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The Legacy

2.95  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  82 reviews

A thrilling and addictive novel about three unlikely friends and the web of lies that unravels after one of them goes missing.

At the center of The Legacy is the story of Julia Alpers, her friend Ralph, and the beautiful and wealthy Ingrid. As students in Sydney, the bond that ties this threesome together is complex - delicate and
Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Washington Square Press (first published 2010)
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Average rating 2.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  349 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
‘The Legacy’ ....a Australian author, Kirsten Tranter, was first published 10 years ago. This is my first time reading her.
The experience is hard to describe. Many readers won’t have the patience for it....but for those who do, they risk becoming totally enslaved to it as I did.
I admit being ‘spent’. I don’t think I’ll stop thinking about it for weeks upon weeks. This story is very alive and present in my head.

It’s a long novel....and it feels long. It’s a literary suspense thrill
Pandemic rereads #7

The narrator of The Legacy, Julia, lives a comfortable, ordinary middle-class life until she forms a friendship with wealthy Ralph and his beautiful half-cousin Ingrid. She's swept into their decadent world and falls in love with Ralph, who in turn is in love with Ingrid (despite being distantly related to her – and despite the fact that he generally prefers men). Still, the trio manage to maintain a near-idyllic friendship until Ingrid meets and quickly marries a much older A
Deborah Biancotti
I wasn't sure what I thought of this book, and then I read Peter Craven's review in 'The Monthly' where he calls it a "crypto-mystery novel rather haphazardly linked to an allusive literary novel" and I admit now I know what I thought of this book.

Initially I was kinda confused because I'd gone into the book thinking it was a mystery: a conclusion I'd built from the back cover blurb & the apparent subtitle on the front ("What has happened to Ingrid?"). But it's not a mystery. Instead I was take
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*May contain spoilers* *May ramble*

This is a difficult book to review. And I'm going to start by saying that I think the reason I initially gave The Legacy four stars instead of five is more to do with the main character, Julia, than the writing. I love the writing and the structure, and the setting (the setting!) and the ending (the ending!).

Julia isn't so much a character as a human. Which is what we want in writing, right? And by the end of the book I really loved her. But most of the time I
The Legacy, by Kirsten Tranter, was longlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin. It’s an accomplished debut novel in many ways, but it failed to engage me in a sustained way. I read about 50 pages of it, put it aside, and forgot about it until I realised it would soon be due back at the library. And then I had to start again because I couldn’t remember what it was about.

Like Henry James’ A Portrait of a Lady, the novel from which the plot is derived, it’s more of a meditation than a page-turner, wha
Oct 17, 2010 rated it liked it
I liked this book despite its flaws. I liked the main character and I liked the story. I was very curious about the ending and was mostly satisfied with it. I agree with others who wrote about feeling frustrated: why did Julia take months to ask questions that were so obvious to the reader? It seemed to be a plot device to add suspense, but just ended up being frustrating to read. Some of the writing was beautiful, but it often felt the author was trying too hard to be intense and deep. The desc ...more
Steve lovell
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
You remember where you were when you heard of them – events so momentous you just know the world would never be the same again. For the Kennedy assassination I was asleep, woken by a teary mother with the sad news. For the death of Elvis, on my birthday I might add, I was enjoying a celebratory sudsy bath, but that soon changed when the radio told me of his untimely passing. With Whitlam's dismissal, I had just come off class for the morning break when a teaching colleague, heading out to playgr ...more
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
I didn't read all of this, but enough to conclude that it's not for me. I found the writing a bit on the dull side and the characters profoundly uninteresting. I had great intentions of finishing it in time for book club, but after reading the first 30 to 50 pages, I found myself choosing to do just about anything other than read this book. I made a strong push the day before and slogged through to the beginning of Julia's New York investigation (where the book *finally* seemed to be picking up ...more
Julia is a student at the University of Sydney; to help pay her way, she works part-time at a video shop in Kings Cross, which is where she meets Ralph, another student, who becomes her best friend. Julia's love for Ralph is almost instant and unrequited - Ralph, bisexual at the best of times, sees her only as his friend and confidante. The two are close until the arrival of Ingrid, Ralph's cousin from Perth. She and her model sister, Victoria, are recently orphaned and Ingrid has come to live w ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a long book – 438 pages- but I didn’t find that it dragged. The first 2/3 of the book reminded me of an Antipodean Brideshead Revisited or Great Gatsby, with the outsider narrator watching wealthy people living out their greed and insecurity. There is an artificiality and staginess to the lives of these wealthy and ruthless people, and the glamour of the New York art scene does not disguise the curdled ugliness of these so-called ‘ beautiful people’. The last 1/3 of the book took on the ...more
Oct 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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 ex
Sam Still Reading
Jul 18, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody. Ever.
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: read a positive review
Shelves: could-not-finish
The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter. It has one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen. But the content is disappointing. The plot is good- girl goes missing in New York on September 11, 2001- or does she? But it doesn’t seem to execute itself well- jumping back and forth in time, vaguely alluding to events and skipping large chunks of time. After 150 pages, I gave up and read the last chapter. I still can’t tell you exactly if Isabel was killed, disappeared or simply never existed- but I don’t care. T ...more
I am mostly likely going to fail to do this novel justice, but I also feel that I need to write about it now, rather than in a few days time when it will be driven out of my mind by the myriad distractions life currently presents me with.

