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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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At some point I was thinking it‘s getting a bit like Grey Gardens up in here! What a great read about the Irish gentry on decline & their big boned & not too attractive daughter who to say the least is an unreliable narrator OR does she just not…... I really enjoyed this & was sorry I didn‘t finish in time for the #NYRBBookClub discussion.I‘m going to check out the questions when I‘m not ready for bed !🤔😃😴

vivastory Grey Garden also came to mind for me. This was such a wonderful surprise & I won't be forgetting Aroon nor the discussion soon. 1d
batsy Yes, Aroon is unforgettable! 22h
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Well, the start of this book is promising. It brings back memories of one of my favorite reads by the #NYRBBookclub 🤍

batsy Oh, nice epigraph indeed. I'm already won over 😆 4d
LeahBergen I was surprised at how much I loved that Compton-Burnett novel! 4d
vivastory Great epigraph! It was a favorite of mine. I still think about it 4d
BarbaraBB @LeahBergen @batsy @vivastory We‘ve read some great books. This was one of my favorites too. Maybe we can all come up with our top 5 after we‘ve read our final #NYRBBookclub book? 3d
LeahBergen @BarbaraBB I‘ve been thinking of a list of my favourites, too. 😊 3d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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A little late, finishing up this #nyrbbookclub selection, but what a stunner! My first experience with Keene, but definitely not the last. So much to ruminate on. Of to peek at today's discussion of it!

batsy I feel the same! It makes me want to seek out her other books. 5d
LeahBergen I loved it and can‘t wait to try more of her stuff. 5d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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vivastory I found it to be more of a dark comedy but not one that I laughed at very often, although there were moments. Genre distinctions can shape my expectations of a novel. I don't mind satire, so if it had been more along those lines it wouldn't have bothered me. 6d
Vansa I don't care too much for genre distinctions,unless something that's fictional is presented as nonfiction!This book was a dark comedy,though as @vivastory has said,it's comedy that you flinch at rather than laugh out loud,as with Wodehouse or Nancy Mitford. 6d
vivastory @Vansa The Nancy Mitford comparison is a good one. Now that I think about it there is some common ground with Hons & Rebels. 6d
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LeahBergen Hmm… it definitely feels more dark comedy than satire to me in that way of something being so horrible that it‘s amusing, if that makes sense. The tone is set with that abrupt and shocking death in chapter one. 😆 Something about this novel reminds me of O Caledonia. Have you read it? @batsy @vivastory 6d
vivastory @LeahBergen Oh, I'm looking forward to reading that one! There is a new edition being released this September. I have it on pre-order. 6d
Vansa @LeahBergen sounds interesting, is it magical realism though? 6d
LeahBergen @Vansa No, I wouldn‘t consider it magical realism (and I‘m not really a fan of that, in general). It‘s quirky and a bit gothic-ey and very hard to describe. 6d
vivastory @Vansa @leahbergen I don't know if this is accurate but the comparison on the pub. site is for Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle 6d
LeahBergen @vivastory Yes, it definitely has a Jackson vibe (but with more humour). 6d
GatheringBooks It is interesting because I never thought of it as satire or dark comedy; I just found it incredibly sad. The emotional stunting of Aroon, the sexual dalliances of the Major, the coldness of Mummie, the inability of Richard and Hubert to openly declare their love and affection towards each other, Rose‘s unwavering loyalty, and the overall obliviousness to finances of a dying aristocracy is super illuminating & so detached from real-world-problems 6d
Billypar After Chapter 1, I thought I was reading a dark comedy because of the absurdity of Mummie dropping dead from eating rabbit after all Aroon's efforts to defend her meal selection to Rose. But the rest of the novel seemed more satirical in how it portrayed the standards of "good behaviour." It wasn't a novel where I thought about genre too much - I was pretty immersed in the sadder aspects that @GatheringBooks describes, even with the sharp humor. 5d
batsy @Vansa That's a great comparison to Nancy Mitford. It had that same level of sharpness & dark humour, but with a lot more depth or underlying pathos. 5d
