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A Fatal Inversion  By  cover art

A Fatal Inversion

By: Barbara Vine
Narrated by: William Gaminara
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Publisher's Summary

In the long, hot summer of 1976, a group of young people is camping in Wyvis Hall. Adam, Rufus, Shiva, Vivien and Zosie hardly ask why they are there or how they are to live; they scavenge, steal and sell the family heirlooms. Ten years later, the bodies of a woman and child are discovered in the Hall’s animal cemetery. Which woman? And whose child?
©1987 Kingsmarkham Enterprises (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Fatal Inversion

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Oh my!

This story starts a little slow but when the mystery starts to unfold you cannot stop listening. The moral of the story I guess is you can never truly escape your past. The title is strangely apt. I do not want to say more due to spoiler potential.

14 people found this helpful

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One of the best mysteries...of THE best writer

Ruth Rendell at the height of her power. I only wish she had not passed away.
In this story her descriptions and characters never are off.
While in the plot she surprises at every turn. you realize how true each character is to him or herself. There is the combination of the chilling aberration of the strange, mentally ill elfin Zoey. and the more "everyday" (yet equally chilling) evil of Rufus., Shiva and their friends.
Added to that the descriptions of the gorgeous manor of Ecalpemos --the setting for the events...and you have a book that is perfect I every way.

1 person found this helpful

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Good, and yet I didn’t like it

Whether as Vine or Rendell, this is a fine writer possessed with a ine intellect. Her characters are realistic as is the dialog he puts in their mouths. And yet, I wanted this book to be over long before it’s rather weak and unsatisfying final scene. This is not the first of her books I’ve slogged through. From now on, it’s Inspector Wexford only. That series is more my speed. The reader was excellent

1 person found this helpful

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What a story! What a narrator!

Sublime narration! Every voice and nuance correct, just as I heard it in my head upon reading this gripping story years ago. Usually in this situation, the narrator and I disagree on tone and inflection, but this guy was spot on, lol. Perfection

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Terrible narration

I usually like Barbara Vine books but I'll never know if I liked this one, since I didn't make it beyond 2 or 3 chapters. The narrator talks way too fast so that it requires intense concentration to listen to the book. That's not fun! I guess I wasted a few dollars for this audiobook, so maybe I'll read it on my Kindle instead.

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  • Helen
  • 05-14-14

Very dated, and appalling narration!

I loved the BBC drama of A Fatal Inversion, and having read and enjoyed a few Barbara Vine books, looked forward to this as a familiar story.

Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell books are what they are - frothy thrillers, with a dash of psychology, but nothing too deep, so my expectations weren't high. But it quickly became apparent that the book has not aged well, and I found some of the references to Shiva and Lily a bit, well, racist - certainly a bit ignorant and stereotypical.

But most of all, what a dreadful narrator! Narrating an audiobook requires an actor, not a reader, and William Gaminara 'performed' this book with all the charisma of a dead shrew. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and one thing I find really off-putting is being able to hear the narrator swallow and gulp as (s)he runs out of air. And the attempt at an Indian accent was poorly judged.

Overall, the book certainly lacked the sympathy I had expected - none of the characters were redeemable in any way. Adam and Rufus were both deeply unlikeable (Adam was played with more vulnerability in the BBC version), Zosie was just an annoying whiny kid (again, lacking the fragility I'd expected) and Vivienne was just pretentious, rather than spiritual and emotional.

Disappointing. Rent the DVD instead.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Jan
  • 09-14-20

Didn't see that one coming!

An absolute classic. A different way of telling a story, blending the present with memories of the time around the awful event which is now coming back to catch up with them.
Excellent narration, but poor editing, jumping between scenes without even pausing, causing some confusion.

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  • kc
  • 06-13-20

spoilt by the narration

I love this story, it's so clever and I have an old cassette recording of it read by Douglas Hodge which is superb.
unfortunately I was really irritated by William Gaminara's narration because of his pronunciation of the place names throughout the book.
I couldn't complete it because of this.

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  • J. D. Morris-smith
  • 07-20-22

Giving up on Vine.

I have been working my way through the Vine books but I am calling it a day. This was for me, difficult to get into, I couldn’t engage with any of the characters and ended up stopping after two hours.

I would thoroughly recommend The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy and No Night Is Too Long. The Minotaur but mainly for the narration. Sad to be leaving this author.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 10-22-21

How an event can have consequences years later

A disparate group of young young people come to live in a mansion inherited by Dave. The languid, sultry atmosphere of their aimless life funded by selling off objects left in the house is enhanced by occurring during the very hot summer of 1976. Things begin to implode when a disturbed, runaway teenager, Zosie, is given a lift and taken back to the join the group. The story is told from the perspective of different characters and flits back and forth from 1976 to 10 years later. The consequences of buried skeletons being unearthed in the grounds of the mansion in the 1980s disrupts of the lives of the original group, now in more conventional careers. The novel keeps the reader uncertain as to what really happened and this adds to the tension.

An engrossing story of human folly with dire consequences.

The narrator is excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • SM, Scotland
  • 08-08-20

One of Barbara Vine's best

Loved this story - keeps you guessing right to the end. Some narration rather fast for me but well done nevertheless.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 08-10-19

Fascinating to revisit this book.

I read this book when it was published in the 1980s. It is hard to remember today how groundbreaking it was as so many writers subsequently learned from Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine.
It is hard too to remember how unusual and claustrophobic a baking hot summer once was. I was fascinated to revisit her early insight into the mentality of entitled young men. Their casual attitude to the women and to someone of another racial background, not to mention the way they barely acknowledged villagers who sometimes pass by the house in a working capacity, is totally resonant of privileged young men of the period of the hot mid 70s summer, and even in the scenes of a decade later it is barely beginning to dawn on them as their consciences start to unravel. It shocks today when light has been shone on this so much, but she was at least decade ahead of many writers in this book.
Oh - and even though I soon started to remember the substance of the ending, I was still gripped to see how it all all turned out.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M
  • 12-06-22

masterly narrative

rendell's command of narrative technique is astonishing here, every bit as worthy as Philip Roth's novels. masterly. and a terrific story.

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  • Wendy
  • 12-02-22

Ruth Rendell at her best.

I couldn’t put it down. So cleverly written that I didn’t see the end coming!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-29-22

Gripping

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to listen to several chapters at a time to find out what would happen next.

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  • Mary Rita Martin
  • 10-24-21

Speed of narration too fast

I usually enjoy Barbara Vine novels, this was a bit slow and drawn out. I wasn’t a fan of the narrator- and something must have gone astray in the recording- as the usual speed, 1.0 was actually speeded up. Needed to adjust speed to 0.9 for normal speech.

1 person found this helpful