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helenliz

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Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce

The Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce - Paul Torday This is told in reverse, with episodes taking place in 2009, 2006, 2003 & 2002. The book hangs together by the repetition of phrases and descriptions from one episode to the next. in some instances you know what happens - having already heard what happens later. in other cases you discover more about an event that is glimpsed early in the book and described in more detail as the past events are relayed.Wilberforce is a somewhat unsympathetic character in some ways. He was adopted and didn't have a particularly pleasant childhood before starting a software company and working every hour available for the next 15 years. He has a somewhat obsessive personality and it is this that, to some extent, drives his behaviour throughout the book. At each timepoint you feel that he has the chance to turn his life around and not take the path that you know he does. In some why this makes the book a bit depressing; when he's promising to do something, you know in advance that he won't carry it through. the inheritance of the title isn't really an inheritance in the traditional sense, it's far more complicated than that. Don;t read on if you don;t want to know what happens I wonder if there is not some double layer meaning in the title - Wilberforce becomes, by the end of the book, an alcoholic and drinks himself, we're almost sure, to an early grave. He is taken under the wing of a faded gentleman, Francis Black, who has gambled or drunk away his family's estate and has no heir. Black leaves his wine cellar, flat and estate house to Wilberforce - who has to pay off the mortgage on the property to the tune of £1million. As I said, not a traditional inheritance. The obsessive nature of Wilberforce's character moves from his business to a girl and thence to the wine he's now the owner of. He chooses between the girl and the wine when his wife dies in a car crash that he causes by being drunk. There is a final twist, in that we discover that Wilberforce and Black share a first name - and that in Black's past he got the love of his life (a maid at the estate house) pregnant and she gave up the child for adoption. We're left with the possibility that Wilberforce's inheritance is not just the wine but his obsessive nature - something that Black also displays. That this book contains a somewhat unsympathetic character as its main protagonist, but still remains a book that was, overall, quite enjoyable demonstrates some writing skill. I listened to this on audiobook and the narration was very good. There was a lot of accent and pitch change present in conversations, so that they were easy to follow. There is an air of depression about the inevitability of knowing what will happen when each chapter ends on a hopeful note. the ending, is especially poignant in this regard. An object lesson to all who run to an obsessive nature...