batsy @LeahBergen It's long been on my list, Leah! I remember I think you and Sara and Shawn as well as others doing a buddy read and since then I've wanted to read it. Sounds right up my street 😁 5d
batsy @Billypar I agree, that first chapter made me think I was getting a certain kind of book, and maybe with a dash of Angela Carter absurdism and whimsy. But as @GatheringBooks points out, it proved to be a different kind of book. It had so much within it, but all of it roiling under the surface. 5d
merelybookish I tend to dislike satire, so I would lean towards dark comedy. But like @GatheringBooks I'm not sure either is quite accurate. And having just read O Caledonia recently, I like @LeahBergen 's comparison. Both books have suffering heroines trying to survive in a crumbling world for which they are unsuited. 4d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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LeahBergen I loved her prose and can‘t get the image of her swinging “jelly bags” out of my head. 🤣🤣 6d
vivastory @LeahBergen 😂 😂 Her prose style was great. I thought it was effective in how descriptive with sights, sounds, smells but also simple in a way. It made it really stand out. If that make sense. I loved this the scene at the end of chap. 5, “Liqueur and coffee creams, powdered truffles, crystallized rose leaves, crystallized violets, and a fresh mirror-smooth gleam on the row upon row and layer after layer that filled the big box... 6d
vivastory @LeahBergen ...each chocolate as beautiful as a chocolate could be.“ I'm hard-pressed to recall a better description of a box of chocolates, at least one that I've read recently. 6d
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LeahBergen Yes, yes! That was stunning, wasn‘t it? 6d
vivastory @LeahBergen Incredible. The food descriptions in here were really good & that was an interesting aspect of the novel, the reoccurring role of food in the family. 6d
GatheringBooks Love @vivastory‘s chocolate example & @batsy‘s quotes. There were indeed certain parts that made me sit up and take notice, but I confess to zipping through it towards the end to make it in time for today‘s discussion. I do recall the way Aroon would disparagingly describe herself as a huge statue, even as she only ever wanted to feel minuscule and dainty and fully enclosed in another‘s arms; the seamstress‘ description of Aroon comes to mind. 6d
vivastory @GatheringBooks The statue descriptions were memorable for me as well 5d
Billypar Agreed: there are memorable descriptions on every page, and there are always seemed to be a reason why something was poetically described. For example, Aroon's description of cattle at night--"their great pale bodies bruising the grass to darkness"-- seems to echo her insecurities about her own large and incongruous physical presence. 5d
sarahbarnes Yes! I love all of these snippets. One of the scenes that I think Keane nailed with her description was Aroon‘s thoughts at the party she went to toward the end of the book. The awkwardness of her there in that social situation came through so well in those pages, I was uncomfortable reading it. 5d
batsy @vivastory That description was incredible. Her prose is like a jewel box of delights. 5d
batsy @GatheringBooks That was a very vivid description. It made Aroon‘s yearning to be small enough to be taken into another's arms like the girls around her so evocative. 5d
batsy @sarahbarnes Yes! I felt the immediacy of her discomfort at that party. "I stood about smiling, compressed, submerged in politeness; aching in my isolation; longing to be alone; to be away; to be tomorrow's person..." That "to be tomorrow's person" really nails that feeling of enduring something and waiting for it to be over. 5d
batsy @Billypar Yes, that comparison was so elegantly done without drawing attention to itself. I was taken with how the Crowhurst girls' living circumstances were described after the fathers death when Aroon & her mum visited: "Then the room was bright & dignified. It had a gleam in its eye. Today a sticky dust of cold wood-ash hovered on the tables... The dogs, on that previous day neat & sweet & dangerous, now steamed & smelt in a tousled basket." 5d
Billypar That's another great one! I love the description of the past version of the room having a gleam in its eye and then going on to compare the dogs before and after ('streamed and smelt' 😆). 5d
batsy @Billypar Right? Love that when the dogs are at their best they're "neat and sweet and dangerous" ? 5d
