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Walking to the shops one day, 50-year-old Eugene Wren discovers an envelope on the street bulging with cash. A man plagued by a shameful addiction - and his own good intentions - Wren hatches a plan to find the money's rightful owner. Instead of going to the police, or taking the cash for himself, he prints a notice and posts it around Portobello Road. This ill-conceived act creates a chain of events that links Wren to other Londoners - people afflicted with their own obsessions and despairs. As these volatile characters come into Wren's life - and the life of his trusting fiancé - the consequences will change them all.
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By Lynn on 09-16-10
Portobello's Lovely Mean Streets
Poignant, funny, human and sardonic, a spellbinding evocation by Ruth Rendell of a time - 2007 - and a place - the Portobello neighborhood of London - both distinct and universal. Rendell's rich and sensuous narrative draws us into the complicated and vivid lives of upper middle class, lower middle class, criminal, and slacker Londoners as if met on a stroll through Portobello. Each wants something elusive - security, sanity, love, food, or simply human contact - and we feel their longings as we wonder what will happen next in the convoluted, Dickensian plot driven by conflicting desires and obsessions. Tim Curry's narration splendidly summons the beauty and ugliness of the characters and their deeds.
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