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The Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce Paperback – 1 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753823152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753823156
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Torday was born in 1946 and read English Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. He spent the next 30 years working in engineering and in industry, after which he scaled back his business responsibilities to fulfil a long-harboured ambition - to write.

He burst on to the literary scene in 2006 with his first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, an immediate bestseller that has been sold in 19 countries.

He is married with two sons by a previous marriage and has two stepsons and lives close to the River North Tyne.

Product Description

Review

"Wilberforce...is good fictional company and the narrative voice Torday gives him...provides an astringently comic note" SUNDAY TIMES "This compulsive study of addiction proves Torday's mastery of the dark, as well as the light, realms of fiction" TIMES "a human story of real poignancy" SUNDAY TELEGRAPH "Torday, as he demonstrated in his debut novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, is an extravagantly gifted writer" MAIL ON SUNDAY "it becomes darker and more poignant with each eagerly turned page" BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH "Unusual and intriguing, this 'Novel in Four Vintages' is a story of passion and addiction, identity and the desire to belong" GOOD BOOK GUIDE

Book Description

The new paperback from the bestselling author of the Richard & Judy selected SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By William on 24 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now here's a good example of why it's not a good idea to judge a book by its cover. Its design echoes that of Torday's wonderfully funny and original debut Salmon Fishing In The Yemen; so much so that, had you not read the reviews, you could be forgiven for buying The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce assuming that you had your hands on another hilarious and rather touching novel. Well, this isn't very touching and it's certainly not funny.
In fact, it's a relatively dark read about the nature and destructive impact of loneliness. It's also, in rather a big way, about an almost sexual obsession with wine. The two themes are knitted together around a plot which is deftly turned inside out and re-ordered.
Torday is quite some writer: stylish and terribly readable. He has produced two such startlingly different novels that you wonder what's coming next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Kensey on 17 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book, in my opinion, has a great cover, an intriguing title, and an amusing first page. I was really looking forward to reading it. However, my enthusiasm, sadly, disappeared by about a third of a way through the book.
Without reiterating the story, as I would imagine that if people have got as far reading this review, they will already know it, the plot details the life of an alcoholic and the building of his relationships. The story is told in reverse. I'm not sure whether there was a specific reason for narrating the story this way; I would imagine that there was, and that I am just missing the point. But for me it didn't work. The result was that there wasn't enough depth to any character, other than Wilberforce; in particular, there was no depth to the relationship with his wife. I assume that we were supposed to care what happened to her, and in all honesty I didn't very much! This isn't a reflection on my lack of feeling; rather, it's a reflection of the fact that - for me - this book just didn't delve deep enough into the 'peripheral' characters.
As for Wilberforce, I found that his pondering all became a bit monotonous. Perhaps it would help to be a wine expert to read this (or perhaps an alcoholic?) but I just found that the constant detailed references to wine got a bit too self-important and as a result the book's humour was lost. When I bought this book, I didn't expect laughs; this was always going to be a depressing book, full of pathos and poignant reflection, but from reading the opening lines I did at least expect some wry humour, almost poking fun at the main character. Instead I was left wondering what I was supposed to feel - was I supposed to like Wilberforce and feel sorry for him; or was I supposed to lost patience with him and dislike him?
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By unlikely_heroine VINE VOICE on 2 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
In 2006, Wilberforce is an alcoholic close to killing himself through his prolific wine consumption of four or five bottles a day. Regularly barred from the high-end restaurants he visits in search of the most exclusive and expensive vintages, Wilberforce does not appreciate that he is addicted; he views himself as a wine connoisseur, even when he wakes up in hospital from an alcohol-induced coma. From this engaging beginning, Paul Torday takes the reader back to three previous years of Wilberforce's life, in which we see the journey that transformed him from a young, successful businessman to a walking disaster area.

There are some darkly humorous moments in the novel, but for the most part, this is downbeat stuff. Whilst it is highly readable, a few things in the book don't quite convince; for example, the voice of Wilberforce as a man in his mid- to late thirties - even allowing for his decline and world-weariness, it's difficult to believe in the age Torday has given him. The fact that Wilberforce has a mystery family background and parentage, and that his first name is kept secret for much of the book, are curious asides that do little to add any sense of suspense or intrigue to what is essentially a tale of a messed-up life.

There are other problems. We don't get to know the Catherine character at all (although perhaps this is deliberate; she does not seem to have left an impression on Wilberforce as a truly real person, either).
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mrs P on 18 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
A tragedy, told backwards. One reviewer compained that since we know how Wilberforce ends up from the start, it loses dramatic tension: no it doesn't. The tension comes from not how he ends up, but how he got there. Really excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Holly Gage on 9 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I picked this book up even though I hadn't completely loved Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (which I found interesting but wasn't in a rush to finish it). I read the first few pages of The Irresistible Inheritance and then couldn't put it down.

As another reviewer says: it is a tragedy played backwards. Even though you know how Wilberforce's story ends you don't know quite how he got there until all the pieces fall into place as the book progresses. I think this structure worked very well.

This isn't a perfect novel, there are a lot of unlikeable characters - including our anti-hero However the character and his situation stayed with me for days afterwards.
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