A GOD AND HIS GIFTS by Ivy Compton-Burnett


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The grande dame of popcorn dialogue in the upper ether of attenuated sensibility still has a firm glove on the reins. Again a family of a hypothetical country nobility glides onward in years if not accomplishments. Sir Michael and Joanna observe the marriage of their son Hereward, who parts reluctantly with Rosa to marry Ada, who, Hereward asserts, ""will have what I give her"". This turns out to be quite a bit, as through the years, Ada, her father, her aunt, sister Emmeline, Hereward's family and Ada and Hereward's three sons, Reuben, Merton and Salomon, contemplate the forces that rise within Hereward. As the family looks on, Emmeline discreetly parts from her sister presumably for ever; Hetty, Merton's intended, appears to be with child, a child immediately adopted by Hereward and one which bears a remarkable resemblance to the family; Salomon warns his father of the sanctity of Trissie, his intended; and the parentage of Viola, Emmeline's child, is also revealed as an intimate family connection. Hereward's failings ""on a grand scale"" bring final admiration, and to complete the family circle (or interlocking triangles) are a mean little child and decent butler. That special taste which some have by now acquired.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1963
Publisher: Simon & Schuster