There is much to appreciate in Melanie Phillips’ first novel, The Legacy

Sep 21, 2021 by

by Irene Lancaster, Christian Today:

Many would say that War and Peace, Tolstoy’s epic 1860s chronicle of the earlier Napoleonic invasion of Tzarist Russia, experienced through the lives and loves of a number of individuals, is his greatest novel – maybe even the greatest novel ever written.

At exactly the same time, that very English genius, George Eliot (real name Mary Ann Evans), was writing what she herself considered to be her greatest novel, Romola, based on Florentine Renaissance history also seen through the private lives and loves of a number of individuals.

Both these books are, as you might expect, immensely difficult to read. The mind and heart are expected to concentrate on two disparate subjects simultaneously – with individual loves and the great events of world history panning out before us both in parallel and in tandem.

Not every reader succeeds in this endeavor and ends up having to choose one aspect as against the other, simply in order to get through the book. Not really what the respective authors – giants of the novelistic genre – would have wished of their readers.

It is therefore something of a miracle that England’s greatest Jewish journalist, Melanie Phillips (now living in Israel), has managed to pull off this exacting feat in her very first novel, entitled The Legacy.

With The Legacy, Melanie, winner of the Orwell Prize for Journalism, social commentator on the London Times and regular contributor to BBC’s The Moral Maze, has written a novel of intense passion and erudition about an Anglo-Jew of the type that tends to lead our community at present, i.e. self-hating, ignorant, officious – and immensely unhappy!

Read here

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