merelybookish Yes to all of this! I listened to it on audio and it was a joy. The scenes with the dressmaker (you'll look like a garden arbour dear...) Also, the descriptions of the mother's terrible paintings. So many wonderful details! 4d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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Vansa The British stiff upper lip is an attitude we all know about,and its usually laughed at and satirised- Nancy Mitford does that excellently,as does Evelyn Waugh.It wasn't just the Anglo-Irish,it was common throughout all Empire sorts.One can trace it all the way back to the veneration of the Stoics.It served people during the Blitz,and the wars, however it wasn't ideal or natural,and it clearly causes a lack of empathy from so much suppression 6d
Vansa In Sad Little Men,Richard Beard analyses this excellently-it turns people into great manipulators, if they can deal with it, but not everyone can.Aroon just about manages, though! 6d
LeahBergen Well said, @Vansa ! And yes, that “good behaviour” is such a relic of Victorian/Edwardian manners, isn‘t it? 6d
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GatheringBooks I feel sad about their need to repress everything that is genuine and real about who they are as human beings - for the sake of propriety. The constant need for society‘s approval and one‘s self-censorship and hypervigilance about one‘s own or other‘s judgment can be paralyzing - it immobilizes one‘s sense of being, effectively caging the soul. 6d
Billypar I think a quietly tragic theme of the novel is how thoroughly Aroon learns to suppress her feelings. In hearing about her youth, we come to understand the reasons for Aroon's reaction to Mummie's death: "I had time to consider how the punctual observance of the usual importances is the only way to behave at such times as these. And I do know how to behave – believe me, because I know." But her next sentence "I have always known" isn't really true. 5d
batsy @Vansa Nicely put! And thank you for that Richard Beard rec; adding the book to the list. 5d
batsy @GatheringBooks It's so frustrating, isn't it? I just wanted to shake them and say, "Weep at the funeral if you want! It might make you less monstrous to each other!" But it's also terribly sad & pretty scary. A whole worldview internalised & maintained by social codes that serve no purpose other than ensuring that no one is made uncomfortable by someone else's feelings & thoughts. 5d
Liz_M I don't really have a problem with the stuff your lip mentality in public, but to persist when just amongst family seems cruel. 5d
batsy @Liz_M This book felt like a study in cruelty. Precisely for that reason it felt like any notable acts of kindness came from people who worked for them like governesses and domestic help. 5d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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vivastory In one section of the book Aroon describes Mummie as cold, & she doesn't mean physically. I think the descriptions reflected her character well. I kept picturing a cross between Edward Gorey & the documentary Grey Gardens. 6d
batsy @vivastory That's a great visual reference point about Gorey. I haven't watched Grey Gardens but the poster definitely conjures a certain cold Mummie vibe! 6d
vivastory @batsy I watched it many years ago & it always stuck with me. A documentary about fading aristocracy immediately came to mid while reading Keane's book lol. I see that someone uploaded the Criterion Collection full version to YouTube:
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batsy @vivastory Oh, that's fantastic! Thank you for the link. I should watch it soon in case it suddenly disappears 😬 6d
Vansa She's a self absorbed narcissist,and persists in the delusion of the superiority of the aristocracy.Her version of good behaviour neglects basic humanity-as most people in positions of power do!She probably didn't really want children,but that would not have been an option for her.Knowing that Keane's own mother was very similar is chilling. 6d
Vansa The aunts in Wodehouse novels are portrayed as comic relief, but in reality, this is probably what they would have been like.And as their actual prestige and wealth declined,holding on to their attitudes would become even more important. 6d
vivastory @Vansa I found it interesting how autobiographical the novel was while reading reviews. I think my favorite snippet was her editor begging Keane to include one “nice“ character & Keane refused to do so. 6d
vivastory @Vansa I keep meaning to read Wodehouse's novels. I've read, & greatly enjoyed, a few of his stories. 6d
Vansa @vivastory it's incredible that she wrote the way she did,without once romanticising a declining aristocracy,and presented them in ruthlessly realistic way, pretensions, lies and all! 6d
Vansa @vivastory if you enjoyed the stories, you'll enjoy the books!I would recommend Aunts aren't gentlemen! 6d
vivastory @Vansa Thanks for the rec. Adding to my TBR! 6d
LeahBergen @vivastory I hadn‘t read that snippet and LOVE IT. 😆 I actually had to sit here for a sec and try to think of any characters that were “nice”. Nope. None. 6d
