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Good Behaviour ❰Reading❯ ➺ Good Behaviour Author Molly Keane – Buyprobolan50.co.uk I do know how to behave believe me because I know I have always known'Behind the gates of Temple Alice the aristocratic Anglo Irish St Charles family sinks into a state of decaying grace To Aroon St C I do know how to behave believe me because I know I have always known'Behind the gates of Temple Alice the aristocratic Anglo Irish St Charles family sinks into a state of decaying grace To Aroon St Charles large and unlovely daughter of the house the fierce forces of sex money jealousy and love seem locked out by the ritual patterns of Good Behaviour But crumbling codes of conduct cannot hope to save the members of the St Charles family from their own unruly and inadmissible desires.

  • Paperback
  • 245 pages
  • Good Behaviour
  • Molly Keane
  • English
  • 19 January 2016
  • 9781844083244

About the Author: Molly Keane

Molly Keane July – April was an Irish novelist and playwright born Mary Nesta Skrine in Ryston Cottage Newbridge County Kildare She grew up at Ballyrankin in County Wexford and was educated at a boarding school in Bray County Wicklow She married Bobby Keane one of a Waterford suirearchical family in and had two daughters She used her married name for her later nove.



10 thoughts on “Good Behaviour

  1. Fionnuala Fionnuala says:

    When I read this in the early eighties it was a huge eye opener for several reasons It was probably one of the first contemporary novels that made me think ah now I know what is meant by a classic Even though I was a fairly unsophisticated reader at the time I could tell that the writing was superb I just knew that the characters were true to life and I even suspected that they were portraits of real people I admired the way Molly Keane was able to ridicule all our human foibles while maintaining a certain sympathy for her characters on the part of the reader If she hadn't been nominated for the Booker prize in 1981 this novel would have escaped my attention and that of many other readers I suspect Looking back to the early years of the Booker short list I realise that it brought to our attention some authors who would otherwise have escaped the public eye and who subseuently did disappear from view for one reason or another Who remembers Keri Hulme and her moving but disturbing novel The Bone People?

