Sunday, November 07, 2004

Well, you've chosen your poison

To celebrate (yes, celebrate) the fact that Ruth Rendell's The Rottweiler is being released in America on Tuesday - a mere 13 months after it first appeared int he UK, and 19 since I first read it myself - I have collected all the reviews I could find from the international press, and shall now present them to you.

To start, we shall visit The Spectator and Antonia Fraser, who gave it a nice positive review.

Unfortunately, Joan Smith of The Guardian, who normally can be relied upon to praise Rendell to the skies, was mildly disappointed by it, though, personally, I'm not at all certain I completely agree with her about what Rendell is trying to do.

I think Peter Guttridge gets a bit nearer mark with his piece in The Observer; certainly, The Rottweiler is completely different from anything else she's written before. There are aspects of farce in it, with dark veins of humour thread through like treacle.

Tracy Bartlett of the Cape Times also likes the book a great, great deal, as does Jane Jakeman over at The Independent.

Tom Adair of The Scotsman not only likes it, but gives us the brilliant sentence: "Out of...seedy, distressed, psychologically rotted cracks grow Rendell's narratives." Very true.

The review from Edmonton's VUEWeekly is more mixed, but still seems to recommend it.

New Zealand's The Listener also gives it a thumbs up, which would be nice if the review didn't contain the sentence: "Rendell's books, unfailingly, are cosy, relaxing, satisfying and undemanding," which is, I'm sorry, crap. Ruth Rendell's books are cosy? Relaxing? Undemanding? Nonsense. If you find Rendell's books cozy or relaxing, you should probably be visiting a psychiatrist. If you think they're undemanding, read them properly. I have no problem with the third adjective, though.

Finally, from The Sunday Times, comes Donna Leon's two-penneth, who thinks Ruth Rendell is brilliant, thank you very much. (Obviously, I'm with you, Donna.)

Anyway, that's all I could find. I don't entirely know the purpose of this exercise, but ah well.

Lastly, though, may I say how damn annoyed I was to happen upon this. If only it had been postponed to the following year...