Molly Keane by Sally Phipps
A Life

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

...the frail writer encouraged her daughter to write her biography. To write about her mother — and to explain a writer who disdained analysis — Phipps would have to depict “the small world which Keane inhabited and loved and hated to the bone.” In this engaging if uneven biography, Phipps does so with compassion and restraint...
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Molly Keane (1904 - 96) was an Irish novelist and playwright (born in County Kildare) most famous for Good Behaviour which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Hailed as the Irish Nancy Mitford in her day; as well as writing books she was the leading playwright of the '30s, her work directed by John Gielgud. Between 1928 and 1956, she wrote eleven novels, and some of her earlier plays, under the pseudonym M.J. Farrell. In 1981, aged seventy, she published Good Behaviour under her own name. The manuscript, which had languished in a drawer for many years, was lent to a visitor, the actress Peggy Ashcroft, who encouraged Keane to publish it.

Molly Keane's novels reflect the world she inhabited; she was from a 'rather serious hunting and fishing, church-going family'. She was educated, as was the custom in Anglo-Irish households, by a series of governesses and then at boarding school. Distant and awkward relationships between children and their parents would prove to be a recurring theme for Keane. Maggie O'Farrell wrote that 'she writes better than anyone else about the mother-daughter relationship, in all its thorny, fraught, inescapable complexity.'

Here, for the first time, is her biography and, written by one of her two daughters, it provides an honest portrait of a fascinating, complicated woman who was a brilliant writer and a portrait of the Anglo-Irish world of the first half of the twentieth century.

 

About Sally Phipps

See more books from this Author
 
Published January 26, 2017 by Virago. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Molly Keane
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0

Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Anna Mundow on Jan 16 2018

...the frail writer encouraged her daughter to write her biography. To write about her mother — and to explain a writer who disdained analysis — Phipps would have to depict “the small world which Keane inhabited and loved and hated to the bone.” In this engaging if uneven biography, Phipps does so with compassion and restraint...

Read Full Review of Molly Keane: A Life | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Rate this book!

Add Review
×