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Love is Blind

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Boyd presents us with a chaotic and challenging life conjured by the blindness of love in all its aspects and how it shapes up to be infinitely testing of the human heart.

So when Moncur meets a Russian doctor on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, we are told that he didn’t catch his name. Boyd’s books have included more serious (and more funny) efforts — like “ Any Human Heart” (2003), a vigorous account of a 20th-century life, and the richly nuanced, darkly comic “ An Ice-Cream War” (1983) — as well as slighter, larkier ones like this. In any case, however, there are only flickers of the charm you would want to steadily emanate from such a period production.

She is the reason the book has the title it does, because when it comes to her, his love really is blind. love to Lika: 'Brodie kept a running calculation: from September 1898 to May 1899 - no sexual congress with Lika. The trouble is, I wasn’t very convinced by Brodie’s passion and found that I was more interested in his piano-tuning than the state of his heart. Alone, with an incurable disease, uncertain about the compass of his life so far, he goes a little crazy, just like one of those crazy Russians in a Dostoyevsky novel. Exactly what Brodie is doing there is a mystery that will remain unresolved for almost the entire book .

Boyd on form is the ultimate in immersive fiction, and Love is Blind is Boyd at the top of his game .He settles on John Kilbarron — “a bit passé, perhaps, but one of the real old-school klaviertigers 10 or 20 years ago. From the beginning of the book – concerned as it is with the relationship between life and art, truth and performance – there are hints that Chekhov is going to be important. It’s a gently humorous moment, as if Boyd is drawing our attention to the tricks of his narrative trade – to his renowned storytelling knack of keeping us turning the pages to see what happens next. The apparent love between them seemed false and cumbersome, and it was always about when Brodie could get his next sex session.

When, on the promenade at Nice, he meets a tall Russian doctor with a pointy beard who is suffering from tuberculosis, he has no idea who he is. I admire his craft as much as I ever have, even if the way I read – and maybe the way we all read – means I give in to it less. And there are sufficient historical references and instances of casual name dropping to make the whole thing feel real. Heart wrenching, sentimental and moving, William Boyd’s 2018 release presents a tragic portrait of the challenges of love.

I felt sympathetic towards him and his grand amour, despite his stubborn refusal to acknowledge Lika’s ultimately cruel treatment of him. Interestingly, I find myself in the somewhat unusual position of loving a book more than many others on GR.

The story is somewhat of a picaresque, moving to many countries, where Brodie meets various people as he pursues Lida, vying for her competing attentions. Sent to Paris by his boss, Ainsley Channon, to boost piano sales, Brodie’s career is sabotaged by Channon’s thieving son, Calder . He moves around and leaves Paris to head to Russia, and then…well he’s a bit lost in the geographical sense as well as the obsessive love one.

Der Tranensee, The Lake of Tears : That song had been the catalyst of all the happiness in his life, he thought. Moving from Edinburgh in 1894 to the far-flung Andaman Islands in 1906, and smoothly landing in various European cities in between, Boyd’s affecting novel follows a young Scotsman’s ardent pursuit of a woman and its treacherous consequences . When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life.

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