Ruth Rendell – Heartstones

A refined novella with a nineteenth century feel

A gloomy adolescent, a little sister who sees ghosts, a scholarly father, the backdrop of a bleak ancestral house: here are all the ingredients of a Gothic novel and, if it were not for some marginal references to television and the telephone, this might be a nineteenth century setting. The story narrated in the first person by the young protagonist, combined with a precise and antiquated style, nurtures the illusion. The plot, based on the obsessive love of the daughter for her unattainable parent, is only apparently clichéd: the author sends it off in unexpected directions and introduces modern elements, disconcerting the reader who had been resigned to a predictable development of events. A pleasant and original read.

Translation by Clara Arosio (edited by Roma O’Flaherty)