vivastory @LeahBergen The closest I can think of is Rose. 😬 😂 6d
LeahBergen @vivastory That‘s true! 🤣 6d
GatheringBooks I had no idea that the story drew parallels from Keane‘s own life, thank you @Vansa for sharing that and @vivastory for the link above. The Gorey image of aristocratic women in their finery who aren‘t all too smart but remain haughty for whatever entitled reason does come to mind when thinking of Mummie. I think she is as oblivious as Aroon when it comes to finances, like it is distasteful for her to even bother herself with it in the first place 6d
vivastory @GatheringBooks Mummie shoving the bills into the drawer was such a simple yet memorable characteristic. 5d
Billypar One interesting dynamic about Mummie's character was how Aroon portrays her as anxious to have Papa to herself during mealtimes. On the one hand, this could be Aroon projecting her own desires for Papa's affections, since there is otherwise no trace of warmth in Mummie's actions towards him. On the other hand, her campaign for economy really accelerates after Papa's stroke when meals no longer held the same promise for intimacy between them. 5d
sarahbarnes @Vansa it is really chilling to know that Keane‘s mother was similar to Mummie, because I came close to despising her character in the book. I was sympathetic to Aroon in their relationship and hated her for what seemed like sabotaging Aroon‘s life in many ways because she was ashamed of her. 5d
batsy @Vansa I was pretty devastated to learn that Mummie was likely modelled on Keane's own mother. I know this was published when Keane was in her late 70s I think, but there is that anecdote that it sat languishing in her drawer until Peggy Ashcroft read it. It just makes me think she had to be older & a lot more mature before she could produce a book like this—it obviously drew so much from her life, but was wholly unsentimental, never maudlin. 5d
batsy @vivastory @LeahBergen Yeah, true! Or Rose was the most human, in a sense. The rest of them were very menacing puppets pantomiming horrific "good behaviour" ?? 5d
batsy @vivastory @GatheringBooks The shoving bills into a drawer and pretending they don't exist bit sent my anxiety into overdrive 😅 5d
batsy @sarahbarnes I felt the same! It's what made me extremely sad for/protective of Aroon despite also fearing her, in her own way. Lol. And I really marvel at Keane being able to produce such art as a result of what must have been a miserable childhood for the most part. 5d
batsy @Billypar There was that scene at the beginning I think when Aroon describes their palpable intimacy & how wrapped up they were in each other. It made the mother more complex, in a way, & I'm still trying to understand her. Perhaps she loved her husband more than the idea of being a mother, & once she knew he was not going to be wholly devoted to her, she retreated into her art & her cold studio. "Economy" was how she could punish everyone. 5d
Billypar Yeah, that was the scene that stuck in my mind. She didn't seem to take any joy from mothering, so in a weird way, she, Aroon, and Hubert were all in competition for Papa's attention. And that's a good thought about her newfound stinginess being a way of channeling her anger about the loss of the one person she looked forward to spending time with. 5d
merelybookish Oh Mummie. Very, very cruel but what a vivid character. Each of her gestures as captured so well. The way she's pinch the verbena while sitting with the Colonel or give the solicitor the tips of her fingertips to shake. Such absolute condensation. And when she spent all the money buying a piece of furniture. 4d
batsy @merelybookish Such a fantastic and horrible character, wasn't she? That furniture moment was brutal. And despite not liking her I still felt sorry for her—despite all that stringent good taste, her death in the end was almost pathetically comedic. 3d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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vivastory I think she had a lasting impact on Aroon. Mrs. Brock's lack of “good behaviour“ as it were was echoed years later by Aroon's own lack of decorum when she became drunk at the train station. I have to say that I love the line “She is as dangerous as a novel“ 6d
batsy @vivastory That's a great line, it jumped out at me too. I think Wills is really smart in her review. And her insight into Mrs Brock "cultivating feelings in others" reminded me a little of Nelly Dean in Wuthering Heights. 6d
vivastory @batsy That's a good comparison. I can't help but wonder how different things would have turned out for the family if Mrs. Brock hadn't died when she did. There was that interesting scene with Aroon, Hubert & Richard when they were younger & Mrs. Brock is first brought up among them. She is discussed ambiguously, like they were afraid to tell one another that they cared for her & so were flippant/dismissive about her. 6d