This novel was almost meditative, aching with its drawn out story of seeking answers to the mystery of "What happened to Ingrid?" (the tagline on the front cover, although I must say my initial reaction to that was: why do I care?). I rather like novels about no
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
I won the opportunity to read this book in a goodreads book giveaway! Yay!

Well, because I won this book, I felt the need to stay with it to the end, but it was tough. It took more than half the book to get to the real story about Ingrid's death or disappearance, whichever it was. Then, Julia's investigation was half-hearted at best. I never felt a connection to the characters, nor did I get a sense of their connection to each other. For me, the story just dragged on and on to a disappointing en
Nov 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
Do yourself a favor and read Henry James' Portrait of a Lady (the author's source idea) rather than this book.
This book is also quite similar to the movie Sleeping With the Enemy.
I found the aunt's house to be the most interesting character in this book.
The cover is boring and uninspired.
Skip the discussion questions at the end of the book- everything is already spelled out in the book itself. I do not agree with the author's choice regarding her need to change Henry James' ending.

Amy Brown
Mar 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I stayed up too late semi-finishing this book,,,,I should have know when I was a few chapters in to put it aside! It had an interesting premise-3 old friends, one missing after 9/11, and the one goes to NYC to search for clues about her life since they had lost touch. But the writing was a bit confusing, sometimes I had to reread to see when something was happening or even what was happening. I never really connected with the characters, either. I ended up skimming the end to see what happened, ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I have a serious problem with this book - why is the grammar/writing so weird?
Is it just me or does the normal law of a sentence which has a subject followed by the verb and ends with the object been turned around all the time in this book?
It doesn't read like Australian English and it certainly doesn't feel like idiomatic American English either.
The writer has a rather irritating habit of mixing first person/third person view within the same paragraph, which makes it really hard to figure out
Chiara Curtis
May 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
TERRIBLE!!! Finished it only because it was for my Bookclub and I am stubborn, but it was pshhhhhhhh!!! Been trying to sell mu copy so it doesn't stay on my bookshelf mocking me!! Do not waste your time, a much better read is to google the author's parents... A few connections in the literary world might explain why this book was ever published!! ...more
Sue Gray
Mar 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't know how this novel got so many rave reviews - I found it very long winded and couldn't engage with any of the characters at all - I put it down after a hundred pages as I really didn't care what happened. I don't like bagging Australian authors but it was just boring. ...more
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an introspective look at relationships and how friendships can be ruined when sex is involved. Not a huge story but a very intense one. It turns into a mystery and I won't spoil it by telling you the result.
I really enjoyed it.
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and was sorry to come to the end. I found it a well-crafted story and wonder whether there might be a sequel on the way...?
CJ Johnson
May 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful novel. I didnt realise its relevancy to September 11 until the last few pages. Loved it
I have to say I didn't enjoy this book. I didn't care about the characters or what happened to them. I can not recommend this book. ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Vacation-type book. Wasn't particularly gripping. I'm tired of the pale sickly homosexual character that women can't resist. Do they want to have sex with him or provide nursing care?!?!? ...more
S.J. Hartland
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
THE LEGACY stayed with me long after I read it; fragments of the story, images of how I imagined characters to be, particular scenes. It stuck in my mind and for good reason: It was a
sophisticated read on many levels.
In her debut novel, Kirsten Tranter blends a mystery of what happened to a young student, Ingrid, who disappeared on September 11, with the internal conflict, life and loves of Julia through who’s eyes we see Ingrid.
Julia’s investigation into Ingrid’s disappearance after her marriag
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5? It was so good, but the ending felt a little disappointing. Maybe I just need to let it simmer for a bit. I DO know the fact that this book has a 2.95 average rating while stuff like the Guernsey potato book are sitting at 4.17 means that many people have different opinions on books than I do.
Debbie L.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought about this story for weeks afterwards. To me, that is a sign of a good book! It was a complex storyline, so it wasn't a light read, but I appreciated that quality of The Legacy. ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Between NY and Sydney
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
This book was a bundle of conflicts.

The first 180 pages were pretty good reading and I was preparing for a three star book. I liked Ingrid the most, her free spirit and delicate nature ensuring she was entertaining at all times. I didn't care for Julia, who seemed a closet goth, always slightly depressed and angst-ridden for no good reason. I particularly didn't like Ralph; there's just something so sad and pathetic about a man mooning after a girl who doesn't even know he exists.

Part two of t
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Kirsten grew up in Sydney and studied English and Fine Arts at the University of Sydney. She lived in New York between 1998 and 2006, where she completed a PhD in English on Renaissance poetry at Rutgers University. She now lives in Sydney with her husband and son.

Kirsten’s first novel, The Legacy, was published to international critical acclaim in 2010. The Legacy was shortlisted for the ABIA Lit

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