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The Mangan Inheritance

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  171 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Not so long ago James Mangan was a brilliant young poet. These days, however, he toils as a journalist 
and shivers in the shadow of his glamorous movie-star wife. And now she has left him for her lover. Adrift and depressed, Jamie takes refuge with his father, in whose house he turns up a 19th-century daguerreotype bearing the initials “J.M.” and depicting a man who, as i
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by NYRB Classics (first published January 1st 1979)
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Not the strongest book by Brian Moore that I've read but still worth a look at. A somewhat murky plot with some very dark themes. The old saying "be careful what you wish for" nicely sums up this story.

After the death of his wife "poet" Jamie Mangan travels to the remote town of Drishane in Ireland in search of his unknown family and his ancestry.

I'm quite biased about this author and his work which I find so well written and compelling. His novels are diverse and far reaching. A large part of
Nicholas During
Sep 27, 2011 Nicholas During rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book. I was initially taken in by the writing, which is very strong, and the plot resembles a Greek myth--loss, identity crisis, rebirth after discovering origins but with a disappointment in the past that leads the protagonist to move forward.

There are points when the two styles clash a bit. At one point this book feels like it is on the "big con" game, is everybody out to rip off the rich American? And I always enjoy a good mystery so no complaints here. But mixing it up with poet
Mar 29, 2014 Corey rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best novels--most engaging, most moving--I've read recently. The characters are so well-drawn I felt slightly bereft when I finished, and I empathized with the protagonist so much that when he got hurt it upset me. It reminded me a bit of John Fowles at his best.
Jan 31, 2012 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The somewhat aimless writer-husband of a recently dead movie-star travels to Ireland on the premise that he can discover whether or not he is indeed the descendant of Irish poet James Clarence Mangan. He is lured on by a mysterious photograph which might be of the original James Clarence Mangan, but happens to look exactly like our protagonist.

The pleasures of the book are ethnographic in nature. Moore summons up a 1970s actor's world and an impoverished Irish countryside with equal skill. Are
Feb 27, 2013 Ian rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A. Mary
Jun 30, 2012 A. Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-novels
I have to say I was disappointed because I expect more depth from Moore, but the book isn't a waste of time. The pursuit of identity by searching for roots and genealogy is familiar to many descended from the diaspora, and Moore attaches a gift (poetry) to a besetting weakness. These two recur about once a generation, and the two-edged sword is an interesting premise. Add the mystery of an important Irish poet as potential ancestor, and Moore has the makings of a story that can hit several notes ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Brad rated it it was amazing
This book seems simple enough. A guy whose life was completely overshadowed by his wife seeks to find himself and to discover whether an obscure but celebrated in his time Irish poet is a distant relative. The action moves from New York City to Montreal to the wild backwaters of Ireland. Jamie Mangan finds out more than he might want to about his family in Ireland. The book is incredibly well written and gets creepier as it progresses. I have to admit that I probably should read it a second time ...more
Kristine Morris
I kept having to check the title page of this book to make sure I was NOT reading Mordecai Richler! A man (feeling unworthy of himself), from Montreal, a writer/journalist, his father part of the newspaper empire, with various idiosyncrasies and some questionable sexual exploits.... Certainly the theme is not new - taking a leave in Ireland to find oneself and/or one's roots - but overall I did enjoy the book. The storyline was engaging and you weren't really sure how it would all work out in th ...more
Nov 07, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it
This novel was much better than I thought it was going to be. For those familiar with Irish heritage tales (both on paper & in person) there were quite a few cliches, but the characters were so real, it didn't seem to matter. Sort of an amazing twist that allows the protagonist to drop everything and make his heritage journey, but that's what's needed to make the journey so, so be it. Quick read for a rainy weekend.
Oct 23, 2011 Kc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, originally published in 1979, has been reissued and I liked its rough and tumble feeling as the main character trips along, digging his hole a little deeper with each misstep. The characters are fully drawn and the story, though less shocking in 2011 than it undoubtedly was in 1979, still resonated.

