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The Legacy: A Novel Paperback – August 10, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very mundane details...slow developing. Don't waste your time nor your money on this book. I did not like it. Terrible.Published on December 18, 2013 by Tiffany Harrington
This book was a bundle of conflicts. The first 180 pages were pretty good reading and I was preparing for a three star book. Read morePublished on September 13, 2013 by Jacqueline
I bought this for $4 on a whim at the bookstore clearance rack. Glad it was only $4. I finally gave up on the book at about page 115 after suffering through the slowest plot... Read morePublished on June 3, 2013 by dragonfly14
Superficially this debut novel is a contemporary version of Henry James's Portrait of a Lady. Read more
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... Read morePublished on April 6, 2011 by bookreader "Melanie"
This story is about three friends, but what a strange friendship. The two women have no discernible bond. Read morePublished on March 13, 2011 by Willow Wolf
Several shadows were lurking at the back of my mind as I read this absorbing but overlong novel -- LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, THE GREAT GATSBY, Hitchcock's VERTIGO, and even THE... Read morePublished on November 27, 2010 by Roger Brunyate