John Maier

Alter Ego

The Altruists


Jonathan Cape 320pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Like every unhappy family, the Alters can at least claim a little distinctiveness. All three are in fact so distinct as to be practically estranged from one another when we first meet them in Andrew Ridker’s debut novel. Arthur Alter, a small-time academic, and his two adult children, Ethan and Maggie, by turns idiosyncratic and deplorable, are adjusting to the loss of Francine – wife, mother, materfamilias – who has made the best of her untimely death by disinheriting her philandering husband and passing the spoils of a lucrative and secret investment portfolio directly to her children. 

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