Ruth Rendell's seventh collection of short stories also includes two unpublished novellas. The long title story is about a man whose life, in a sense, is a book. There are shelves in every room, packed with titles which Ambrose Ribbon has checked pedantically for mistakes of grammar and fact. Life for Ribbon is lonely and obsessive.
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These short fictions showcase Ruth Rendell's many gifts, among them the ability to evoke a mood and trap a reader in the deepest recesses of a character's psyche. The title story (its odd name comes from the volume of the encyclopedia her character uses in venting his spleen at published authors whose work suffers from a lack of precision) draws us into the mind of a lonely man whose inability to please his mother makes him vulnerable to self destruction. "The Wink" and "Walter's Leg," two stories about revenge, demonstrate that it is indeed a meal best eaten cold. "The Professional" is a small gem with an ironic twist, notable for its acute insights into social class and status in England. In these and other pieces in this collection, Rendell's powers of invention and acute psychological insight remind one of the chilling tales she writes as Barbara Vine. But the best is saved for last, "High Mysterious Union," a tale that's like the weather in Rendell's typical English landscape: sunny at the start but increasingly dark and threatening as the plot thickens. A translator rents a cottage in a village that seems like Lake Wobegon. Everyone is beautiful, strong, and kind, especially the women, who seduce the newcomer with their charms and then abandon him when he fails to see the rightness of their unique, bizarre ways. He gets away with his life, but it will take days before he (and his creator) give you back your own. --Jane AdamsFrom the Publisher:
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Book Description Hutchinson 2000-09-07, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. 0091793475 We guarantee all of our items - customer service and satisfaction are our top priorities. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Bookseller Inventory # TM-0091793475