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batsy @vivastory Yes! It might be simplistic but I feel that these were three unmothered people who saw in Mrs Brock something of what a nurturing maternal figure could be, but being upper class they also learned how to hide feelings with disdain? There's a great line when Aroon says, "Everything I remembered was a denial and a betrayal of the other things she was. But between us we almost called her into being." 6d
vivastory @batsy I think that's it exactly. So well said. And that line! Good Behaviour was filled with psychologically acute gems like that. While reading reviews I'd come across similar lines. It really is a marvel of a book. 6d
Vansa Mrs.Brock is a great character,and so real it's painful to read of her.She shows them an alternate of what motherhood,and womanhood can be,but also the dangers of actually letting yourself feel.And in a world where women continue to be preyed on by men in positions of power,it's a devastating fate she faces 6d
vivastory @Vansa I found it interesting how on the one hand she feels like a minor character, but she is a major character in the way that she impacted their lives. 6d
LeahBergen @vivastory She was such a major character. She was so vivid and fleshed out and interesting that I found myself disappointed when she died. I wanted more of her! 6d
GatheringBooks I agree with @batsy that they were unloved children and only experienced true affection and compassion from Mrs Brock who awakened real feelings within them. I am reminded of Richard just sobbing uncontrollably as a child and Mrs Brock encouraging Aroon and Hubert when they were first learning how to ride their horses. She was such a warm, kind, generous-hearted, albeit deluded human being. The flippancy of Aroon et al served to put Mrs Brock ⬇️ 6d
GatheringBooks (Cont) back in her place - because after all, appearances are paramount, not to mention the social hierarchy that puts these three emotionally impoverished young adults back to their supposedly elevated standing in the grand scheme of things. I think she showed them a life they could have, but one that is forever out of reach for them, and thus should be rejected at all costs. One makes a mockery of that which one could never have. 6d
vivastory @GatheringBooks Very well said. It really is all about appearances in the society that Keane is writing of. 6d
Billypar Great thoughts - I agree with everyone's perspectives on Mrs. Brock. That scene with her in Lady Grizel's bedroom is so cringey! I had the same reaction as I do with Michael Scott in The Office. But she also has some of the most emotionally heartfelt scenes in her care of the children when everyone else is so frosty. 5d
sarahbarnes Great question and insights here! @Billypar I loved your comparison of reading the scene with Lady Griezel to watching Michael Scott - it‘s so true! I had the same feeling. 5d
batsy @Vansa I agree. She showed them I think what it means to *live*, but being in service to the aristocratic class, it also came at a high cost. @LeahBergen I agree, I really wanted more of her! 5d
batsy @GatheringBooks Extremely well put! Yes to how mocking what they can't have (and knowing that they're somehow spiritually impoverished because of it, but not knowing how to fix it) is a coping mechanism. 5d
batsy @Billypar Oh yes! Lol that's so true about feeling like watching Michael Scott; the second-hand cringe was strong. 5d
Liz_M @GatheringBooks very well said 5d
merelybookish Wow, that's some great analysis by Wills! Her spirit hangs over the whole book! I found the scene quite poweful where R, H & A pool together their memories and surmises about her and try to reconstruct a sense of her. 4d
batsy @merelybookish Wills' entire piece is great! So much thought and expressed with clarity. I thought that scene where they bring Mrs Brock to life really intriguing, too. It's almost a process of creation that's somewhat close to writing a character into being. 3d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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vivastory My theory is that initially Aroon's lack of awareness is igenuine but that she eventually uses it to “kill with kindness“ as some reviews have stated. I think that there are certain aspects that she continues to delude herself about until the end, such as how Richard feels, but in general I think that she is more aware than she lets on & I tend to agree with Wills in this respect. (edited) 6d
Leftcoastzen I‘m going to be late to the party 🎉 I‘m not finished, but enjoying it so far. 6d