Aug 21, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearn a couple of years ago that sparked my interest in Brian Moore. This is an amazing book - I never heard of it until this release by NYRB - but I may have to start working my way through the Moore canon.
Aug 06, 2011 W rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read it through in one setting, which is hardly something I do anymore, and am wondering why. Enough mystery, history, and adventure. But it was published in the '70s, a time when I came of age as a reader, and think somehow it is a period style that caused the response.
Enjoyed this rather strange book, but being set in Co Cork and read in Co Donegal on holiday (they are very similar as counties) it was just right for me, and I released it with bookcrossing up in Downings, Co Donegal!
Apr 02, 2012 Maxine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this irish author who grahame green described as one of the greatest authors of all time
An English professor friend of mine gave me a copy to read he was studying it with his 3rd year students at the time and I found that I then got hooked on the author
Sep 06, 2011 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great novel! Tortured souls, gorgeous writing.
Steven Mangan
I ordered this book to read. Although not much of a reader, the person portrayed in the book is a cousin of my great grandfather, James Clarence Mangan, who was a famous poet from Ireland.
Sally Anne
Oct 02, 2012 Sally Anne rated it liked it
Dark. Uneven. But a good, compelling read.
Oct 16, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Jamie Mangan desperately wants to be a poet. In fact, he'd settle for being known as someone other than "just the husband" of a stage and screen actress. He lives on her money, but he has no identity of "self". His wife falls in love with her producer and wants a friendly divorce and is more than generous in her settlement proposals. Then tragedy a time when Jamie comes across an old photo of an Irish poet with his last name. Is he related to this man who died in the mid-19th centur ...more
Apr 23, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished this several days ago, but I was undecided as to how to write about it so I kept avoiding updating this page. I've always loved Brian Moore's writing. I wish more readers would (re)discover him. So, I was thrilled to see a new edition of one of his novels that I'd never read (thank you New York Book Review Press and that smart, sharp-eyed librarian at the Arcata branch who is filling the shelves with fantastic new titles!). This novel has the characteristic, beautiful, lilting prose tha ...more
Feb 16, 2011 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
I really connected with the first section of this novel, particularly Mangan's descent into depression and listlessness after his separation and death of his wife. Mangan's trip to Ireland is both haunting and frustrating. His actions are not surprising, and could be said to demonstrate the propensity or desire of some to take on the role of libertine. Mangan should fester for more than a month. However, Moore's tidy ending seems less real.
Kevin Adams
Jan 18, 2017 Kevin Adams rated it it was amazing
After reading and absolutely loving a previous book by Brian Moore (The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne) I had to of course read another. Another one his masterpieces, yes, masterpieces that was released years ago from NYRB, The Mangan Inheritance is equally astonishing. I'll continue to find and read as much from Moore as I can get my hands on.
Kay Puma
The idea of this book intrigued me, but I did not think it was up to the hype. The search for your roots and search for self was a good idea, but the pace at which it occurred and the people Jamie encounters in Ireland are depressing.
Jul 13, 2012 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story of a poet seeking his history, relatives, and doppelganger in Ireland has an undertow of menace and meaning, but never quite satisfies.
Feb 05, 2013 Roger rated it liked it
A novel with many textures and moods. Very readable. Will seek out other books by Moore.
Mary Lou
Dec 16, 2013 Mary Lou rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
Brian Moore featured high on my favourite writers list 20 years ago, but I was disappointed that this now feels so dated ( and now socially insensitive). Was glad it was over really
Bob Peru
Jan 06, 2014 Bob Peru rated it really liked it
very engaging. i read this in two sittings. brian moore deserves to be better known.
Apr 12, 2014 Chrissie rated it really liked it
Well written. Disturbing and bizarre.
James rated it it was amazing
Jun 25, 2012
Deirdre rated it really liked it
Nov 03, 2012
Jo rated it liked it
Aug 31, 2013
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NYRB Classics: The Mangan Inheritance, by Brian Moore 1 5 Oct 28, 2013 12:19PM  
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Brian Moore (1921–1999) was born into a large, devoutly Catholic family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father was a surgeon and lecturer, and his mother had been a nurse. Moore left Ireland during World War II and in 1948 moved to Canada, where he worked for the Montreal Gazette, married his first wife, and began to write potboilers under various pen names, as he would continue to do throughout ...more
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