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Book Discussions (general) > A Legacy, by Sybille Bedford

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message 1: by Trevor (last edited Feb 17, 2015 12:45PM) (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1425 comments Mod
A Legacy

A Legacy

Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Pages: 384
Introduction by Brenda Wineapple.
Originally published in 1956.

A Legacy is the tale of two very different families, the Merzes and the Feldens. The Jewish Merzes are longstanding members of Berlin’s haute bourgeoisie who count a friend of Goethe among their distinguished ancestors. Not that this proud legacy means much of anything to them anymore. Secure in their huge town house, they devote themselves to little more than enjoying their comforts and ensuring their wealth. The Feldens are landed aristocracy, well off but not rich, from Germany’s Catholic south. After Julius von Felden marries Melanie Merz the fortunes of the two families will be strangely, indeed fatally, entwined.

Set during the run-up to World War I, a time of weirdly mingled complacency and angst, A Legacy is captivating, magnificently funny, and profound, an unforgettable image of a doomed way of life.

message 2: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 127 comments Interesting. I bought four Bedford novels that had been issued by Counterpoint and were overstocks at Powell's several years ago. I've read two of them and so far haven't warmed to her style of writing. Love the cover of this, though.

message 3: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1425 comments Mod
Some trusted folks on Twitter expressed excitement for this book, telling me it's great. I'm not familiar with Bedford's work, so I'm looking forward to getting to know it a bit.

message 4: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 127 comments The critics love her. I think it was a critic in the New Yorker who tipped me off to her. On paper, that description of "A Legacy" sounds like it would be right up my alley. Upper class Jews and Catholics, Berlin and southern Germany, pre-WWI...doomed way of life....it sounds so good. But for me there has been an emotional disconnect in her writing. It's distant.

message 5: by Trevor (last edited Jan 28, 2015 11:35AM) (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1425 comments Mod
The other day on Instagram, NYRB Classics posted a picture of The Legacy arriving at their office. The caption suggests more Bedford to come:

And so the NYRB Classics-Sybille Bedford partnership begins!

A photo posted by nyrbooks (@nyrbooks) on Jan 21, 2015 at 11:26am PST

message 6: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1425 comments Mod
This one's out! And people who've read it are enthusiastic, including Lori Feathers who reviewed it today at my site.

message 7: by Guy (new)

Guy | 144 comments Currently reading this and loving it.

message 8: by Matt (last edited Mar 18, 2015 11:52PM) (new)

Matt | 4 comments NYRB has chosen to leave the French dialogue, which there is a good amount of, untranslated. Would it be terribly 'gauche' of me to request something as 'au courant' as an online appendix?

In a book written so elliptically, the feeling that you are missing something can be nagging.


Grade School French

message 9: by Simon (new)

Simon (cornbro) | 5 comments I too reviewed it on my site: one of my favourite reads of 2014. Lori's review on Mookse is good.

message 10: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1425 comments Mod
What is your site, Simon. I think folks should feel free to share links :-) .

message 11: by Simon (new)

Simon (cornbro) | 5 comments Trevor wrote: "What is your site, Simon. I think folks should feel free to share links :-) ."

Thanks for the invite, Trevor. It's http://tredynasdays.co.uk

message 12: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 12 comments I hope you don't mind me jumping in with my link too! I reviewed it on my blog and I loved it:


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