  2. Mariel Mariel says:

    She must have noticed my bosoms swinging like jelly bags bouncing from side to side; without words she conveyed the impression of what she had seen as unseemly the Fat Lady in the peepshowAroon St Charles topsy turvies the pedestal biosphere that doesn't leave the suffocating family life Oops heads and tails are the same damn fix The outside life must look like dim glamour in her imaginations Other people who don't look like her whirling in arms inside blurry parties Letters from spoiled children in Africa Dear Penthouse oppression and slaughter Solicitors behind closed doors The future is the same kind of life The past is the same damp material from sobbing wet dreams The rest of the St Charles clan that also includes the servants hold her in their judge first see later Papa and brother precede her as a joke I hate it when she's grinning with the punchline like they'll start laughing with her Servants conspire to keep the big girl hungry Aroon reminded me of Janet Frame's Faces in the Water when the likewise no safe corner heroine sneaks chocolates from other inmates She uickly eats the short breads and cake slices before her father's pampering cook cum nurse Rose can come back in time I bet he fucked her a time or two Aroon just knows that when her mother is in charge she will never get to eat Rose won't cook for her and the skinny mama never eats Good Behaviour begins when the self pitying fantasy is done Papa left everything to Aroon and she after all can withhold pity and control over them At first I just thought it was a waste to live your life hoping for others to be grateful to you Never trust anyone who says they know what is best for you It is probably a self reassurance that they are living their own the right way if you are doing it too But no Keane only detuned the hard chairs Rose in the end accuses Aroon Mummie dies to spite her They were always like that Backs turned you don't fit our parameters of whatever I really think they wouldn't have colluded over anything if Aroon hadn't been there to leave out There once was a brother and his friend probably lover Richard love each other when they can giggle and close their door on Aroon Papa can fuck the governess on the sly No one gave any other fuck about that governess I really just thought it was a shame that anyone thought that was all life had to offer There had to be better lays out there than that old fart Maybe if Aroon had met another man than snotty ass Richard she would have wanted something It was too bad that her fantasies are so limp dicked What is it worth if these boring family members say they appreciate you? I wish I could give her that part in Fat Kid Rules the World when the fat kid realizes what he was imagining that skinny people didn't have any problems because they were skinny and start a band I really wish Good Behaviour didn't numb me with the day in and day out of alliances That's probably how dreams died in that purgatory before dreams are born Aroon won't let her sick father have his whiskey the doctor said it was okay I suspected he might have been against it if someone other than the lackluster Aroon had asked him Maybe because she was too good girl to pity him man was gonna die anyway It started to feel like being with them too long every time something happened like Papa and brother infecting their society with jokes about Big Girl Aroon I kinda felt like after all that it wasn't a bad thing if Aroon got one over them They were never going to love her But at least she didn't have to go hungry I don't want to think about all of the ugly women who didn't have jobs or families who loved them They probably ended up in mental institutions like Janet Frame or eeked out in poverty Growing older and colder What do you do before they bury you? It is too bad that I felt like I was being buried than Keane saying anything about this I read this on my kindle The whole time I casted different Tamara de Lempicka portraits for the cover Virago use her a lot and the larger than lifeworld is less frame of girls in their places just felt so Good Behaviour and big girl Aroon to me But no I'm sure the paperback from them has some irritating descriptor about black humor and raucous whatever anything called raucous instantly puts me in the mood to want to like it less I don't know about the humor in Good Behaviour I wish it had a sense of humor that was internal It is external like theirs a soulless mindless god Hey you weren't there the day we passed out what other people got Here's a pale copy to watch what it could have looked like Aroon I wish she had been there when they handed down imagination ANYTHING other than bland stupid Richard She was pining over HIM? I wish I could stop reading books that are really just about people wanting to see themselves a certain way and everyone and everything else in the world is about supporting that self vision There wasn't anyone in Good Behaviour not like that

  3. David David says:

    Another Anglo Irish family whose members are dedicated to mutual assured destruction even as they slide into genteel poverty Nobody in the St Charles household would dream of treating the dogs or horses badly; servants and local tradesmen don't fare so well But the brunt of their vituperation is saved for one another with each family member nursing a store of petty grievances both real and imaginary Our guide for this particular version of hell is the unlovely delusional daughter of the house Aroon Neglected by her philandering father despised by her icy mother used by her charming brother she pines for love and approval Her transformation to bitter vengeful old maid is inevitable and heartbreaking to watchThe stifling closed world of the decaying Anglo Irish ascendancy is Molly Keane's chosen niche and nobody captures it better except perhaps William Trevor While parts of Good Behaviour are very funny indeed it is considerably darker and complex than the rest of her books all of which cover similar ground An engaging if ultimately depressing account of a not so well behaved family

  4. Sarah Sarah says:

    The St Charles family are hit by hard and changing times in 1920's Ireland These are the dying days of Anglo Irish aristocracy where appearances must be preserved and emotions muted and controlledEvents are narrated through the eyes of a child Aroon St Charles revealing subtle details which are confused and not understood by her but as a reader reveal the truth she is too young and naive to grasp Secrets lies and tragedy surround the family as they each struggle with life events Aroon's charismatic father is recovering from a war injury which causes feelings of discontent and failure but bridges a gap between his children as he strives to face his vulnerability Aroon's mother is cold distant and shallow with a belittling habit which deepens the separation between mother and daughterIt is a beautifully written novel with a tense tight style complex characterisation and moments of dark black comedy Tension is gradually heightened as economic worries and a lack of initiative begins to drain resolve The perpetuation of good behaviour at all costs along with a certain arrogance adds a shocking and ironic twist

