Good Behaviour: A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick – Booker Prize Gems (Virago Modern Classics)
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All I can say is if this is not on your TBR list, please consider placing this book on it. If it is already on your TBR list, well…please consider bumping it up! 😊 🙃 😉 Good Behaviour is an extraordinary book. It is dark and lethal, but deliberately frothed up into something that appears to be comforting and palatable. I suppose it is like that fatal rabbit mousse which Aroon serves to her mother. Find sources: "Good Behaviour"Keane novel– news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR ( September 2017) ( Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Keane has set herself a technical challenge. She must make us see all the things that Aroon doesn’t see. . . . There are many moments of brilliant, farcical comedy. . . . Keane’s prose roils with affect denied but persistently, pungently alive.”
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This polite murder is startling at the beginning, but by the end of the book you realise that really it is the very pinnacle of ‘good behaviour’. Aroon has developed manners so finessed, so smotheringly good that they really will allow her to get away with murder. Simultaneously light and dark, pleasurable and harrowing, Good Behaviour may appeal chiefly to readers drawn to characters who are a mixture of well-meaning and hilariously vile, victimizer and victim. . . . Aroon St. Charles is Molly Keane’s great creation, Good Behaviour her masterpiece.”
Setting is described incredibly well, without laying on excessive detail. My favorite was the night Aroon met a funeral guest at the station. In true farce style, Aroon never actually got to attend the funeral. Interestingly, she does mention that manor's Anglican chapel is only used for christenings, weddings and funerals; no call for services. We kept our heads above the morass, stifled screaming despairs only by the exercise of good behaviour.” Molly Keane is a deeply sensitive writer and this novel is imbued with a humanity that reins in the theatrical plot and offers consolation, reflecting that peculiar synthesis of the familiar and conventional with the extraordinary that characterized the world of the Anglo-Irish.Good Behaviour takes us to familiar Molly Keane territory – among the impoverished Anglo-Irish aristocracy of the 1920’s and 30’s. However the story starts many years later – as our narrator Aroon St. Charles is making lunch for her difficult, ageing mother, watched over by their cook/housekeeper Rose – with whom Aroon does not get on well. I won’t say too much – although it is only the opening, short chapter, but it is a brilliant opening. We feel acutely the years of resentment of a disappointed life.