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The Legacy: A Novel Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143917718X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439177181
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,000,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This hypnotic debut from Australian author Tranter pays homage to Henry James's A Portrait of a Lady while offering a suspenseful story line worthy of Patricia Highsmith. Gorgeous, wealthy Australian Ingrid Holburne takes a break from her college studies to attend the Venice Biennale, where she meets much older art dealer Gil Grey, who manages the career of his artist daughter, Fleur, 13 and a child prodigy. After a whirlwind courtship, Ingrid marries Gil, to the dismay of Ingrid's close half-cousin, Ralph, and their mutual friend, Julia Alpers. When Ingrid apparently perishes in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, Ralph, still grieving almost a year after September 11, asks Julia to go to New York to learn more about what happened. What Julia uncovers is a rat's nest of clues that slowly and seductively drive the action to a shocking conclusion. While Tranter's sedate pacing avoids typical thriller antics and conventional crime plot twists, she raises some wickedly keen questions about art world wheeling and dealing.
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Review

“Australian author Tranter makes her splendid debut with this novel about friendship, love, abuse and deceit.... Tranter’s writing is as rich and luxurious as heavy, expensive brocade. The characters’ names and many aspects of the plot will remind readers of Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady.... It’s a goldmine of literary references, and finding them can be both fun and challenging. A promising beginning to what will undoubtedly be a successful writing career.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“This hypnotic debut from Australian author Tranter pays homage to Henry James's A Portrait of a Lady while offering a suspenseful story line worthy of Patricia Highsmith.... While Tranter's sedate pacing avoids typical thriller antics and conventional crime plot twists, she raises some wickedly keen questions about art world wheeling and dealing.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

"A gripping and deeply moving novel." —The Australian Literary Review

“I don't know where I've read a better evocation of the unbearable pain of unrequited love than in the measured rhythms and cadences of Tranter's prose.... The Legacy is so accomplished, it's difficult to believe it's a first novel... It demands your full attention and only reluctantly releases you from its clutches to go about your daily life. It's the kind of novel that makes you wish for a mildly debilitating illness to keep you in bed for a couple of days.” —The Australian Literary Review

“Full of suave and stunning evocations of Sydney and Manhattan, this sparkling and spacious novel captures the smell and sap of young people half in love with everyone they’re vividly aware of, and groping to find themselves like the answer to an erotic enigma.” — Peter Craven, The Monthly (Australia)

“The most satisfying novel I’ve read all year." —Bookseller + Publisher (***½ stars)

“An intelligent and engaging novel that is dense, intricate, detailed, acutely observed, and beautifully written in a voice that is measured and consistent from start to finish.” ”—Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying

“Fans of literary mysteries will enjoy this intricate, fascinating, and original novel. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal (starred)

More About the Author

The Legacy is Kirsten Tranter's first novel. Kirsten grew up in Sydney and studied English and Fine Arts at Sydney University. She has published poetry, short stories, reviews and literary criticism. Kirsten lived in New York between 1998 and 2006 where she completed a PhD on Renaissance literature at Rutgers University. She was awarded an Emerging Writer's Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts to write The Legacy. Kirsten is now based in Sydney where she spends a lot of time running around after her five year old, Henry, and teaches creative writing at the University of Technology. Her second novel A Common Loss is forthcoming in 2012.
In 2011 The Legacy was longlisted for the prestigious Miles Franklin award and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal from the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.
Follow Kirsten on Twitter @ktranter and visit her website kirstentranter.com to learn more about Kirsten and read reviews of The Legacy.

Customer Reviews

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Why doesn't she just turn on the heat?
Willow Wolf
I think she wanted to be Ingrid, not like her, be her, and that was the real reason she went to New York.
Jacqueline
All in all, an interesting story, but not gripping.
J. Grattan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carla Ford VINE VOICE on August 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Great novel about the mysteries of friendship and love. Julia and Ralph have been best friends for some time as students in Sydney. When Ralph's cousin Ingrid comes to live with Ralph's family, both Ralph and Julia are meeting her for the first time. Jealous of the bond Ralph and Ingrid form, Julia still can't help being drawn to Ingrid, and the three form a friendship that lasts until Ingrid marries and moves to New York. Although Ingrid disappears in the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center, it is a year before Julia goes to New York to learn about her friend's life there. Filled with examples of the intricacies of relationships, this novel examines the bonds that people form in friendships, casual acquaintances and intimate relationships. It really pulls you into the mystery surrounding Ingrid's last days, and her relationships in New York as Julia comes closer to solving her unanswered questions. A full cast of characters, some worthy of their own novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dabby Cool on October 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Thanks to the publisher and goodreads for the free review copy.