  5. Liina Bachmann Liina Bachmann says:

    Good Behaviour is an exuisite read Aroon St Charles is a daughter of Irish upper class family a Big House family in the country She narrates the going on's of her life and boy is it vile The book is most often described as a dark comedy and it is indeed very funny at times but mostly it makes the little hair on your back rise and groan with frustration at Aroon's naivety A distant mother drunkard fathergay brother many deathsall masked under the icy Good Behaviour Nothing is ever brought above the level of what is decent not a flinching emotion not a tear not a raised voice Keane trusts her reader to get most of the undercurrents in the novel I didn't get some on my first read and only after reading the reviews were there even so THAT'S why he said that moments It is a very layered novel funny but not hahaha funny Dark and disturbing and in my opinion very very sad I am not even gonna mention that the prose itself great which makes it uite a page turner as well

  6. Leslie Leslie says:

    45Aroon St Charles is an unlovely character but pitiable in her naiveté or was it willful ignorance? As she narrates the tale of her life imagining herself to be if not the heroine the sympathetic protagonist what clearly comes across to the reader is a different picture than she desires For example Aroon tells herself the reader that view spoilerRichard Massingham loved her hide spoiler

  7. Claire Fuller Claire Fuller says:

    Love love loved this book Beautiful writing sad story great characters Oh just go and read it The only thing I found odd was that Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift which I read last year was so very similar so similar that I'm surprised no one has pointed this out Same time period and similar things happen although Swift's is set in England and this is Ireland Made me feel a bit weird about Mothering Sunday

  8. Arlette Arlette says:

    I shall be careful when referring to warming feet hate to get that mis interpreted

  9. Claire Claire says:

    The protagonist of Good Behaviour is Iris Aroon St Charles daughter of an aristocratic Anglo Irish family who grows up with her brother Hubert in ‘Temple Alice’ one of the ‘Big Houses’ built by an ancestor as his temporary residence until inheriting his titles and estatesNow the title extinct and estates entirely dissipated Temple Alice after several generations as a dower house a house intended as the residence of a widow came to Mummie when her mother died Papa farmed the miserably few hundred acres that remained of the propertyWhile the novel opens with a chapter when she is fifty seven years old at her mother’s death bed the remainder of the novel focuses on their life under the tutelage of a governess Mrs Brock up until her sudden departure through to her twenties when she is an unhappy overweight unmarried daughter without prospect living a life of gross deception and delusion Seeds of her discontent are sown early on with a mother lacking in maternal feelingShe simply did not want to know what was going on in the nursery She had had us and she longed to forget the horror of it once and for all She didn’t really like children; she didn’t like dogs either and she had no enjoyment of food for she ate almost nothingAnimals food and her brother are her consolation her mother rarely responds even when Aroon reports that she thinks her baby brother is dead she enuires where the staff are Her father responds and inspires hope She seeks out his company a kind word favour he seeks comfort elsewhereWe adored Papa and his hopeless disapproval paralysed any scrap of confidence or pleasure we had ever had in ourselves or our poniesWhen Mrs Brock intervenes and with kindness and encouragement succeeds in endowing them with the necessary confidence he turns away shaking his headIn those days one did not uite admit the possibility of cowardice even in young children The tough were the ones who mattered; their courage was fitting and credible A cowardly child was a hidden sore and a child driven to admit hatred of his pony was something of a leper in our society It appeared to Papa that Mrs Brock has rescued our honour and his creditAn awkward teen she revels in her brother’s company and his friend Richard The time the three spend together is the height of her happiness little realising they too are indulging in ‘good behaviour’ masking an ulterior motive using her as an alibi Her self deception knows no boundsHere to my delight Hubert and Richard danced with me in turn I almost preferred dancing with Hubert because I loved showing off to RichardI was fulfilled by them I felt complete There was no to askAroon is constantly striving for connection and endlessly blind to reality and when connection is possible where genuine friendship might have a chance to flourish she is locked into the conventions of her class that forbid it She lacks empathy and is unaware of her own bitterness so we have little sympathy for her predicamentThe family live in denial of their escalating debt living beyond their means and incapable of doing anything for themselves When her father returns from war injured Aroon tries to get close to him and is thwarted once again Without prospect of marriage her mother closing her out her father’s attentions elsewhere she seems doomedAnd then a final twistAnd yet The thirty years in between the beginning and the end leave a lot unsaidSelina Guiness in the Irish Times says Keane writes the most spectacularly “nasty” black comedies in Irish Big House fiction and Keane herself reuest her daughter to make the biography she wrote about her like a novel adding “I’m afraid you won’t be nasty enough”Perhaps it is this that so disturbs I like a book in which a character can in some way redeem themself can change or transform ‘nasty black comedies’ and characters that take pleasure in using their wounds as weapons against another isn’t entertaining for me I am unable to wear a mask and pretend otherwiseSo utterly did I dislike the story and the characters I uestioned my understanding of the word behaviour there wasn’t any good behaviour even when the characters denied their true thoughts and said things to cover them the behaviour remained appalling The only exception being the maid Rose who kept the household going working and caring her way through the narrative shifting her alliances towards whichever household member reuired her attention

