Sunday, March 20, 2011

Portobello by Ruth Rendell

I'm a huge Ruth Rendell fan and will read anything she writes.   This book was recommended on a travel site when someone said they were looking for a book about London.  London is one of my favorite cities, so I was anxious to read this.  But I didn't find it to paint that clear of a picture of the city.  I've read other books by Rendell that I thought did a better job. 

I would not list this as one of my favorite Rendell books.  It took me forever to read this, I kept setting it aside and reading something else.  The characters were so strange, almost a bit too strange.  The novel has several different characters, only casually connected to each other.  The focus is on their different addictions, habits and obsessions.

One of the main characters seems to be obsessed with a particular kind of sugar free candy.  And he makes such a big deal about this.  He's worried others will be aware of his so-called addiction and fears that he has so break the habit before he gets married.  I couldn't quite grasp what the big deal was.  It was candy.  Who isn't a bit addicted to candy?   I guess the point wasn't that it was candy, but that he felt he couldn't live without it. 

There wasn't much action to the story, which is probably why I had no issue with setting the book aside for weeks at a time.  The characters are fairly well-developed, this is one of Rendell's strong points.  But I didn't like most of the characters, and wasn't especially concerned when bad things happened to some of them.

I did find the ending to be very nice though and was glad I stuck with the book.  Seems like the last few Rendell books, I found myself horrified by the endings and wishing I'd not spent so much time with the book, this was just the opposite.

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