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. This elegant and allusive novel established Molly Keane as the natural successor to Jean Rhys.
Born in Ireland in 1904 into a 'rather serious Hunting and Fishing Church-going family' who gave her little education at the hands of governesses, Molly's interests were 'hunting & horses & having a good time'; she began writing only to supplement her dress allowance. She died in 1996.
I really wish I had written this book. It's a tragi-comedy set in Ireland after the First World War. A real work of craftsmanship, where the heroine is also the narrator, yet has no idea what is going on. You read it with mounting horror and hilarity as you begin to grasp her delusion — Hilary Mantel
An extraordinary tour de force of fictional presentation... a masterpiece... a technically remarkable work, as sharp as a blade... Molly Keane is a mistress of wicked comedy. — VOGUE
I have read and re-read Molly Keane more, I think, than any other writer. Nobody else can touch her as a satirist, tragedian, and dissector of human behaviour. I love all her books, but Good Behaviour and Loving and Giving are the ones I return to most — Maggie O'Farrell
A witty, black comedy of manners, GOOD BEHAVIOUR is a memorable novel by an Irish writer whose only equal is Elizabeth Bowen. — BOOKSELLER
A fine novel, wickedly alive — Victoria Glendinning, SUNDAY TIMES
Enchanting — Edna O'Brien, OBSERVER