batsy @Leftcoastzen That's great that you're liking it! And yes, please do join in later once you're done; I'd love to hear your thoughts. 6d
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vivastory @Leftcoastzen I'm glad that you are enjoying it. It was a great surprise for me. 6d
Vansa Oh,Aroon most definitely knows what's going on. She doesn't want to acknowledge it, because the truth would be devastating- her love interest can't be bothered, her beloved father is quite hypocritical in his constraints over the family while being completely licentious himself,her mother is completely indifferent.Its what makes it so devastating-the lies you tell yourself 6d
Vansa If she were completely oblivious,the tone would be a lot easier to bear 6d
vivastory @Vansa I agree. I think that she knows more than she lets on. I do think that the ending doesn't have the same punch without her knowing what she is doing. 6d
arubabookwoman I will say that in the opening section when Aroon feeds her mother rabbit she definitely knew what she was doing, and I began the book disliking Aroon. 6d
arubabookwoman I have an hour and a bit to go (acc0rding to Kindle), but I'm experiencing lots of life interruptions today and may not be able to comment until tonight or tomorrow. 6d
vivastory @arubabookwoman Please comment when you can. I always enjoy your insights! Hope you are well. 6d
LeahBergen @vivastory I‘m of the same opinion. I think she starts out utterly naive but then ends up practicing self-delusion as a means of coping. 6d
GatheringBooks Wills vs Mantel. Both interesting takes on Aroon. Part of me (my clinician‘s hat) wants to introduce a third perspective: what if she has a psychological issue that contributes to her obliviousness and determined-naivete; I am thinking Asperger‘s or some form of retardation that has prevented her from truly maturing as an adult; or stunted her ability to distinguish reality from wishful thinking - coupled with her ignorance/lack of education. 6d
Billypar I think I'm with Mantel on this: she struck me as entirely oblivious, even as an older woman looking back on events. She's so focused on being accepted by others that I think the prospect of being excluded or rejected is more palpable than curiosity about Richard and her brother. That's what focuses on in the scene where she hears them giggling after leaving the bedroom. She interprets it as them rejecting her, and is sad rather than surprised. 5d
sarahbarnes I‘m going to go with Wills on this - I think she knows what is going on and employs self-delusion as @LeahBergen said. I think the title of the book is a nod to that, too - she chooses to maintain the appearance of “good behavior” over anything else. I really liked this one @batsy ! 5d
batsy @arubabookwoman No worries, I hope you are able to comment after finishing! I'm keen to hear your thoughts :) 5d
batsy @GatheringBooks I was wondering if Aroon was suffering from some form of psychological duress that interfered with her emotional development, but then I think about very early in the book when she's recounting her childhood. She says, "Even then I knew how to ignore things. I knew how to behave." So it does suggest self-awareness, hence I'm with Wills. 5d
batsy @Billypar That scene was so craftily executed by Keane, wasn't it? I was wondering how much Aroon knew and didn't want to allow herself to acknowledge. But you make a good point about how wrapped up she was in her own insecurities, that when she hears them laugh (out of relief) she connects that to feeling left out from their camaraderie. 5d
batsy @sarahbarnes I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, it definitely feels like a book about how good behaviour turns out to be the most dangerous form of delusion. 5d
GatheringBooks @batsy that is so true. Her self-awareness, though, is more like self-absorption - like a child who has not gone past the egocentric stage (i suppose most adults have not gone past that, to be fair). Perhaps it‘s the largely disingenuous tone in the narrative that strikes me as psychologically odd given her supposed age. 💕 5d
GatheringBooks @batsy you are absolutely right. However, her self-awareness seems more like self-absorption, preventing her from seeing past her insecurities as @Billypar noted and her acute sense of self-consciousness. It‘s like she was stuck in the egocentric stage in the developmental stage (to be fair, a lot of adults are stuck in that), but perhaps it‘s the largely disingenuous tone that she uses that suggests to me it may be more than just cluelessness 5d
batsy @GatheringBooks That's true; Aroon seems straightforward but she might be the hardest character to read in a sense. I was curious to hear what everyone thought about this so-called naivete that she projects; it feels like each reader will read her just a bit differently 🙂 I think of it as a compliment to Keane; that's exactly how people can be in life. 5d
