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The House of Stairs

(1988)
A novel by

 
Publisher's Weekly
Writing as Barbara Vine ( A Dark-Adapted Eye ), Ruth Rendell adds dark, psychological elements to her novels that elude easy categorization as straightforward mysteries. Early on here, she establishes a knot of unknowns: Who is the sad, reflective narrator and what illness might she have? What hold does the tall dark woman called Bell have on her, and what happened at the carefully described House of Stairs in London that sent Bell to prison? The answers are revealed as gradually as an intricate knot is untied. The narrator is middle-aged novelist Elizabeth Vetch who, since she learned of her grim heritage at age 14, has lived under the threat of inheriting fatal Huntington's chorea, which she refers to as ''the terror and the bore.'' Years before, in the late '60s and early '70s, she and Bell and a roster of other beautifully realized people lived in the House of Stairs, owned by Elizabeth's recently widowed, newly Bohemian aunt Cosette. The tale begins when Elizabeth sights Bell in the street and, being as drawn to the woman as she had been before, feels compelled to understand her own reawakened emotion as well as the events that accompanied their parting and caused both Cosette and Elizabeth untold pain. With specific references to its underpinning of Henry James's The Wings of A Dove , Rendell's story is dark and portentous, overly so in the early part, where ominous and significant references drag the action. But soon Elizabeth, with her uncertain future and brave effort to pin down her painful past, takes over. She is, in the end, along with the considerably satisfying mystery connecting those who lived at the House of Stairs, profoundly memorable.

 
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Used availability for Barbara Vine's The House of Stairs


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

March 1991 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-517-06442-1 / 978-0-517-06442-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Random House Value Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

June 1989 : UK Hardback
thumbTitle: House of Stairs (Windsor Selections)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-86220-306-6 / 978-0-86220-306-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Chivers Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

April 1989 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: House of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-517-57252-4 / 978-0-517-57252-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harmony Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 1988 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: The house of stairs
Author(s): Barbara VINE
ISBN: 0-670-82414-3 / 978-0-670-82414-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Viking
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

April 2008 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: Level 4: The House of Stairs (Pearson English Graded Readers)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 1-4058-8222-0 / 978-1-4058-8222-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Pearson Education
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

July 2006 : UK Paperback
Title: House Of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-14-305098-2 / 978-0-14-305098-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Canada (APB)
Availability: Amazon CA   

December 1999 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs (Penguin Longman Penguin Readers)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-582-41765-1 / 978-0-582-41765-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Longman
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

November 1998 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs (Penguin Joint Venture Readers)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-582-40244-1 / 978-0-582-40244-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 1997 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-14-026709-3 / 978-0-14-026709-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

March 1996 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: House of Stairs (Penguin Readers (Graded Readers))
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-14-081576-7 / 978-0-14-081576-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 1994 : UK Paperback
Title: House of Stairs (Simply Stories)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-14-081441-8 / 978-0-14-081441-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 1990 : USA Mass Market Paperback
thumbTitle: House of Stairs (Onyx)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-451-40211-1 / 978-0-451-40211-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Onyx
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 1989 : UK Paperback
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-14-011446-7 / 978-0-14-011446-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Audio Editions

October 2014 : USA MP3 CD
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 1-4915-8233-2 / 978-1-4915-8233-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

April 2013 : USA Audio edition
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Ruth Rendell
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon   

2012 : UK Audio CD
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine, Ruth Rendell
ISBN: 1-4084-5158-1 / 978-1-4084-5158-8 (UK edition)
Publisher:
Availability: Amazon UK   

May 2008 : UK Audio CD
thumbTitle: Level 4: The House of Stairs (Pearson English Graded Readers)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 1-4058-6067-7 / 978-1-4058-6067-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Pearson Education
Availability: Amazon UK   

June 2000 : UK Audio Cassette
Title: "The House of Stairs": Audio Cassette (Penguin Readers (Graded Readers))
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-582-43415-7 / 978-0-582-43415-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Longman
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

June 1994 : UK Audio Cassette
Title: House of Stairs (Simply Stories: Level 2)
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-14-088363-0 / 978-0-14-088363-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 1990 : UK Audio Cassette
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs: Complete & Unabridged
Author(s): Barbara Vine
ISBN: 0-7451-6341-6 / 978-0-7451-6341-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Chivers Audio Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

October 2013 : UK Kindle edition
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Barbara Vine
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon UK   

February 2011 : USA Kindle edition
thumbTitle: The House of Stairs
Author(s): Ruth Rendell
Publisher: Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller
Availability: Amazon   


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