The Mangan Inheritance
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The Mangan Inheritance

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  123 ratings  ·  22 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 it...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by NYRB Classics (first published January 1st 1979)
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Nicholas During
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...more
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.
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...more
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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
A. Mary Murphy
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
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
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.
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.

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.
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
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.
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!
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
Dark. Uneven. But a good, compelling read.
Great novel! Tortured souls, gorgeous writing.
Well written. Disturbing and bizarre.
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.
Bob Peru
very engaging. i read this in two sittings. brian moore deserves to be better known.
Mary Lou
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
This story of a poet seeking his history, relatives, and doppelganger in Ireland has an undertow of menace and meaning, but never quite satisfies.
A novel with many textures and moods. Very readable. Will seek out other books by Moore.
Etchie Pingol
Etchie Pingol marked it as to-read
Sep 20, 2014
Matt marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2014
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Aug 03, 2014
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NYRB Classics: The Mangan Inheritance, by Brian Moore 1 4 Oct 28, 2013 12:19PM  
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
More about Brian Moore...
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne Lies Of Silence Black Robe The Magician's Wife The Statement

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