-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios