The Mangan Inheritance by Brian Moore; Miss Herbert (The Suburban Wife) by Christina Stead - review by Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey

Contrived Excesses

The Mangan Inheritance

By

Cape 352pp £5.50 order from our bookshop

Miss Herbert (The Suburban Wife)

By

Virago 320pp £5.95 order from our bookshop
 

Brian Moore is among the least predictable of living novelists. Each book he writes, whatever its merits, is totally unexpected and completely different from its predecessors. He enjoys changing course. He has many stories to tell, and he tells them in a variety of ways. Not for him the annual rehash of a trusted and familiar plot; not for him the same few characters going through their customary paces.

The Mangan Inheritance is the tallest story Brian Moore has told to date – taller even than The Great Victorian Collection. James Mangan, an Irish American would-be poet in early middle age, is left by his wife, a successful Broadway actress named Beatrice Abbot. Days later, Beatrice dies in a

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