Good Behaviour Paperback
by Molly Keane
Part of the Virago Modern Classics series
I do know how to behave - believe me, because I know. I have always known...' Behind the gates of Temple Alice the aristocratic Anglo-Irish St Charles family sinks into a state of decaying grace. To Aroon St Charles, large and unlovely daughter of the house, the fierce forces of sex, money, jealousy and love seem locked out by the ritual patterns of good behaviour.
But crumbling codes of conduct cannot hope to save the members of the St Charles family from their own unruly and inadmissible desires. This elegant and allusive novel established Molly Keane as the natural successor to Jean Rhys.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 15/12/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781844083244
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by otterpopmusic
Really good, but also really hard to take in places.
Review by rainpebble
Good Behaviour by Molly Keane; VMC, in memory of englishrose60, chosen from her library; ROOT; (4 1/2*)Good Behaviour is a very well written book. It is a dark comedy of manners which is narrated by a totally unreliable narrator, the almost delusional and pitiful daughter of the house, Aroon. It is Keane’s great strength that she can give us a tale told by a tall, heavy daughter of privilege which is completely misinterpreted by the narrator but is clear and sad to the reader. In the end Aroon wants what all humans want which is to love and be loved. Unfortunately, she has a mother who is cold as ice, a father who hunts and shoots six days a week and does not attend properly to the dwindling family fortune and a handsome, charming, & intelligent brother whose sexual orientation is obvious to the reader and yet is completely missed by Aroon.Yet Aroon is not completely unaware. The chapter where she goes to the grand holiday party of wealthy neighbors demonstrates that Aroon can read many social cues quite well. There is a central significant tragedy and loss in the first half of the book that the reader will recognize as the most tragic loss of Aroon’s life. This loss is central to Aroon’s later life but somehow she never comes to grips with the gravity of this loss upon her family, a family with good behavior, and thus the inability to grieve. How does someone who is unattractive and is never nurtured by her parents make it through life? Keane portrays Aroon as taking every tiny bit of affection or regard and expanding it in her mind as meaningful. This romantic illusion keeps her going. Whereas this can be comic, it is dark comedy, carefully constructed and revealed bit by bit, but a tragedy nevertheless.Highly recommended to those who do not feel the need for a lot of action to embellish their reading material.
Review by mimal
bookshelves: booker-longlist, winter-20132014, play-dramatisation, radio-4x, britain-ireland, period-piece, published-1981, lit-richer, classic, families, suicide, filthy-lucreRecommended for: BBC Radio ListenersRead from February 06 to 08, 2014BBC description: Behind the gates of Temple Alice, the aristocratic Anglo-Irish St Charles family sinks into a state of decaying grace. To Aroon St Charles, the large and unlovely daughter of the house, the fierce forces of sex, money, jealousy, and love seem locked out by the ritual patterns of good behavior. But crumbling codes of conduct cannot hope to save the members of the St Charles family from their own unruly and inadmissible desires. This elegant and allusive novel, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, established Molly Keane as the natural successor to Jean Rhys.I warmed up nicely to the storyline and especially liked the way things were by the end. Lovely, loved, Aroon!