The Legacy focuses on Julia, Ralph, and Ingrid, three (sometimes) close friends. When Ingrid disappears in New York after the events of 9/11, Julia heads to the Big Apple to investigate.

This book is an homage to The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James; Ingrid's situation mirrors in part Isabel's in Portrait. It's quite a high order for one's first novel to be inspired by a classic work, but the author's literary background certainly explains the aspiration.

The Legacy is sometimes too clever for its own good, particularly in the numerous literary and pop cultural references perhaps meant to serve as shorthand for evoking moods or feelings associated with those referenced works. That is not to say the author takes shortcuts; this novel is very luxuriously paced, with no sense of urgency.

Undoubtedly Ms. Tranter is a talented writer, and her descriptions are so vivid that I was present wherever Julia was. Nevertheless, an emotional disconnect forced me to distance myself. Yes, unrequited love can be romantic in its way, but all the pining described constituted the petulant sort. And for all the investigation that Julia conducts to find Ingrid, the journey is all about discovering Julia. That is not in itself an ignoble cause, except that we must care for Julia. I did not care enough for any of these people.

Three stars for the exquisite writing and admirable aspirations.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every now and then, a novel comes along that is addicting. Nothing else gets done. Dinner gets burned, if it is even made, phones aren't answered, and appointments are canceled. This is one of those novels. It is seductive, darkly sexual, haunting, and even frightening. You start waiting for the penny to drop, as the pages keep turning and the clues keep mounting. This is one very hypnotic novel.

After an enigmatic prologue, this noirish book opens in Sydney, Australia. The narrator, Julia Alpers, is a law student not committed to her studies at this time. We are brought up to speed with her current dilemma: whether to go to New York on her old friend Ralph's dime to investigate the last day's of Ingrid, who disappeared on 9/11 (a year ago from the current events), or to tear up the ticket and ignore Ralph altogether. A murky undercurrent presides as pieces of their relationship unfold gradually.

At a leisurely but still tight pace, we learn the background and history of the friendship between Ralph, Julia, and Ingrid. Ingrid was almost an anachronism, a Grace Kelly type with a combination of innocence and power. Ralph had that androgynous and sometimes diffident charm. The triangulation of their relationship was complex, and I liked that it was uncommon, even within a certain familiarity.

This is a story that turns like a screw, gets more and more tense, as well as cross-stitched and dusky. It is finely artistic, with enough literary and art allusions to give you goose bumps. As the editorial description states, there is an analogy to Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics) but it also imbibes other references.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bookreader "Melanie" on April 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Thank you for such a good book. The story started off a bit slow, there was quite of bit of background information given on how the 3 main characters met and their relationship to each other. But I thought the writing was very beautiful. You find out right away that Ingrid goes missing and Julia begins to discover that her death/disappearance may not be as it first seems. I couldn't wait to finish this novel and the ending did not disappoint me. A really satisfying, good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on December 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Legacy is a somewhat slow-developing, though intriguing, mystery that is to some extent connected to the 9/11 event in NYC; it is a story that invokes elements of friendship, urbanity, love unrealized, disappearance, deception, abuse, etc. Ralph, Julia, and Ingrid are intellectual, urbane, and artistic college students and close friends in Sydney in the late 1990s. However, it is the enigmatic, beautiful Ingrid, distant cousin of Ralph and recently arrived from Western Australia, who affects the others: Ralph, in his sexually conflicted love, and Julia, who is attracted to Ingrid's virtuousness, despite her own longings for Ralph. Ingrid's rather hasty marriage to an older, well-to-do NYC art dealer/collector Gil Grey, who she meets in Venice, strains those bonds. Even more important is her apparent death in the Twin Towers that begins an entirely new direction for the story, along with a decided pick-up of the pace.

Ralph, never happy with Ingrid's marriage to Gil and unable to move past the pain of her death, convinces Julia to travel to NYC one year later to uncover any anomalies in Ingrid's life. Julia talks to fellow students and teachers at Columbia where Ingrid was a classics scholar, persons in the art world, Ingrid's step daughter Fleur, an artistic prodigy, and Gil. Seemingly innocuous papers, photographs, even medical reports, in addition to references to her despondency from her acquaintances, raise Julia's suspicions. Apparently, Gil's life, past and present, is not entirely as he would like it to be seen.

The story is told entirely from Julia's perspective. But she is a rather vague, inconsistent presence, seemingly overly timid and unfocused one moment and capable of being willingly seduced in a heartbeat the next.
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