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Publisher's Summary

The Portobello area of West London has a rich personality. It also has an edge to it. There is nothing safe about Portobello.

Eugene Wren was 50, with prematurely white hair. He also had an addictive personality. But he had cut back on alcohol and had given up cigarettes - which was just as well, considering he was going out with a doctor.

On a shopping trip one day, Eugene, quite by chance, came across an envelope containing money. He picked it up. For some reason, rather than report the matter to the police, he wrote a note explaining what he had found and stuck it up on a lamp post near his house.

This note would link the lives of very different people - each with their obsessions, problems, dreams, and despairs.

©2008 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A bit of stinker

What would have made Portobello better?

Where to start. I couldn't invest in any of the characters they were unbelievable. The story was dull. The narrator struggled to make this turkey sound interesting and he's one of the best. The plot meandered along apparently going nowhere.

Has Portobello put you off other books in this genre?

Not at all

What about Ric Jerrom’s performance did you like?

He wasn't up to his usual excellence but that was understandable this story and its characters were one dimensional and bland.

What character would you cut from Portobello?

All of them

Any additional comments?

If you have trouble sleeping this audio book will send you straight to sleep.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-04-2017

great story - astonishing reading

Ruth Rendell gave voice to people to the marginalised and criminal to make them human - and to everybody else. this story (also) covers addiction (here of chocolate). the reading performence is astonishing - no less. slighty different voices for all characters and different volume and speed in different situations

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Gillian
  • 01-08-2009

rather dull

this was a disappointment, it was really quite tedious. I didnt care about any of the characters, and there wasnt much of a plot.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Duncan
  • 31-07-2009

Tedious beyond belief

I bought this audio book because of the author's reputation. It turns out to be a tedious, overly long epic. The main challenge is keeping awake. Good for insomniacs.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan Random
  • 20-05-2016

Portobello

Ruth Rendell once again intertwines the life of the rich and the poor living in the titular trendy area of West London. Lance Platt, a young petty thief, lives with his miserly great Uncle Gib in a dilapidated house beside The Westway. Eugene resides in the plusher part of the postcode and his addictive personality begins to unravel his relationship with his GP girlfriend, Ella. Joel has a difficult time adjusting to life following his heart operation and the arrival of the mystical Mythras in his life causes the path of his destiny to change.

I really enjoyed this book and it was incredibly compelling. I doubt that many authors would be able to paint such a vivid picture of multicultural London?

The narrator, Ric Jerrom, provides a wide array of character voices. His pronunciation of the word 'plastic' as 'plaaastic' is a little odd though. Also, his portrayal of Joel's voice was so like Richmond (the goth from the Channel 4 comedy series, The IT Crowd) was especially amusing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Emma
  • 10-10-2009

Not all bad! Do give it a chance!

Despite the other bad reviews I thought I would give this a try as I love ruth Rendell books. It is certainly different from her other books however I very much enjoyed it! I found it easy to listen to,I really liked the way it was read and loved the narraters voice. I would recommend it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. P.C. Scoble
  • 23-06-2018

Portobello

A second rate soap opera. The social dynamics of the characters are contrived, as are the circumstances which fate has dealt. Eugene's 'addiction' is completely overwritten and no one character has a sympathetic aspect. What was the point of this novel?

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Colin
  • 07-12-2009

sorry

A poor one from Ruth.