  10. Gabrielle Dubois Gabrielle Dubois says:

    I started this book without knowing what it was about and very little commitment to read it because of the cover a painting by Meredith Frampton Portrait of a young Woman The woman in the portrait looks pinched scornful stuckAnyway I opened this book anyway because I was on vacation abroad see my blog post Ellen versus Warriors and it was the only book I had taken with me that I had left to read I must say that the first few pages have put me off none of the characters are sympathetic empathetic or kind They are contemptuous self righteous restricted uninteresting and I had only one desire to close the door of their house I had entered to leave them between them and never to see them again But when you only have one book left and you love to read you keep goingBut I don't like these vile characters full of themselves who don't know where they're going and don't seek to know it; characters who can't stand the happiness of others because they’re unable make their own Characters who hopes that others will be unhappy so that they can get stuck in their own discomfort I had the satisfaction of knowing that she was less happy and therefore that I was importantThen as the reading progresses as it is well done and well written I end up letting myself go although the characters remain bogged down in their inactive miserableness The reason I like the disaster of others is because they evoke my understanding and sympathy in a way that their successes never doThe heroine's father is immobilized in bed she takes care of him So I think Ah Finally a bit of altruism But she thinks Every day my heart was calmer and comforted because of the importance I had takenThe mother of the heroine must save money well it is commendable except when Her final objective was penance for all of us She wanted everyone to sufferAnd that poor heroine whom she and her mother think is too tall and too fat Still in her saving measures after having spent money like water all her life and without ever having any idea of the value of money or the price of anything the mother decides to almost stop heating the house I would like to point out that the story is set in Ireland a country I love but whose winters are let’s say wet and fresh 😊 Aroon the narrator tries to fight back against her mother but The way my mother looked at me I guessed she was dying to add fat people don't feel the coldYes the young Aroon had parents who should never have been parents Yes she has a physiue that does not meet the beauty criteria of her time Yes she was not lovedBut she has what we all have the choiceWhile she finally has the opportunity to make a choice for herself which should be to take her freedom; in my opinion she does the wrong thing she maintains this silly ideal of good behaviour no matter what dignity from which it follows that she does not allow herself to be happy “We kept our heads above the morass stifled screaming despairs only by the exercise of good behaviour”For me this choice is a renunciation of life out of weakness And I have a lot of difficulty accepting such behaviour I'll tell you whyA person who refuses to face reality and face life does not just make himself unhappy It also puts people around it in suffering Either we out of love feel obliged to help her manage her life or the way she manages her life has a negative impact on those around herSo no definitely no I didn't like Molly Keane's characters including the young Aroon I only enjoy reading stories real or fictional about characters who raise themselves and raise me with themSo why did I finally and despite everything like this book? The fault lies with the great writer Molly Keane her writing is a marvel of distilled subtleties of seemingly harmless reflections that say so muchAnd when I tell you that it's very easy to read you'll have no excuse not to read this book

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