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Inheritance [Paperback]

Nicholas Shakespeare
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

7 July 2011

What would you do if you suddenly and unexpectedly inherited £17million?

This is what happens to Andy Larkham, recently jilted lover, and resentfully underpaid publishing minion. Arriving late to the funeral of his favourite schoolteacher, he ends up in the wrong chapel with one other mourner, too embarrassed to leave. Pressured to sign the register, little does he realise what effect that signature will have upon his life.

The extraordinary story that follows tells of one man's failed love, the temptations of unanticipated wealth, the secrets of damaged families and the price of being true to oneself. It is a romance for our times.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099540460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099540465
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"One of our best and truest novelists" (The Times)

"Enviably good" (Louis de Bernières Sunday Times)

"Thoughtful and beautifully observed... Never predictable, this novel combines a remarkable narrative force with the lightest of touches. A book to savour and pass on" (The Economist)

"Utterly absorbing and enjoyable...a romance which moves with assurance from wild improbability to a reconciliation with things as they may truly be" (Scotsman)

"Completely riveting and very funny indeed. Shakespeare at his empathetic best, as he mines the fragile seam of our desire to be loved for who we are" (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

What would you do if you suddenly inherited £17 million?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From self-help to help yourself 28 Jun 2010
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Ranging from early twentieth century Turkey, to Australia, to modern-day London, this is a romantic and tragic story of betrayal and missed opportunities. How far would you stretch your morals for the chance to inherit £17 million?

Andy Larkham's life and career are going nowhere. He works for a small publishing house, Carpe Diem, that specialises in publishing self-help books, his fiancée is about to dump him and he has no money and mountains of debt. And that's before we begin to talk about his dysfunctional family. His only real role model was the Montaigne-loving teacher, Stuart Furnivall, whose funeral he is late for. But an unexpected inheritance of £17 million has a habit of changing one's outlook on life. But while he trades self-help for help yourself, Andy also realises that he has inherited a mystery.

The first half of the book is an often amusing story of one of life's losers struggling to cope with strange twists in his life. I was reminded very much of Nick Hornby or Jonathan Coe in style, but the book changes tack half way through as we explore the back story of his mystery benefactor. And while I throughly enjoyed both parts of the book, I couldn't help but feel that the two stories didn't quite fit together as smoothly as they could have done. I'd grown quite attached to Andy in the first half, but for the vast majority of the second half, he is merely an observer to a story of globe-spanning intrigue that takes in early twentieth century Turkey and Australia. I don't want to reveal too much about this part of the book though lest it affects your enjoyment of the first half.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another superb novel from Nicholas Shakespeare 10 Nov 2010
By Tiffany
Nicholas Shakespeare's novel is a rare treat. The narrative is beautifully written and explores diverse themes such as betrayal, loss and control. There is tragedy in these themes but there is also a thread of hope that runs parallel with the desperation and ultimately you feel there is hope for some of the characters. The book starts with a comical situation at the funeral which has huge consequences for the main character Andy Larkham. The story moves geographically through Australia, England and Armenia as well as moving chronologically, weaving important historical events with very personal detail.
I found this book incredibly easy to read but it left me with so much to think about. The novel is dotted with intriguing metaphors which gave the book texture. As with many of Shakespeare's books it left me looking forward to his next piece of writing!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The meaning of an inheritance 17 July 2010
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
What would you do if you unexpectedly, randomly inherited a massive amount of money? That's what happens to Andy Larkham, a struggling publisher in a dead-end job, laden with debts and a fiancée who's ready to move on.

After toying with - and dismissing - the idea of donating it to charity, Andy spends up large. He buys a wonderful apartment and an expensive car, splurges on his (somewhat resentful) family and friends, travels the world, finds a new girlfriend. But gradually he realises that he's inherited more than just money. He's inherited the responsibility to understand the man who left him the inheritance, to "understand why it's [him] and not anyone else who's ended up with his money". Consequently a large part of the book is a story within the story, although the two connect in a very satisfying way.

Nicholas Shakespeare has a precise, almost pedantic writing style. Initially it's somewhat irritating to read, but then you get used to it. The story moves from 1950s Turkey though 1960s Australia to modern day London. It's a highly absorbing read with terrific characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich tale full of moral issues 28 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This enthralling and original book is about many things. Love and betrayal. The effects of divorce and custody battles. How to deal with an enormous financial windfall? Always wanting to be someone else vs. being someone different from what others believe. Unlikely personal histories meet through a chance event, and chance plays as a big a role in this tale as planning and determination to meet set objectives. Too abstract?
The main protagonists are a benefactor and a beneficiary. The first half of the novel sketches the life of underpaid, debt-laden Andy Larkham(AL), junior editor in a small company specialized in self-help books whose girl friend, a successful model gives up on him. When a beloved former teacher dies AL arrives late at his final service. He is the only other attendant apart from an older woman and a man who asks him to sign the condolence register afterwards. A girl who arrived even later is not asked to sign. At the end of the service it becomes evident to AL that he chose the wrong venue. He attended the service of a complete stranger. He signs anyway.
AL soon learns he is the beneficiary of GBP 17m, resigns his job, buys a luxury flat, car, etc. and embarks on a spending spree at home and abroad. But after less than 2 years of this AL is bored and begins his quest to learn more about his benefactor...
This is the subject of the second part of the book, which NS could easily have turned into a strong stand-alone novel. AL's benefactor is not at all who or what the few Londoners who know him, believe he is. Relevant tags for him are the year 1915 in Eastern Turkey, his birth in Aleppo, Syria, his coming of age in Perth and Sydney, Australia, retiring to London as a rich man.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good book by Nicholas Shakespeare
A well written novel which gave me great pleasure
The unlikely plot did not prevent this being a thoroughly enjoyable read
Published 3 months ago by david w morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars Inheritance by Nicholas Shakespeare
I enjoyed this book. Although rather slow in places, it is very well written and once the pace picks up I really could not put it down.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. V. J. Low
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and well written
I enjoyed this book and the writer's style, which sweeps you along without urgency. Many people dream of inheriting a fortune from a stranger and I loved the simplicity of the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Beverley
3.0 out of 5 stars A story within a story
A good read but waiting for something to happen and then information is gradually revealed about the deceased. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ruby England
3.0 out of 5 stars beautiful writing, weak story
the novel begins brilliantly, with an engrossing premise and vital, attractive characters, but falls down an alice-hole midway into a ponderous re-telling of a meandering, boring... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Zangiku
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what it seems
It starts of well and amusingly but nearly half way through the book it changes tack and loses what it started out as being.
Published 7 months ago by Francis
4.0 out of 5 stars A good yarn
There's an element of mystery, an interesting bit of history, and in the end I just got hooked. NS is good at developing a sympathetic character and there is always stuff to learn... Read more
Published 8 months ago by K M Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Different
really enjoyed this book, well written and different. would recommend to all, enjoyable story line, and interesting quotations. a good read!
Published 9 months ago by susan barlow
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninspiring
I found this book very hard to get to. I didn't connect to the main character and found him to be unlikeable. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sarah Jane
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story
Unusual story about a chap who quite randomly inherits a fortune. Quite contrived but very clever and quite sad in places.
Published 14 months ago by Mrs Jane E Thwaites
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