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Inheritance by Nicholas Shakespeare

Inheritance (edition 2011)

by Nicholas Shakespeare

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976124,414 (3.43)1
Authors:Nicholas Shakespeare
Info:Vintage Books (2011), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Fiction, Book Group

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Inheritance by Nicholas Shakespeare



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I loved this book, and would have given it five stars, had it not been for the unwieldy opening and the sometimes juddery prose which left me wondering who was speaking and/or where we'd jumped to. Nevertheless, NS is clearly a master storyteller, who writes with great slight of hand, so that I continually found myself thinking, oh yes, of course! Chock full of ideas and historical insights. I'm only sorry I wasn't able to read it all in one go, as it is the sort of books that probably rewards the reader who can give it her full attention.
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  Melanielgarrett | Apr 2, 2013 |
The storyline is fairly simple. It is about a man, Andy, who leaves his uninspired job at a self help publishing house late to attend his late teachers funeral. However, he eventually realises that he is in the wrong chapel, but then does not leave.

Later, he finds out that he is one of the people to inherit Christopher Madigan’s estate, simply because he attended the funeral. That simple act causes him to become a millionaire many times over, a fact that goes to his head, as he enjoys holidays and cars. Andy is though becoming increasingly curious about the man who provided his inheritance.

I did not like the character of Andy although I understand though the point the author is trying to make about how money changes us and perhaps steers us from who we are to who we believe we aspire to be. I felt that Andy was a weak man and for me his character drifted. He became selfish and openly lies to the daughter of Christopher, simply because he liked her.

The story of Christopher was more engaging, but for me this book didn't work and I think it could have been developed more, and there were many storyline opportunities missed. ( )
  AnglersRest | Feb 25, 2013 |
Didn't finish this - after reading another review that said the second half was better, perhaps I should have, but it was overdue at the library - oh well. It began with a good idea for a plot with unexpected millions being bequethed to anyone who showed up at a funeral. Pity is was Nick - most unlikeable loser - especially when he went out of his way to lie profusely to the daughter of the deceased because he fancied her, and he was horrible to his mate too, and another girlfiend that he paid off and dropped off at a station. I do hope his character improved but I was tired of reading about him. ( )
  siri51 | Jul 22, 2011 |
I saw Inheritance in the bookstore and was intrigued by the black and white cover (who says cover art doesn’t play a role?) and the blurb on the back looked pretty good too. What made me put it back was the price. Fortunately, the ebook version was much cheaper and I sacrificed the lovely cover art for more book-buying money.

Although the author is based in the UK, Inheritance has a link with Australians (and particularly West Australians). It opens to a young man searching for iron ore deposits out from Marble Bar and has several chapters describing Perth very realistically (although I hope the bushfire part doesn’t come true).

After the mysterious miner in the prologue, we meet Andy who has a dead end job at a self-help publishing house and who runs very late for his late teacher’s funeral. Unfortunately for Andy, he has the wrong funeral but doesn’t leave. Later, he finds that he is one of the people who inherit Christopher Madigan’s estate, simply because he attended the funeral. He is now a millionaire many times over.

Of course it goes to Andy’s head- women, cars, holidays- but he is increasingly intrigued to find out about his mysterious benefactor. We then move into Christopher’s backstory and find out about his life.

I found Christopher a more engaging character than Andy, who seems a bit driftless and lacking. The ending is a little ambiguous but I can’t think of any other conclusion.
Inheritance dragged for me at times (mainly Andy’s story- I felt the teacher and book link was a bit underdeveloped) but the backstory of Christopher was interesting, maybe because of the Australian link. Probably not the best book I’ve read, but interesting enough and I like the interweaving of stories. ( )
  birdsam0610 | Nov 29, 2010 |
A very satisfying read from that borderland territory between literary fiction and the intelligent popular novel. A simple premise - a man who inherits millions of pounds as a consequence of accidentally attending the funeral of a man he has never met - is used as the starting point explore what money does to people and so much more. Geographically it ranges from Britain, to Australia, Vienna (briefly) and Armenia. Some painful episodes, not least the loss of an eye, are described vividly. It also has something to say about the lasting impact of a good teacher and about the philosopher Montaigne. All in all, there is quite a lot in under 300 pages, but it does not feel crammed.

[Added 22/09/10] I got so swept away by the quite serious second half to this novel that I forget to mention that there are some really funny passages early on, most of them at the expense of the self-help publishing industry. The change of tone is appropriate because it mirrors the journey that one of the main male characters is taking. He begins broke and broken hearted, then passes through a rich but shallow phase before heading towards an understanding of his mystery benefactor and, in the process, a better understanding of himself. ( )
  dsc73277 | Sep 21, 2010 |
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Summary: Andy Larkham is late. He is due at the funeral of his favourite school teacher, who once told him: 'It's hard work being anyone.' It's especially hard for Andy -- stuck in a dead-end job, terminally short of cash and with a fiance who is about to ditch him.… (more)

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