Liz_M In the opening chapter, Aroon seems almost gleeful, drunk with power. I think she is very aware that she is getting revenge, subjugating her mother in the way she imagines her mother would have ruled over her if the roles were reversed. But I also think she is ignorant of some things and deeply represses others. I truly believe she is ignorant of sexual matters, both Rose's "foot" massages and what is taking place between her brother and Richard. 5d
Liz_M So, while I believe she is a very good reader of people (she knows her mother doesn't like Rose's relationship with her father) and consciously manipulates people, Aroon doesn't fully understand the circumstances or the potential consequences. 5d
DrexEdit I think maybe it's both? Sort of what @Liz_M is saying. She knows her own world quite well, in a childlike way. She hasn't had anyone to show her larger parts of the world or explain how people work so I think there are just some things she's not aware of. For example, she can get money by selling her horse, but she has no idea how to run an estate. She just wants to buy food for herself without a larger sense of responsibility. 5d
batsy @Liz_M That's very well put! I think you're on to it in terms of how much she knows or what she knows about wrt certain topics, but when it comes to something like her mother she's fully aware. Gleeful and drunk with power is an apt description. 5d
batsy @DrexEdit That's quite true to an extent. And she's also programmed herself for rejection in a sexual sense, so I think she allows herself vague fantasies (for ex. Richard) but deliberately avoids actually knowing stuff. 5d
merelybookish Was late finishing the book! But enjoyed it. Agree with @sarahnarnes Good behaviour is a form of delusion. It requires avoiding and leaving many things unacknowledged. It feels like some times Aroon is clueless and other times is choosing to be clueless. 4d
batsy @merelybookish So glad to have you join us! I agree that it's a form of delusion. A very convenient one. 3d
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Good Behaviour | Molly Keane
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Nothing gets me more than sharp, bleakly funny novels with a gothic tinge charting the psychological chaos that is an aristocratic family slowly going to (financial & psychic) ruin. What's more if it's narrated by an outsider spinster, unloved & ungainly, with minimal awareness or an almost defiant sense of cultivated ignorance. All this wrapped up in a darkly glittering bow of cool, assured prose that discreetly maps the horror of good behaviour.

batsy I had no idea that I was headed for some prime #spinsterlit with this one! I had a vague idea but the way the novel is structured feels so perfect; it's a shame that I've always had it in mind as a kind of minor novel of a family saga when it's obviously a pretty major achievement. I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on it. #NYRBBookClub @vivastory 1w
Graywacke Great review! 1w
EvieBee Great review and picture! 1w
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BiblioLitten Such a lovely picture🖤❤️ 1w
batsy @BiblioLitten Thank you! 😘 1w
BiblioLitten Oh I just noticed the introduction is by Maggie O‘Farrell 😃 1w
batsy @BiblioLitten I have yet to read her! (It's a good intro; brief but elegant & captures what makes the book good :) 1w
LeahBergen I‘m about 75% done and loving it! 1w
Tamra Can‘t wait! Your review has increased my anticipation. 👏🏾 1w
BooknerdsLife Great review and I love your edition. 👏❤️📚 1w
AvidReader25 Well that sounds amazing! 1w
GatheringBooks Halfway through the novel. Love your take on it. Looking forward to a vibrant discussion, as always. :) 1w
batsy @LeahBergen Yay! It's really quite something, isn't it? 1w
batsy @Tamra Oh, goodie! I hope you like it 🙂 1w
batsy @BooknerdsLife Thank you! I love these Virago editions too ❤️ 1w
batsy @AvidReader25 It's gone under the radar a bit but it really depicts a decaying aristocratic class so well. 1w
batsy @GatheringBooks Thank you! I'm keen to see what others think of it, too! 1w
Cathythoughts Great review Suba 👍🏻♥️ we read this a few years ago for Bookclub, I need to reread. 7d
batsy @Cathythoughts Thanks Cathy 😘 I imagine it's a book that will reward rereading! 7d
vivastory 👏 👏 👏Fantastic review! I couldn't have said it better! This was a real surprise for me as well & I really look forward to the discussion. Lovely picture! 6d
batsy @vivastory Thanks so much, Scott! I look forward to the discussion later! 6d
Suet624 Wow! This sounds fantastic! Great review 😍 6d
batsy @Suet624 Thank you! I'd love to read more of Keane now that I've read this. 5d
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