The Altruists by Andrew Ridker

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Capture.PNGShort take: this is a novel about a middle-class but not so rich Jewish family, the mum Frances has passed away and left the family fortune to her two children. The husband/father Arthur has financial troubles and he invites his two children over, plotting/hoping financial help from them. I can say this felt like a bit of a Meg Wolitzer book…

Frankly, this book felt like one of those American TV series, the elegant comedy ones without laughter effects, where people speak a lot and the humour is actually to make a point. I liked the ‘scenes’ in this book- some made me laugh out loud.

The story gets better the more you read. I must confess, I could have given up in first 50 pages as it didn’t really hook my interest into the characters (and boy, there are some characters in this book!) Apart from a really glorious coming out of closet moment crowning Arthur to be the dick he is, I didn’t really enjoy the beginning. But I am so glad I kept reading as it becomes really hilarious. As the story develops and we find out why Arthur was exclusively excluded from the inheritance it transforms into a really fun to read novel with witty dialogue.

I found all the characters really selfish & self-absorbed- so you might really enjoy it if you like unlikeable characters. I’m totally up to read books that portray unlikeable types- I don’t mean criminals and such, but like this family- so self-centric they can’t even understand each other… I believe this is already been scripted as a play and would be interested to see this on screen as well…

Considering this is a debut I would be interested to see what Ridker will come up with in the future. Thanks to Jonathan Cape UK for this copy.


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