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Loving and Giving

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In 1914, when Nicandra is eight, all is well in the grand Irish estate, Deer Forest. Maman is beautiful and adored. Dada, silent and small, mooches contendedly around the stables. Aunt Tossie, of the giant heart and bosom, is widowed but looks splendid in weeds. The butler, the groom, the landsteward, the maids, the men - each as a place and knows it. Then, astonishingly, ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Virago (first published 1988)
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Sep 03, 2010 SarahC rated it did not like it
This book gained my interest due to seeing several references to Keane as an influential writer beginning in the early part of the 20th century -- a period I love to learn more about. Loving and Giving was actually published in 1988, more toward the end of this Irish novelist's long career. The story begins during the childhood of Nicandra in 1914. Her family life is an odd mix of concerned, crass, and flighty family members living off old money and horseracing. Entering adulthood, the troubles ...more
Peg Castle
Jan 31, 2016 Peg Castle rated it really liked it
Complex and dark. Probably worth another read. Occasionally found I had to read a sentence more than once before the full meaning hit me.

Houses, animals, people and places are all characters in the book. The nature of loving and giving and how it shapes the characters' lives seems to be the central theme of the novel. How love limits and oppresses the givers and takers of love in this book is illuminated in the day to day activities of the characters and I found the world Molly Keane created ri
Jan 18, 2013 JoTownhead rated it liked it
Nicandra wants to please. As a small girl she doesn't realise the consequences of her actions. As a young woman she surely must but convinces herself of the rightness of her approach. Her one cruel, childish act comes back to haunt her, providing a surprising end to this richly dark comedy. Action takes place in a crumbling family home in Ireland in the early 1900s. The gardual decline of the house is matched by changes in the family and social structures. There are layers to the book, and the a ...more
Apr 08, 2014 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Finished in a bit of a flurry. Had the feeling no decision had been made about genre
Mar 30, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Molly Keane spent many years writing ripping yarns about displaced Irish socialites and fox hunting, or so it seems if you raid her back-catalogue. But the novels she wrote in later life, like Loving and Giving, and razor-sharp, compassionate deconstructions of families and relationships. Always sparklingly witty but this one is coloured through regret, hope, despair and honesty.
Amanda J
Jun 21, 2009 Amanda J rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Eveyln Waugh
Once again a Keane novel has shocked and surprised me. I didn't see this ending coming at all. As usual, the characters are more than a little off and some are down right disturbing, but Keane writes will a wit and style that makes the characters' peculiarities seem almost commonplace.
Dec 14, 2007 Cherie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
B+ At first I couldn't get into this but then, got into it. Hated her husband; fascinating.
Nov 10, 2008 Christina marked it as to-read
Saw this one in O Magazine.
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Molly Keane (20 July 1904 – 22 April 1996) was an Irish novelist and playwright (born Mary Nesta Skrine in Ryston Cottage, Newbridge, County Kildare). She grew up at Ballyrankin in County Wexford and was educated at a boarding school in Bray, County Wicklow. She married Bobby Keane, one of a Waterford squirearchical family in 1938 and had two daughters. She used her married name for her later nove ...more
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