HERITAGE by Anthony West
Kirkus Star


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These are long vendettas,- A peculiar people, neither forgivers nor forgetters.."" and one of them is Richard Savage, the illegitimate son of a famous actress, Maomi, and a prominent writer. Max, beyond the moral conventions of those who are less endowed. But for Dick, this is always an unsettled, unnatural, marginal world as he migrates between his parents; in his earliest years, his questions about his irregular origins are not answered and produce a vague Naomi, with her gamine vitality and moody variability charms him, neglects him, disposes of him- with a blowsy theatrical couple and later in boarding schools. His father, whose interest in him takes hold when he is 10, imports him to the continent where he is susceptible to the attraction of the overbearing, philandering Max- and his German Grafin, Lolotte. A little later, he is foisted off on on Max- the first of Naomi's many deceptions to follow- to clear her courtship with a wealthy Colonel Arthur who offers her the perfect part, marriage and manorial status, if one that is to prove too dull in time. The Colonel, whose dogged devotion to Naomi eventually wins him over wants to regularize the boy's future- as his son and heir; Max too, in a belated gesture, introduces him to his wife and two sons, while Loiotte and now a younger woman are still peripheral but it is Naomi who closes off these years as she runs away from the Colonel and back to the theatre, who leaves a young boy, not the broken old man she has deserted, to reconcile her many identities into a single image..... Nobody's boy, learning to accept the now charming, now cruel, summary, conduct of a special world of special people, this is a sad story- in which self-pity never intrudes, and there is a sharp sense of social as well as personal appraisal. It should have a fine press and attract a wider audience than his earlier, abstruse allegory The Vintage (Houghton, Mifflin).

ISBN: 1451605986
Publisher: Random House